Czech Prime Minister unveils street named for Václav Havel in Luxembourg

An installation that plays Havel's voice was also revealed at the ceremony in the capital city's Kirchberg neighborhood.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 14.12.2022 14:54:00 (updated on 14.12.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prime Minister Petr Fiala and his Luxembourg counterpart Xavier Bettel christened a street named for the dissident, playwright, and Czechoslovak and Czech president Václav  Havel, in Luxembourg Tuesday.

The street located in the capital's Kirchberg neighborhood also features an interactive installation work by Czech artist Jiří David. The work bears the inscription of Havel's most famous dictum: "Truth and love must defeat lies and hatred."

Both Fiala and Bettel acknowledged Havel's legacy in the fight against totalitarianism.

In a speech at the unveiling ceremony, Fiala said, "This statement does not suggest that the victory of the values of humanism is rapid or even easy. Still, it is right in saying that totalitarianism and authoritarianism are internally unstable and that the spirit of democracy and freedom will always defeat them. Václav Havel knew this very well and we should remember it, too." 

Having a street named for Havel is proof that his name and ideas still resonate in the world today, the Czech PM added.

"[He] fought for freedom and democracy. People just like him who were never broken by the Communist regime and totalitarianism, although they were imprisoned, were able to face them bravely, defending the values and things in which they believed. They had a decisive share in our being able to enjoy freedom and democracy,“ Fiala told reporters at the unveiling.

"I am quite happy that I was born in a free country,“ Luxembourg's prime minister said, noting the difference between himself and Fiala who was born under the Communist regime.

"I am part of the generation that knows who Václav Havel is. However, young people do not have it imprinted in their minds like me,“ Bettel said, adding that this was yet another reason why Havel's legacy should be preserved.

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David's award-winning installation is formed with fragments of rough concrete and is intended to be a visualization of Havel speaking his famed mantra. A small button on the sculpture plays an authentic recording of Havel's voice when pushed. A QR code lets visitors translate Havel's words into different languages.

Photo via Petr Fiala / Facebook
Photo via Petr Fiala / Facebook

Streets have been named after Havel in Gdansk and Opole. In Paris, the Václav Havel Library opened in November 2013 and in June 2015 a square in Haifa was named after the former Czech president.

Havel's name has also been given to Prague's international airport, schools, and one of the European Parliament buildings in Strasbourg.

Havel benches designed by the late Czech glass artist and close friend to Havel Bořek Šípek, have been installed in Dublin, Washington, Barcelona, Oregon, and Oxford.

The ceremony in Luxembourg represents a symbolic end to the Czech EU presidency, which will be passed to Sweden on Jan. 1, 2023.

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