Czech centres to mark Havel’s 80th birth anniversary worldwide

Source: ČTK /

Prague – The Czech Centres will stage events to mark this year’s 80th birth anniversary of former Czech president and playwright Vaclav Havel (1936-2011) all over the world, the centres’ spokeswoman Petra Jungwirthova has told CTK.

“We will organise events in commemoration of ex-president Havel across Europe and also overseas, with the USA and Japan being the most remote destinations,” Jungwirthova said.

Individual centres have each chosen their specific ways to present Havel and his legacy to the local population. Havel’s plays will be performed, his texts read in public, and some centres will organise lectures and discussion meetings, Jungwirthova said.
Havel’s birth anniversary falls on October 5, which is why most of the commemorative events have been scheduled for autumn.

The exception are the Czech Centres in Moldova and Romania, which will offer the exhibition “Portrait of Havel” in the spring. As from March 2, the collection of portraits of Havel, former Czechoslovak leading anti-communist dissident, made by a variety of artists of different styles and views, will be presented by the Czech Centre in Chisinau. In mid-April, the exhibition will move to Craiova, Romania, and in summer to Cluj, Romania’s second largest city. The author of the exhibition, Frantisek Zachoval, said it is striving not to present a one-sided approach to Havel. “The core of the exhibition is the plurality of views that significant artists have had on Havel and his activities,” Zachoval said.

He said Havel himself warned against his ideas becoming slogans one day. The collection of portraits includes works by renowned Czech artists such as Milan Knizak, Jiri Kovanda, Kurt Gebauer, Jiri David and the recently deceased Borek Sipek.

Havel was the first Czechoslovak post-communist president in 1989-1992 and the first president of the independent Czech Republic in 1993-2003. He died on December 18, 2011.