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České Budějovice

Lavička VH Budějovice

  • address:: USB, Branišovská 1645 / 31a, České Budějovice, Czech Republic
  • installation date: June 11, 2014
  • foto:: Václav Havel Library / Ondřej Němec

At 11:00 on Wednesday 11 June, a Havel’s Place was ceremonially unveiled on the campus of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice. České Budějovice became the fifth city in the world, and the University of South Bohemia the second university (after Georgetown University in Washington), where the piece – two armchairs linked by a round table with a Linden tree growing through its centre – will remember the life and work of Václav Havel. Despite tropical weather, several hundred people attended the unveiling, chief among them academics, students and colleagues and friends of Václav Havel.

The Václav Havel Library was represented in České Budějovice by Karel Schwarzenberg, one of its founders, executive director Marta Smolíková and editor Anna Freimanová. Karel Hvížďala, who interviewed Václav Havel for the book Disturbing the Peace, spoke at the unveiling, as did Bořek Šípek, the designer of Havel’s Place. Honoured guests included Sister Angelika and Sister Evangelista, who looked after Václav Havel in the final days of his life; Bishop Jiří Paďour, who for years studied at the Theatre Faculty at the Academy of Performing Arts alongside Václav Havel; Martin Palouš, chairman of the board of directors of the Václav Havel Library and founder of the Václav Havel Center at Florida University; Petr Kolář, former Czech ambassador to Sweden, the USA and Russia; former MPs Jan Ruml, Martin Bursík and Kateřina Jacques; former presidential chancellor Ivo Mathé; and the honorary chairman of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Rudolf Zahradník.

Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter

„Once you’re here, however, whether you want to or not, you have to ask the question: does all of this have a meaning, and if so, what?… Ultimately, I can only find an answer – a positive answer – within myself, in my general faith in the meaning of things, in my hope. What, in fact, is man responsible to? What does he relate to? What is the final horizon of his actions, the absolute vanishing point of everything he does, the undeceivable “memory of Being”, the conscience of the world and the final “court of appeal”? What is the decisive standard of measurement, the background or the field of each of his existential experiences? And likewise, what is the most important witness or the secret sharer in his daily conversations with himself, the thing that – regardless of what situation he has been thrown into – he incessantly inquires after, depends upon, and toward which his actions are directed, the thing that, in its omniscience and incorruptibility, both haunts and saves him, the only thing he can trust in and strive for? “

Václav Havel:
Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter, August 7, 1980

What Price Human Rights?