Spidla was born on 22 April 1951 in Prague. He graduated from the Charles University Faculty of Arts in 1976, majoring in history and prehistory. After graduation, he took up a variety of blue-collar jobs, including working in a dairy, sawmill, and as a scene-shifter. He also worked as a caretaker for national monuments and as an archaeologist. In 1990, he was appointed deputy chairman for education, health care, social affairs, and culture in the District Office at Jindrichuv Hradec, and from 1991–96 worked as director of the Labor Office in the same town. He speaks German and French, and his favorite hobbies are caring for historical monuments, running cross-country, and other outdoor sports. He is married, and has two children from his first marriage, and two step-children from his second.