The Václav Havel Bench Has Returned to Malá Strana

Representatives of Prague 1 and the Prague City Gallery unveiled the renovated Václav Havel bench on Maltézské náměstí in Lesser Town.

“The tree, around which the bench table is placed, has become thicker, so we had to give it more space,” described the director of the Prague City Gallery Magdalena Juříková.

According to her, the modifications were made with the consent of the copyright holders. The bench has not been on the square for about a year.

The Václav Havel bench on Maltézské náměstí was the first one in the Czech Republic. It was placed there on 1 May 2014, on the tenth anniversary of the Czech Republic’s accession to the EU.

Each of the benches, which can be found, for example, in Washington, Dublin, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, but also in Pilsen, České Budějovice, and Hradec Králové, are a memorial place dedicated to Václav Havel, Juříková said.

It consists of two chairs connected by a round table with a tree growing through the center. The construction of the Václav Havel benches is a worldwide project initiated by Petr Gandalovič, former Czech ambassador to the USA, together with architect and designer Bořek Šípek.

The intention of this project is to create a network of places in public space that can contribute to meetings and genuine dialogue – places where it will be possible to discuss and reflect in the spirit of Havel’s ideals and life attitudes.

There are currently 46 Václav Havel benches in the Czech Republic and around the world. However, this number should soon be increased by more.

According to the mayor of Prague 1, Petr Hejma (We Who Live Here), the administration of Prague 1 has approved the placement of the bench on the land of the Vltava River Basin at the Hollar Chapel near Smetana Embankment. “That is, not far from the Slavia café, which the President was very fond of,” the mayor pointed out.

“We are very happy about the return of the bench to Maltézské náměstí. The signed memorandum confirmed our mutual cooperation with the Prague City Gallery, which was responsible for the renovation of the bench, and we will take care of the management of the place,” added Mayor Hejma.

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