On the 1st and 2nd of January of 1975 H.H. the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, started his activity in the Netherlands by teaching the Buddha Dharma and performing a Black Crown Ceremony in Amsterdam. Hannah and Ole Nydahl traveled with Karmapa at that time and since then, Lama Ole has given many lectures in the Netherlands. Nowadays there are 10 meditation groups in the Netherlands, varying from small home based meditation groups to a number of key centers and a live-in center in Rotterdam, where 5 Buddhists live. However, all these places are rented.
Since the ‘90s, when Diamond Way Buddhism started to grow in the Netherlands, many group retreats have been organized in rented venues all over the country. The wish to own some property with a plot of land gradually became stronger. In March of 2007 the 17th Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje was informed about that wish and when Lama Ole visited Amsterdam in October of that same year he was asked for his view on it. Lama Ole: “It should be a place where the landscape was pushed up by the ice in the last glacial period, with a view on a hilly landscape”.
In January of 2011, during the Wintertour in Russia, he added the following:
“It should be a place that is a little bit higher, but not too far from the big towns, so people could come there. One of the strongest energies is in Groningen. But on the other hand: near Amsterdam, or near Amsterdam and Rotterdam, would probably be the most important. So you could get there within an hour, an hour and a half, something like that. Maybe you’ll have one up north for longer retreats and one near the main towns for relaxation or for daily practice.”
And two months later he gave his explicit support for this project of the Dutch sangha:
“Dearest Dutch friends,
Holland House is exactly what we need and please work together to
make it a success. No country has a more varied Diamond Way Group
then you, so what you do there will have exceedingly value and shines
not only on your country.
Yours, Lama Ole”
Since then, the Dutch sangha has the collective wish for a national meet and retreat place, in addition to its meditation groups and centers around the country. Realising the Holland House Project is a rich opportunity to meditate, work together and create a firm foundation for Diamond Way Buddhism in the Netherlands.
A bit of history
In the year 2008 a group of friends from the Arnhem sangha were offered the usage of part of a farmhouse in Niel, Germany, just across the border from the Dutch city of Nijmegen. They investigated the opportunity and in the summer of 2009 the first retreat weekend was organised in Niel. The activity of creating our own place there grew rapidly, with the aspiration to work and develop together, learn from experience and strengthen our friendship. However, in June of 2010 the project in Niel sadly came to an end due to some unforeseen circumstances.
In order to keep the activity alive and to continue fundraising the Holland House campaign was launched, starting with a vision meeting on 10-10-’10 in the Buddhist Centre in Amsterdam. Many Holland House weekends followed and resulted in the creation of a website, a promo-video, T-shirts, stickers, meditation cushions, malas and many many more inspiring ways ways for fundraising. From that moment on money was being collected for the fulfillment of our wish.
In the spring of 2013 the national sangha organised a retreat on a large farm in Jorwert, in the northern province of Friesland. The owners then offered the usage of a large part of the farm house and the former cow stables. This was again a unique opportunity to realise our wish. With the combined effort of many friends from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Poland the gompa (meditation room) was realised. It had a sheer unending view over the flat Frysian landscape. Apart from the meditation sessions, lectures and parties, we worked together for many weekends, building the much needed amenities to cater for large groups visiting the retreat center. Unfortunately, this project came to an end early 2014 due to private circumstances of the farm owner. More than ever it became clear that the Holland House should be fully owned by the Dutch Diamond Way Foundation, without personal dependencies.
Over the past years we have organised many successful retreat weekends in nice locations; near the North Sea beach of Hoek van Holland, far south in the green hills of Limburg in Epen and on Schiermonnikoog, one of the Wadden Islands in the north.
Here and now
Since the retreat in Epen in October 2016, the activity is growing stronger than ever before. Our friends of the Reeuwijk/Gouda sangha have given the Holland House Project a new push with their idea to move out of their current houses into the HH as its residents and caretakers. New fundraisers have been initiated, like the brewing and selling of HH beer, the organisation of HH diners and parties, making HH mala’s.. But most importantly, many friends in the Dutch sangha are supporting the project and have started donating on a monthly basis!
Our ambition is big. We want to buy a plot of land before the year 2020. It should be in a central place in the Netherlands, in the hilly landscape of either National Park Utrechtse Heuvelrug or the West-Veluwe. We are looking for a plot of land with a free standing house that needs refurbishing and that we can build on in the future. It should be able to house 4 to 6 Buddhists and have a large kitchen, a gompa in which all 108 Dutch Diamond Way Buddhists will fit, sufficient sleeping facilities, a guest room for our Lamas and Traveling teachers and must be easily accessible by car and public transport.
To accomplish that we need at least €500.000. With enough private funds, monthly donations and the rent paid by the residents, an additional bank loan could speed up the project’s realisation. There are already some Dutch Buddhists who definitely want to live there and share in the monthly rent, but we are still looking for more friends from the sangha who would like to live there.
So, we need your help! You can contribute in many ways to the Holland House Project: by making wishes, supporting our fundraising activities, but most of all by supporting financially with monthly donations.
Donations are welcome on our bank account. Please transfer to:
|International Bank Account Number: NL08 INGB 0007 5445 36|
BIC code: INGBNL2A
Account name: Boeddhistische stichting van de Karma Kagyu linie
Address: Weerdsingel WZ 33a, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Please add: ‘Donation Holland House’
Thank you so much for helping us realise our dream!
The Dutch sangha