The Heart of Havel, the heart of Europe

The first anniversary of the death of former Czech President, Vaclav Havel, was commemorated in the European Parliament in Brussels with a heart, a giant pink neon heart.

Measuring 15m by 17m and weighting approximately 275 Kg, the heart comes to represent Mr. Havel’s life commitment to human rights, peace and democracy.

The massive installation which was created by artist Jiri David, was inspired by a rather little, hand-written heart that Mr. Havel used to place after his signature.

Prior to its arrival to Brussels, the artifact was shining over the Prague Castle to mark the end of Mr. Havel’s term in the presidential term in December 2002. The heart will continue to decorate our building until the end of January, 2013. Then it is expected to be displayed in other places, among them Kabul in Afghanistan.

A playwright, thinker and former dissident, Mr. Havel was the last Czechoslovak and the first Czech president (1989-2003).

He became a dominant figure during the demonstrations in 1989, and a principal negotiator who brought to an end over 40 years of Communist rule and peaceful transfer of power.

He was chosen as post-Communist Czechoslovakia’s first president, and after the country split in January 1993 he became president of the Czech Republic. He linked the country firmly to the West, clearing the way for the Czech Republic to join NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.

Mr. Havel was a popular leader also in the European Parliament. He visited the Parliament several times and met with three of its Presidents: President Baron Crespo (1991), President Fontaine (2000) and President Buzek (2009).

Mr. Havel died on December 18, 2011, at the age of 75. He left behind a spiritual and intellectual legacy that won’t be forgotten.

Greetings from the European Parliament,

Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg

The Heart of Havel overlooking the Esplanade Solidarnosc, European Parliament Brussels

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