Václav Havel (Czech pronunciation: [ˈvaːtslav ˈɦavɛl] (listen); 5 October 1936 – 18 December 2011) was a Czech statesman, writer and former dissident, who served as the last President of Czechoslovakia from 1989 until the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1992 and then as the first President of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003. He was the first democratically elected president of either country after the end of communism. As a writer of Czech literature, he is known for his plays, essays, and memoirs.
|1st President of the Czech Republic|
2 February 1993 – 2 February 2003
|Prime Minister||Václav Klaus|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Václav Klaus|
|10th President of Czechoslovakia|
29 December 1989 – 20 July 1992
|Prime Minister||Marián Čalfa|
|Preceded by||Gustáv Husák|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
|Born||5 October 1936|
|Died||18 December 2011 75) (aged|
Vlčice, Czech Republic
|Political party||OF (1989–1991)|
|Alma mater||Czech Technical University|
Academy of Performing Arts
His educational opportunities having been limited by his bourgeois background (when freedoms were limited by the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic), Havel first rose to prominence as a playwright. In works such as The Garden Party and The Memorandum, Havel used an absurdist style to criticize communism. After participating in the Prague Spring and being blacklisted after the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, he became more politically active and helped found several dissident initiatives, including Charter 77 and the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Prosecuted. His political activities brought him under the surveillance of the secret police and he spent multiple periods imprisoned, the longest being nearly four years, between 1979 and 1983.
Havel's Civic Forum party played a major role in the Velvet Revolution that toppled communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989. He assumed the presidency shortly thereafter, and was re-elected in a landslide the following year and after Slovak independence in 1993. Havel was instrumental in dismantling the Warsaw Pact and expanding NATO membership eastward. Many of his stances and policies, such as his opposition to Slovak independence, condemnation of the Czechoslovak treatment of Sudeten Germans after World War II, and granting of general amnesty to all those imprisoned under communism, were very controversial domestically. As such, at the end of his presidency, he enjoyed greater popularity abroad than at home. Havel continued his life as a public intellectual after his presidency, launching several initiatives including the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, the VIZE 97 Foundation, and the Forum 2000 annual conference.
Havel's political philosophy was one of anti-consumerism, humanitarianism, environmentalism, civil activism, and direct democracy. He supported the Czech Green Party from 2004 until his death. He received numerous accolades during his lifetime including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Gandhi Peace Prize, the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, the Order of Canada, the Four Freedoms Award, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, and the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award. The 2012–2013 academic year at the College of Europe was named in his honour. He is considered by some to be one of the most important intellectuals of the 20th century. The international airport in Prague was renamed to Václav Havel Airport Prague in 2012.
Havel was born in Prague on 5 October 1936 into a wealthy family celebrated in Czechoslovakia for its entrepreneurial and cultural accomplishments. His grandfather, Vácslav Havel, a real estate developer, built a landmark entertainment complex on Prague's Wenceslas Square. His father, Václav Maria Havel, was the real estate developer behind the suburban Barrandov Terraces, located on the highest point of Prague—next door to which his uncle, Miloš Havel, built one of the largest film studios in Europe. Havel's mother, Božena Vavrečková, also came from an influential family; her father was a Czechoslovak ambassador and a well-known journalist. In the early 1950s, because of his class background, Havel entered into a four-year apprenticeship as a chemical laboratory assistant and simultaneously took evening classes at a gymnasium. He completed his secondary education in 1954. For political reasons, he was not accepted into any post-secondary school with a humanities program; therefore, he opted for studies at the Faculty of Economics of the Czech Technical University in Prague but dropped out after two years. On 9 July 1964, Havel married Olga Šplíchalová.
Early theatre career
The intellectual tradition of his family was essential for Havel's lifetime adherence to the humanitarian values of the Czech culture. After finishing his military service (1957–59), Havel had to bring his intellectual ambitions in line with the given circumstances, especially with the restrictions imposed on him as a descendant of a bourgeois family. He found employment in Prague's theatre world as a stagehand at Prague's Theatre ABC – Divadlo ABC, and then at the Theatre on Balustrade – Divadlo Na zábradlí. Simultaneously, he was a student of dramatic arts by correspondence at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU). His first own full-length play performed in public, besides various vaudeville collaborations, was The Garden Party (1963). Presented in a series of Theatre of the Absurd, at the Theatre on Balustrade, this play won him international acclaim. The play was soon followed by The Memorandum, one of his best known plays, and The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, all at the Theatre on Balustrade. In 1968, The Memorandum was also brought to The Public Theater in New York, which helped to establish Havel's reputation in the United States. The Public Theater continued to produce his plays in the following years. After 1968, Havel's plays were banned from the theatre world in his own country, and he was unable to leave Czechoslovakia to see any foreign performances of his works.
During the first week of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968, Havel assisted the resistance by providing an on-air narrative via Radio Free Czechoslovakia station (at Liberec). Following the suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968, he was banned from the theatre and became more politically active. He took a job at Krakonoš brewery in Trutnov, an experience he wrote about in his play Audience. This play, along with two other "Vaněk" plays (so-called because of the recurring character Ferdinand Vaněk, a stand in for Havel), became distributed in samizdat form across Czechoslovakia, and greatly added to Havel's reputation of being a leading dissident (several other Czech writers later wrote their own plays featuring Vaněk). This reputation was cemented with the publication of the Charter 77 manifesto, written partially in response to the imprisonment of members of the Czech psychedelic rock band The Plastic People of the Universe. (Havel had attended their trial, which centered on the group's non-conformity in having long hair, using obscenities in their music, and their overall involvement in the Czech underground.) Havel co-founded the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Prosecuted in 1979. His political activities resulted in multiple imprisonments by the authorities, and constant government surveillance and questioning by the secret police (Státní bezpečnost). His longest period in prison, from May 1979 to February 1983, is documented in letters to his wife that were later published as Letters to Olga.
He was known for his essays, most particularly The Power of the Powerless (1978), in which he described a societal paradigm in which citizens were forced to "live within a lie" under the communist regime. In describing his role as a dissident, Havel wrote in 1979: "we never decided to become dissidents. We have been transformed into them, without quite knowing how, sometimes we have ended up in prison without precisely knowing how. We simply went ahead and did certain things that we felt we ought to do, and that seemed to us decent to do, nothing more nor less."
Samuel Beckett's 1982 short play, Catastrophe, was dedicated to Havel while he was held as a political prisoner in Czechoslovakia.
On 29 December 1989, while he was leader of the Civic Forum, Havel became President of Czechoslovakia by a unanimous vote of the Federal Assembly. He had long insisted that he was not interested in politics and had argued that political change in the country should be induced through autonomous civic initiatives rather than through the official institutions. In 1990, soon after his election, Havel was awarded the Prize For Freedom of the Liberal International.
In 1990, Czechoslovakia held its first free elections in 44 years, resulting in a sweeping victory for Civic Forum and its Slovak counterpart, Public Against Violence. Between them, they commanded strong majorities in both houses of the legislature, and tallied the highest popular vote share recorded for a free election in the country. Havel retained his presidency.
Despite increasing political tensions between the Czechs and the Slovaks in 1992, Havel supported the retention of the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic prior to the dissolution of the country. Havel sought re-election in 1992. Although no other candidate filed, when the vote came on 3 July, he failed to get a majority due to a lack of support from Slovak deputies. The largest Czech political party, the Civic Democratic Party, let it be known that it would not support any other candidate. After the Slovaks issued their Declaration of Independence, he resigned as president on 20 July, saying that he would not preside over the country's breakup.
However, when the Czech Republic was created as one of two successor states, he stood for election as its first president on 26 January 1993, and won. Although he was nominally the new country's chief executive, the framers of the Constitution of the Czech Republic intended to vest most of the real power in the prime minister. However, owing to his prestige, he still commanded great moral authority, and the presidency acquired a greater role than the framers intended. For instance, largely due to his influence, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM), successor to the KSC's branch in the Czech Lands, was kept on the margins for most of his presidency. Havel suspected that the KSCM was still an unreformed Stalinist party.
Havel's popularity abroad surpassed his popularity at home, and he was often the object of controversy and criticism. During his time in office, Havel stated that the expulsion of the indigenous Sudeten German population after World War II was immoral, causing a great controversy at home. He also extended general amnesty as one of his first acts as president, in an attempt to lessen the pressure in overcrowded prisons as well as to release political prisoners and persons who may have been falsely imprisoned during the Communist era. Havel felt that many of the decisions by the previous regime's courts should not be trusted, and that most of those in prison had not received fair trials. However, critics claimed that this amnesty led to a significant increase in the crime rate: the total number of crimes doubled, as did the number of murders. Several of the worst crimes in the history of the Czech criminology were committed by criminals released in this amnesty. Within four years of the Velvet revolution (and following another two amnesties declared by Havel), criminality had more than tripled since 1989. According to Havel's memoir To the Castle and Back, most of those who were released had less than a year to serve before their sentences ended, but statistics contradict Havel's claims.
In an interview with Karel Hvížďala (included in To the Castle and Back), Havel expressed his feeling that it was his most important accomplishment as president to have contributed to the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. According to his statement the dissolution was very complicated. The infrastructure created by the Warsaw Pact was part of the economies of all member states, and the Pact's dissolution necessitated restructuring that took many years to complete. Furthermore, it took time to dismantle the Warsaw Pact's institutions; for example, it took two years for Soviet troops to fully withdraw from Czechoslovakia.
Following a legal dispute with his sister-in-law Dagmar Havlová (wife of his brother Ivan M. Havel), Havel decided to sell his 50% stake in the Lucerna Palace on Wenceslas Square in Prague, built from 1907 to 1921 by his grandfather, also named Václav Havel (spelled Vácslav,) one of the multifunctional "palaces" in the center of the once booming pre-World War I Prague. In a transaction arranged by Marián Čalfa, Havel sold the estate to Václav Junek, a former communist spy in France and head of the soon-to-be bankrupt conglomerate Chemapol Group, who later openly admitted that he bribed politicians of the Czech Social Democratic Party.
In January 1996, Olga Havlová, his wife of 32 years, died of cancer at 62. In December 1996, Havel who had been a chain smoker for a long time, was diagnosed with lung cancer. The disease reappeared two years later. He quit smoking. In 1997, he remarried, to actress Dagmar Veškrnová.
Havel was among those influential politicians who contributed most to the transition of NATO from being an anti-Warsaw Pact alliance to its present form. Havel advocated vigorously for the inclusion of former-Warsaw Pact members, like the Czech Republic, into the Western alliance.
Havel was re-elected president in 1998. He had to undergo a colostomy in Innsbruck when his colon ruptured while he was on holiday in Austria. On 30 January 2003, Havel signed The letter of the eight. Havel left office after his second term as Czech president ended on 2 February 2003. Václav Klaus, one of his greatest political adversaries, was elected his successor as president on 28 February 2003. Margaret Thatcher wrote of the two men in her foreign policy treatise Statecraft, reserving the greater respect for Havel. Havel's dedication to democracy and his steadfast opposition to the Communist ideology earned him admiration.
Beginning in 1997, Havel hosted Forum 2000, an annual conference to "identify the key issues facing civilisation and to explore ways to prevent the escalation of conflicts that have religion, culture or ethnicity as their primary components". In 2005, the former president occupied the Kluge Chair for Modern Culture at the John W. Kluge Center of the United States Library of Congress, where he continued his research on human rights. In November and December 2006, Havel spent eight weeks as a visiting artist in residence at Columbia University. The stay was sponsored by the Columbia Arts Initiative and featured "performances, and panels centr[ing] on his life and ideas", including a public "conversation" with former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Concurrently, the Untitled Theater Company No. 61 launched a Havel Festival, the first complete festival of his plays in various venues throughout New York City, including The Brick Theater and the Ohio Theatre, in celebration of his 70th birthday. Havel was a member of the World Future Society and addressed the Society's members on 4 July 1994. His speech was later printed in THE FUTURIST magazine (July 1995).
Havel remained an admired individual by Czech citizens. In The Greatest Czech TV show (the Czech spin-off of the BBC 100 Greatest Britons show) in 2005, Havel received the third biggest amount of voices, so he was elected to be third greatest Czech when he was still alive.
Havel's memoir of his experience as president, To the Castle and Back, was published in May 2007. The book mixes an interview in the style of Disturbing the Peace with actual memoranda he sent to his staff and modern diary entries and recollections.
On 4 August 2007, Havel met with members of the Belarus Free Theatre at his summer cottage in the Czech Republic in a show of his continuing support, which has been instrumental in the theatre's attaining international recognition and membership in the European Theatrical Convention.
Havel's first new play in almost two decades, Leaving, was published in November 2007, and was to have had its world premiere in June 2008 at the Prague theater Divadlo na Vinohradech, but the theater withdrew it in December as it felt it could not provide the technical support needed to mount the play. The play instead premiered on 22 May 2008 at the Archa Theatre to standing ovations. Havel based the play on King Lear, by William Shakespeare, and on The Cherry Orchard, by Anton Chekhov; "Chancellor Vilém Rieger is the central character of Leaving, who faces a crisis after being removed from political power." The play had its English language premiere at the Orange Tree Theatre in London and its American premiere at The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. Havel subsequently directed a film version of the play, which premiered in the Czech Republic on 22 March 2011.
Other works included the short sketch Pět Tet, a modern sequel to Unveiling, and The Pig, or Václav Havel's Hunt for a Pig, which was premiered in Brno at Theatre Goose on a String and had its English language premiere at the 3LD Art & Technology Center in New York, in a production from Untitled Theater Company No. 61, in a production workshopped in the Ice Factory Festival in 2011 and later revived as a full production in 2014, becoming a New York Times Critic's Pick.
In 2008, Havel became a Member of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation. He met U.S. President Barack Obama in private before Obama's departure after the end of the European Union (EU) and United States (US) summit in Prague in April 2009.
Havel was a supporter of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, an organisation which campaigns for democratic reformation of the United Nations, and the creation of a more accountable international political system.
A week before his death, he met with his longtime friend, the Dalai Lama, in Prague; Havel appeared in a wheelchair. Prime Minister Petr Nečas announced a three-day mourning period from 21 to 23 December, the date announced by President Václav Klaus for the state funeral. The funeral Mass was held at Saint Vitus Cathedral, celebrated by the Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka and Havel's old friend Bishop Václav Malý. During the service, a 21 gun salute was fired in the former president's honour, and as per the family's request, a private ceremony followed at Prague's Strašnice Crematorium. Havel's ashes were placed in the family tomb in the Vinohrady Cemetery in Prague. On 23 December 2011, the Václav Havel Tribute Concert was held in Prague's Palác Lucerna.
Within hours Havel's death was met with numerous tributes, including from U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Polish President Lech Wałęsa. Merkel called Havel "a great European", while Wałęsa said he should have been given the Nobel Peace Prize. The Russian Embassy sent an official condolence on behalf of the President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
At news of his death, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a native of Czechoslovakia, said, "He was one of the great figures of the 20th Century", while Czech expatriate novelist Milan Kundera said, "Václav Havel's most important work is his own life." Communists took the opportunity to criticize Havel. Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia leader Vojtěch Filip stated that Havel was a very controversial person and that his words often conflicted with his deeds. He criticized Havel for having supported NATO's war against Yugoslavia, repeating the charge that Havel had called the event a "humanitarian bombing", although Havel had expressly and emphatically denied ever using such a phrase.
An online petition organized by one of the best-known Czech and Slovak film directors, Fero Fenič, calling on the government and the Parliament to rename Prague Ruzyně Airport to Václav Havel International Airport attracted—in a week after 20 December 2011—support of over 80,000 Czech Republic and foreign signatories. It was announced that the airport would be renamed the Václav Havel Airport Prague on 5 October 2012.
Reviewing a new biography by Michael Žantovský, Yale historian Marci Shore summarized his challenges as president:
- Havel's message, "We are all responsible, we are all guilty," was not popular. He enacted a general amnesty for all but the most serious criminals, apologized on behalf of Czechoslovakia for the post-World War II expulsion of the Sudeten Germans and resisted demands for a more draconian purge of secret police collaborators. These things were not popular either. And as the government undertook privatization and restitution, Havel confronted pyramid schemes, financial corruption and robber baron capitalism. He saw his country fall apart (if bloodlessly), becoming in 1993 the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
In 1986, Havel received the Erasmus Prize, in 1989 the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels, and in 1990, he received the Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize for his outstanding contributions to the well-being of the wider community. In the same year he received the Freedom medal.
In 1993, he was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
On 4 July 1994, Václav Havel was awarded the Philadelphia Liberty Medal. In his acceptance speech, he said: "The idea of human rights and freedoms must be an integral part of any meaningful world order. Yet I think it must be anchored in a different place, and in a different way, than has been the case so far. If it is to be more than just a slogan mocked by half the world, it cannot be expressed in the language of departing era, and it must not be mere froth floating on the subsiding waters of faith in a purely scientific relationship to the world."
In 2002, he was the third recipient of the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award presented by the Prague Society for International Cooperation. In 2003, he was awarded the International Gandhi Peace Prize by the government of India for his outstanding contribution towards world peace and upholding human rights in most difficult situations through Gandhian means; he was the inaugural recipient of Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience Award for his work in promoting human rights; he received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom; and he was appointed as an honorary Companion of the Order of Canada.
In 2008 he was also awarded the Giuseppe Motta Medal for support for peace and democracy. As a former Czech President, Havel was a member of the Club of Madrid. In 2009 he was awarded the Quadriga Award, but decided to return it in 2011 following the announcement of Vladimir Putin as one of the 2011 award recipients.
Havel also received multiple honorary doctorates from various universities such as the prestigious Institut d'études politiques de Paris in 2009, and was a Foreign Associate Member of the French Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques from October 1992 until his death.
On 10 October 2011, Havel was awarded by the Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili with the St. George Victory Order. In November 2014, he became only the fourth non-American honored with a bust in the U.S. Capitol.
State Honours and Awards
|Argentina||Order of the Liberator San Martin Collar||September 1996||Buenos Aires|
|Austria||Decoration for Science and Art||November 2005||Vienna|
|Brazil||Order of the Southern Cross Grand Collar||October 1990||Prague|
|Order of Rio Branco Grand Cross||September 1996||Brasília|
|Canada||Order of Canada Honorary Companion||March 2004||Prague|
|Czech Republic||Order of the White Lion 1st Class (Civil Division) with Collar Chain||October 2003|
|Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk 1st Class||October 2003|
|Estonia||Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana The Collar of the Cross||April 1996||Tallinn|
|France||Légion d'honneur Grand Cross||March 1990||Paris|
|Order of Arts and Letters Commander||February 2001|
|Georgia||St. George's Order of Victory||October 2011||Prague|
|Germany||Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany Special class of the Grand Cross||May 2000||Berlin|
|Hungary||Order of Merit of Hungary Grand Cross with Chain||September 2001||Prague|
|Italy||Order of Merit of the Italian Republic Grand Cross with Cordon||April 2002||Rome|
|Jordan||Order of al-Hussein bin Ali Collar||September 1997||Amman|
|Latvia||Order of the Three Stars Commander Grand Cross with Chain||August 1999||Prague|
|Lithuania||Order of Vytautas the Great Grand Cross||September 1999|
|Poland||Order of the White Eagle||October 1993||Warsaw|
|Portugal||Order of Liberty Grand Collar||December 1990||Lisbon|
|Taiwan||Order of Brilliant Star with Special Grand Cordon||November 2004||Taipei|
|Slovakia||Order of the White Double Cross First Class||January 2003||Bratislava|
|Slovenia||The Golden honorary Medal of Freedom||November 1993||Ljubljana|
|Spain||Order of Isabella the Catholic Grand Cross with Collar||July 1995||Prague|
|Turkey||First Class of the Order of the State of Republic of Turkey||October 2000||Ankara|
|Ukraine||Order of Yaroslav the Wise||October 2006||Prague|
|United Kingdom||Order of the Bath Knight Grand Cross (Civil Division)||March 1996|
|United States||Presidential Medal of Freedom||July 2003||Washington D.C.|
|Uruguay||Medal of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay||September 1996||Montevideo|
Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent
In April 2012, Havel's widow, Dagmar Havlová, authorized the creation of the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent. The prize was created by the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and is awarded at the annual Oslo Freedom Forum. The prize "will celebrate those who engage in creative dissent, exhibiting courage and creativity to challenge injustice and live in truth."
The Václav Havel Library
The Václav Havel Library, located in Prague, is a charitable organization founded by Dagmar Havlová, Karel Schwarzenberg and Miloslav Petrusek on 26 July 2004. It maintains a collection of pictorial, audio and written materials and other artefacts linked to Václav Havel. The institution gathers these materials for the purpose of digitisation, documentation and research and to promote his ideas. It organises lectures, holds conferences and social and cultural events that introduce the public to the work of Václav Havel and club discussion meetings on current social issues. It runs educational activities for second-level students. It is also involved in the issuing of publications.
The library makes accessible Václav Havel's literary, philosophical and political writings, and provides a digital reading room for researchers and students in the Czech Republic and elsewhere.
In May 2012, the Library opened a branch in New York City, USA, named the Václav Havel Library Foundation. In 2014, the Václav Havel Library moved to larger premises at Ostrovni 13, in the centre of Prague.
The Václav Havel Building of the European Parliament
In July 2017, the European Parliament opened a new building on its official Strasbourg site. The building was named after Havel and decorated with a bust of the former Czech president.
The Václav Havel Memory in Zagreb
On 4 October 2016, the day before what would have been the 80th birthday of Václav Havel, his photograph was presented on the fountain in Croatian capital Zagreb. Croatian-Czech Society proposed the Václav Havel Street in Zagreb.
The Václav Havel Boulevard and memorial plaque in Kyiv
In November 2016, Václav Havel boulevard was opened in Kyiv, Ukraine. The new name has replaced the one given during Soviet era when boulevard was named in honor of the communist politician Jānis Lepse. In December, First Deputy Chairman Iryna Herashchenko along with Minister of Culture of Czech Republic Daniel Herman and Minister of Culture of Ukraine Yevhen Nyshchuk opened memorial plaque in honor of Václav Havel.
The Václav Havel Bench
The Václav Havel Bench (Havel's Place) is an artistic and urban utility project, created by Czech architect and designer Bořek Šípek. It's composed of two wooden garden chairs connected by a round table, which has a hole inside. A linden, national tree of Czechia, is growing through this hole. These benches can be found in many Czech towns, as well as in some foreign locations (Washington D.C., Dublin, Barcelona).
Sculptures and busts
On 19 November 2014, a bust of Václav Havel, created by Czech-American artist Lubomír Janečka, was unveiled at the U.S. Congress, commemorating the 25-year anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. Havel is the fourth European ever to be honored by having a bust of himself in the U.S. Congress, after Winston Churchill, Raoul Wallenberg and Lajos Kossuth. Another sculpture of Havel is placed in a boardroom of Leinster House in Dublin, the historical seat of the Oireachtas, the Irish National Parliament.
The Václav Havel Library Foundation donated a bust of Havel to Columbia University in New York City. This bust was unveiled on 27 September 2018 while Havel was being honored by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Collections of poetry
- Čtyři rané básně (Four Early Poems)
- Záchvěvy I & II, 1954 (Quivers I & II)
- První úpisy, 1955 (First promissory notes)
- Prostory a časy, 1956 (Spaces and times)
- Na okraji jara (cyklus básní), 1956 (At the edge of spring (poetry cycle))
- Antikódy, 1964 (Anticodes)
- Life Ahead/You Have Your Whole Life Ahead of You, 1959, (Život před sebou) with Karel Brynda
- Motomorphosis/Motormorphosis, 1960/1961, (Motomorfóza), a sketch from Autostop
- Ela, Hela, and the Hitch, 1960/1961, (Ela, Hela a stop), a sketch for Autostop; discarded from the play, lost; found in 2009; published in 2011
- An Evening with the Family, 1960, (Rodinný večer)
- Hitchhiking, 1961, (Autostop), with Ivan Vyskočil
- The Best Years of Missis Hermanová, 1962, (Nejlepší rocky paní Hermanové) with Miloš Macourek
- The Garden Party (Zahradní slavnost), 1963
- The Memorandum (or The Memo), 1965, (Vyrozumění)
- The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, 1968, (Ztížená možnost soustředění)
- Butterfly on the Antenna, 1968, (Motýl na anténě)
- Guardian Angel, 1968, (Anděl strážný)
- Conspirators, 1971, (Spiklenci)
- The Beggar's Opera, 1975, (Žebrácká opera)
- Audience, 1975, (Audience) – a Vanӗk play
- Unveiling, 1975, (Vernisáž) – a Vanӗk play
- Mountain Hotel 1976, (Horský hotel)
- Protest, 1978, (Protest) – a Vanӗk play
- Mistake, 1983, (Chyba)
- Largo desolato 1984, (Largo desolato)
- Temptation, 1985, (Pokoušení)
- Redevelopment, 1987, (Asanace)
- The Pig, or Václav Havel's Hunt for a Pig (Prase, aneb Václav Havel's Hunt for a Pig), 1987; published in 2010; premiered in 2010, co-authored by Vladimír Morávek
- Tomorrow, 1988, (Zítra to spustíme)
- Leaving (Odcházení), 2007
- Dozens of Cousins (Pět Tet), 2010, a Vanӗk play, a short sketch/sequel to Unveiling
- The Power of the Powerless (1985) [Includes 1978 titular essay. Online]
- Living in Truth (1986)
- Letters to Olga (Dopisy Olze) (1988)
- Disturbing the Peace (1991)
- Open Letters (1991)
- Summer Meditations (Letní přemítání) (1992/93)
- Towards a Civil Society (1994)
- The Art of the Impossible (1998)
- To the Castle and Back (2007)
Fiction books for children
- Odcházení, 2011
- Havel was a major supporter of The Plastic People of the Universe, and close friend of its leader, Milan Hlavsa, its manager, Ivan Martin Jirous, and its guitarist/vocalist, Paul Wilson (who later became Havel's English translator and biographer) and a great fan of the rock band The Velvet Underground, sharing mutual respect with the principal singer-songwriter Lou Reed, and was also a lifelong Frank Zappa fan.
- Havel was also a great supporter and fan of jazz and frequented such Prague clubs as Radost FX and the Reduta Jazz Club, where U.S. President Bill Clinton played the saxophone when Havel brought him there.
Václav Havel has been portrayed, as himself or a character based on him, in a number of feature and television films.:
- Czech Century is a 2013 historical television series chronicling Czech history from 1989. Havel is portrayed by Marek Daniel.
- Marek Daniel also portrayed Havel in a satirical web series Kancelář Blaník.
- Havel is a 2020 historical film about Havel's (Viktor Dvořák) life before 1989.
- Civil resistance
- Hrad (politics)
- List of peace activists
- Nonviolent resistance
- Václav Havel Human Rights Prize
- Webb, W. L. (18 December 2011). "Václav Havel obituary". The Guardian.
- Crain, Caleb (21 March 2012). "Havel's Specter: On Václav Havel". The Nation. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- Tismăneanu, Vladimir (2010). "Citizenship Restored". Journal of Democracy. 21 (1): 128–135. doi:10.1353/jod.0.0139.
- "Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism". Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. 9 June 2008. Archived from the original on 18 May 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
- "Opening Ceremony, Bruges Campus". Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "Prospect Intellectuals: The 2005 List". Prospect. Archived from the original on 23 May 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
- Webb, W. L. (18 December 2011). "Václav Havel obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- Zantovsky, Michael (2014). Havel: A Life. New York: Grove Press. pp. 16 (family accomplishments), 55 (marriage). ISBN 9780802123152.
- "Havel, Vaclav, Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- "::.Václav Havel.::The official website of Václav Havel, writer, dramatist, dissident, prisoner of conscience, human rights activist, former president of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic". Vaclavhavel.cz. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "Václav Havel – Prague Castle". Hrad.cz. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "Václav Havel". The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Havel, V. (1975). "Letter to Dr. Husak" Archived 5 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- Rissanen, Mika. "From the brewery to the presidency". Retrieved 17 March 2018.
- Goetz-Stankiewicz, Marketa. The Vanӗk Plays, 1987, University of British Columbia Press
- Richie Unterberger, "The Plastic People of the Universe", richieunterberger.com 26 February 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2007.
- Eda Kriseová (1993). Václav Havel: The Authorized Biography. Translated by Crain, Caleb. St. Martins Press. pp. 98–99, 168, 202. ISBN 0-88687-739-3.
- Václav Havel, The Power of the Powerless, in: Václav Havel, et al The power of the powerless. Citizen against the state in central-eastern Europe, Abingdon, 2010 pp. 10–60 ISBN 978-0-87332-761-9
- Keane, John (2000). Václav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts. Basic Books. p. 264. ISBN 0-465-03719-4.
- 'Catastrophe', Collected Shorter Plays of Samuel Beckett (New York: Grove P, 1994) pp. 295–302 ISBN 0-8021-5055-1.
- "Václav Havel (1990)". Liberal-international.org. Archived from the original on 26 October 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Stanger, Richard L. "Václav Havel: Heir to a Spiritual Legacy" Archived 27 August 2005 at the Wayback Machine. The Christian Century (Christian Century Foundation), 11 April 1990: pp. 368–70. Rpt. in religion-online.org ("with permission"; "prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock"). ["Richard L. Stanger is senior minister at Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn, New York".]
- Tucker, Scott. "Capitalism with a Human Face?". The Humanist (American Humanist Association), 1 May 1994, "Our Queer World". Rpt. in High Beam Encyclopedia (an online encyclopedia). Retrieved 21 December 2007. ["Václav Havel's philosophy and musings."]
- Vaclav Havel: Still Puckish, Still a Politician, No Longer President, The New York Times, 21 July 1992
- Thompson, Wayne C. (2008). The World Today Series: Nordic, Central and Southeastern Europe. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia: Stryker-Post Publications. ISBN 978-1-887985-95-6.
- Ponikelska, Lenka. "Czech Cabinet Meets to Plan Havel's Funeral as EU Holds Minute of Silence". Bloomberg. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "Havel's New Year's address". Old.hrad.cz. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Janda, Vojtěch (3 October 2009). "Listopad 1989: Se svobodou přišel zločin". Deník.cz. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- Analýza trendů kriminality v roce 2010 (PDF). Praha: Institut pro kriminologii a sociální prevenci. 2011. pp. 124–128. ISBN 978-80-7338-117-2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 February 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- Analýza trendů kriminality v roce 2010 (PDF). Praha: Institut pro kriminologii a sociální prevenci. 2011. p. 129. ISBN 978-80-7338-117-2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 February 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- "Počet vražd v České republice". czso.cz. Český statistický úřad. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- Jedlička, Miloslav. "Jozef Slovák: pětinásobný vrah". kriminalistika.eu. Archived from the original on 15 January 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- Jedlička, Miloslav. "Roman Kučerovský". kriminalistika.eu. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- Jedlička, Miloslav (20 September 2008). "Vraha tří žen našli kriminalisté po třinácti letech. Díky DNA". iDnes.cz. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- Berman, Paul (11 May 1997). "The Poet of Democracy and His Burdens". The New York Times Magazine. Archived from the original on 28 May 2006. Retrieved 18 March 2006. (original inc. cover photo), as rpt. in English translation at Newyorske listy (New York Herald). Retrieved 29 April 2007.
- PRECLÍK, Vratislav. Masaryk a legie (Masaryk and legions), váz. kniha, 219 pages, first issue - vydalo nakladatelství Paris Karviná, Žižkova 2379 (734 01 Karvina, CZ) ve spolupráci s Masarykovým demokratickým hnutím (Masaryk democratic movement, Prague), 2019, ISBN 978-80-87173-47-3, str. 24-25, s. 151, s. 157, s. 169, s. 184, s. 185
- "Vaclav Havel". Prague Radio.cz. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Richard Allen Greene "Václav Havel: End of an era", BBC News, 9 October 2003
- Václav Havel, "NATO: The Safeguard of Stability and Peace In the Euro-Atlantic Region", in European Security: Beginning a New Century, eds. General George A. Joulwan & Roger Weissinger-Baylon, papers from the XIIIth NATO Workshop: On Political-Military Decision Making, Warsaw, Poland, 19–23 June 1996.
- Žižek, Slavoj (28 October 1999). "Attempts to Escape the Logic of Capitalism. Book review of Václav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts, by John Keane". London Review of Books. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
- Havel's Medical Condition Seems to Worsen, The New York Times. 5 August 1998.
- "Full text of letter written by eight European leaders". The Irish Times. 30 January 2003.
- Welch, Matt. "Velvet President", Reason (May 2003). Rpt. in Reason Online. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
- Václav Havel "Famous Czechs of the Past Century: Václav Havel" Archived 8 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine – English version of article featured on the official website of the Czech Republic.
- "Václav Havel". Prague Life. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "Václav Havel: The Emperor Has No Clothes Webcast (Library of Congress)". Loc.gov. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Havel at Columbia; "Celebrating the Life and Art of Václav Havel: New York City, October through December 2006" Archived 16 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
- Capps, Walter H. "Interpreting Václav Havel". Cross Currents (Association for Religion & Intellectual Life) 47.3 (Fall 1997). Retrieved 21 December 2007.
- Havel at Columbia: Václav Havel: The Artist, The Citizen, The Residency Archived 22 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine, a multi-media website developed for Havel's seven-week residency at Columbia University, in Fall 2006; features biographies, timelines, interviews, profile and bibliographies (see "References" above).
- "Honours: Order of Canada: Václav Havel". Archived from the original on 10 December 2005. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
- "The Havel Festival : Václav Havel". Untitledtheater.com. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "The Havel Festival". Untitledtheater.com. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "Václav Havel on Transcendence | World Future Society". Wfs.org. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Pinder, Ian (16 August 2008). "Czechout". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
- "Belarus Free Theatre Meet Václav Havel", press release, Belarus Free Theatre, 13 August 2007. Retrieved 31 August 2007.
- Michael Batiukov, "Belarus 'Free Theatre' is Under Attack by Militia in Minsk, Belarus" Archived 11 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine, American Chronicle, 22 August 2007. Retrieved 31 August 2007.
- Adam Hetrick, "Václav Havel's Leaving May Arrive in American Theatres", Playbill, 19 November 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
- Daniela Lazarová, "Will It Be Third Time Lucky for Václav Havel's 'Leaving'?", Radio Prague, 14 December 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
- "Everyone loves Havel's Leaving". Archived from the original on 30 May 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- Feifer, Gregory (23 March 2011). "Havel Film Premieres in Prague". Rferl.org. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- "DIVADLO.CZ: Of Pigs and Dissidents". Host.theatre.cz. 29 June 2010. Archived from the original on 18 August 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Callahan, Dan. "Summer Preview: Performance | Theater Reviews | The L Magazine – New York City's Local Event and Arts & Culture Guide". The L Magazine. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- "A Song-And-Dance Survival Strategy". nytimes.com. 12 March 2014.
- "Havel's gift for Obama to be displayed in Prague gallery | Prague Monitor". Archived from the original on 11 April 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "International Advisory Council". Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- "Supporters". Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
- "Václav Havel byl součástí odvěkého lidského snažení o lepší svět". Denikreferendum.cz. 19 December 2011. Archived from the original on 3 January 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "Český rozhlas Plus (archiv – Portréty)". Prehravac.rozhlas.cz. 18 December 2011. Archived from the original on 6 January 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "Zelené podpořil Havel, vymezují se proti TOP 09 –". Novinky.cz. Archived from the original on 4 January 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "Zelení představili své sympatizanty – Havla, Schwarzenberga a Holubovou". Novinky.cz. Archived from the original on 3 January 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "Havel podpořil zelené. Srovnal továrny s koncentráky". Tn.nova.cz. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "Aktuální zpravodajství | Václav Havel vyzývá občany k volbě Strany zelených | Tiscali.cz". Zpravy.tiscali.cz. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Dan Bilefsky; Jane Perlez (18 December 2011). "Václav Havel, Former Czech President, Dies at 75". The New York Times.
- "Václav Havel, Czech statesman and playwright, dies at 75". BBC. 18 December 2011.
- Paul Wilson (9 February 2012). "Václav Havel (1936–2011)". The New York Review of Books. 59 (2). Retrieved 21 January 2012.
- "Dalai Lama pays 'friendly' visit to Prague". The Prague Post. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- "Václav Havel to be given state funeral and highest military honors". Radio Praha. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- "Hudebníky napěchovaná Lucerna vzdala hold Havlovi, zazpívala i Vega a Král". iDNES.cz. 23 December 2011.
- "World Reacts To Václav Havel's Death". Radio Free Europe. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- "Russian embassy says condolence on Václav Havel's death was sent to President Klaus". Radio Prague. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
- "A Continent Mourns the Passing of Vaclav Havel". Radio Free Europe. Archived from the original on 20 December 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- "Czech politicians express sorrow over Václav Havel's death" Archived 10 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine Prague Daily Monitor, 19 December 2011
- Václav Havel, K Falbrově lži, Mladá fronta DNES 24 May 2004: Obskurní pojem "humanitární bombardování" jsem samozřejmě nejen nevymyslel, ale nikdy ani nepoužil a použít nemohl, neboť mám – troufám si tvrdit – vkus.
- "Petition to name the Prague – Ruzyne airport Václav Havel International Airport". Retrieved 27 December 2011.
- "Government renames airport after Havel, but botches translation". Prague Radio.cz. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "Letiště Václava Havla". Vaclavhavelairport.com. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Marci Shore, "Havel: A Life, by Michael Zantovsky," New York Times Sunday Book Review (27 December 2014)
- Four Freedoms Award#Freedom Medal
- "Royal Society of Literature All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Archived from the original on 5 March 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
- 1994 Speech Václav Havel – Liberty Medal, National Constitution Center
- País, Ediciones El (12 April 1997). "Havel y la CNN comparten el Príncipe de Asturias de Comunicación y Humanidades". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
- "Prix mondial". Fondation Simone et Cino Del Duca (in French). 11 April 2014. Archived from the original on 1 January 2020. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
- Shipsey, Bill. "Václav Havel: Ambassador of Conscience 2003: From Prisoner to President – A Tribute" Archived 21 June 2006 at archive.today. Amnesty International (October 2003). Retrieved 21 December 2007.
- "Havel to receive U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom". Radio Prague International. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
- "Vaclav Havel associated values with Canada: Johnston". CTVNews. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
- Archived 22 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- "The Club of Madrid". Clubmadrid.org. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- "Havel receives Quadriga prestigious German award". Prague Daily Monitor (original source: Czech Press Agency. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
- "German Group Cancels Prize to Putin After Outcry", The New York Times, 16 July 2011.
- "Honorary Doctorates". Retrieved 23 December 2008.
- "Installation de M. Vaclav Havel comme membre associé étranger au fauteuil laissé vacant par le décès de Ugo Papi". Academie des Sciences Morales et Politiques. 27 October 1992. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
- ვაცლავ ჰაველის დაჯილდოება on YouTube
- Gershman, Carl (16 November 2014). "Are Czechs giving up on moral responsibility?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- "State Decorations". Retrieved 17 August 2010.
- "Reply to a parliamentary question" (PDF) (in German). p. 1711. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Havel's Acceptance Speech accessed 4 November 2006.
- "The Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent". Human Rights Foundation. 11 April 2012. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- Miloslav Rechcígl (2008). On Behalf of Their Homeland: Fifty Years of SVU : an Eyewitness Account of the History of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU). East European Monographs. ISBN 978-0-88033-630-7.
- "Havel’s Letter to Husák: still an inspiration 40 years on". Radio Prague, 4 November 2015 | Azadeh Mohammadi, David Vaughan
- "Taiwanese disappointed at Zeman's view of Taiwan". Prague Daily Monitor 24 March 2015
- "New venue doubles capacity for Václav Havel Library events". Radio Prague, 10 January 2014 | Ian Willoughby
- "Václav Havel: Parliament dedicates building to former Czech president". News / European Parliament. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
- "Official opening of the Havel Building". European Parliament / The President. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
- "Lik Vaclava Havela na fontanama u povodu 80. godišnjice rođenja". Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
- "The Václav Havel Bench".
- "Pocta Havlovi. Jako čtvrtý Evropan má v americkém Kongresu bustu | Svět". Lidovky.cz. 19 November 2014. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
- "Havel má jako první cizinec bustu v irském parlamentu. Byl výjimečnou osobností, říká politik" (in Czech). Retrieved 18 February 2017.
- "Statue of Vaclav Havel Erected in Tbilisi". Georgia Today on the Web.
- Biographies and bibliographies, "Havel at Columbia: Bibliography: Human Rights Archive". Retrieved 29 April 2007.
- Sam Beckwith, "Václav Havel & Lou Reed", Prague.tv 24 January 2005, updated 27 January 2005. Retrieved 26 April 2007.
Works by Václav Havel
- Commentaries and Op-eds by Václav Havel and in conjunction between Václav Havel and other renowned world leaders for Project Syndicate.
- "Excerpts from The Power of the Powerless (1978)", by Václav Havel. "Excerpts from the Original Electronic Text provided by Bob Moeller, of the University of California, Irvine."
- "The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World" (Speech republished in THE FUTURIST magazine). Retrieved 19 December 2011
- Václav Havel: 'We are at the beginning of momentous changes' at the Wayback Machine (archived 22 June 2008). Czech.cz (Official website of the Czech Republic), 10 September 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2007. On personal responsibility, freedom and ecological problems.
- Two Messages Václav Havel on the Kundera affair, English, salon.eu.sk, October 2008
Media interviews with Václav Havel
- Keane, John. Václav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts. New York: Basic Books, 2000. ISBN 0-465-03719-4. (A sample chapter [in HTML and PDF formats] is linked on the author's website, "Books".)
- Kriseová, Eda. Václav Havel. Trans. Caleb Crain. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993. ISBN 0-312-10317-4.
- Pontuso, James F. Václav Havel: Civic Responsibility in the Postmodern Age. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004. ISBN 0-7425-2256-3.
- Rocamora, Carol. Acts of Courage. New York: Smith & Kraus, 2004. ISBN 1-57525-344-5.
- Symynkywicz, Jeffrey. Václav Havel and the Velvet Revolution. Parsippany, New Jersey: Dillon Press, 1995. ISBN 0-87518-607-6.
- Zantovsky, Michael (2014). Havel: A Life. ISBN 0802123155.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Václav Havel|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Václav Havel.|
- Václav Havel Official website
- Václav Havel Library, Prague
- Knihovna Vaclava Havla (Vaclav Havel Library) at Google Cultural Institute
- Encyclopædia Britannica's biography of Václav Havel
- Watch Citizen Havel, a film about Václav Havel, at www.dafilms.com
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Václav Havel at IMDb
- Václav Havel collected news and commentary at The Guardian
- "Václav Havel collected news and commentary". The New York Times.
- Václav Havel archive from The New York Review of Books
- Havel at Columbia: Bibliography: Human Rights Archive
- Radio Prague's detailed account of Havel's life
- Bio of Václav Havel
- New York Times obit
- The Havel Festival
- The Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation
- Last interview, given to The European Strategist
- Václav Havel Freedom Collection interview
| President of Czechoslovakia
|New office|| President of the Czech Republic