Netherlands 5 July: Den Haag - Amsterdam

Members of Parliament & Torch-Bearer Awards

Our first visit of the day was at language school 'ROC Mondriaan Taal Plus' in The Hague.

Many different cultures studying in harmony.

Saying 'peace' in Hindi: shanti

Thank you for a warm-hearted reception!

Outside on the street we met kids from the Johan de Witt college, also from many different countries.

Later on we met with 3 Dutch members of parliament who came out to run with the Torch.

From right to left: Jeroen Recourt (labour party), Michiel van Nispen (socialist party) and Marith Volp (labour party)

Michiel van Nispen led the way. He is both a talented young politician and an excellent runner. His PB on the half marathon is 1:09!

Dutch parliament buildings in The Hague.

We ran a lap of 3K.

A special thank you to Michiel van Nispen for organizing and facilitating the meeting and the run.

The coat of armour of The Netherlands.

Peaceful animals.

Arriving in Amsterdam.

Beautiful canals.

In Amsterdam we visited the He Hua buddhist temple in the very centre of the city.

We were here last in 2005, 11 years ago. Many people still remembered our visit!

They gave us wonderful gifts: a book and a scroll of calligraphy.

Together we said a buddhist prayer for world-peace.

Dinner time!

The He Hua temple had cooked a wonderful meal for us.

The buddhist master who is the inspiration behind the temple and also a great calligraphist.

In the evening we had a beautiful ceremony for the Torch-Bearer Awards.

We honoured three 'heroes of service', people who have done extraordinary things to promote peace, friendship and understanding.

Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp received a Torch-Bearer Award for his lifelong dedication to build bridges between religions and to bring the religious leaders together to combat poverty and climate change.

He gave a soul-stirring speech that we will cherish in the depths of our hearts.

"As long as there are people like you, who believe that one day we will have world-peace, it is bound to happen," rabbi Soetendorp said.

Composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven received a Torch-Bearer Award for his efforts to offer concerts and music in area's of conflicts as a tool to minimize hatred and fear.

Fear is the biggest problem in our world, Merlijn said. He poignantly analyzed fear as "False Evidence Appearing Real".

Jurrien ten Brinke received the award together with his wife Janet (who could not be there) for helping refugees feel at home in their new country by sharing meals with them and inviting them into their homes. They built a website for people who want to do the same and already received over 26.000 registrations.

The world needs more people like these.

Abhinabha was the MC of the evening.

Vapushtara offered peaceful and beautiful musical intermezzo's on the piano.

Audience members holding the Torch and praying for peace.

Jurrien's children also came along to the ceremony.

Rabbi Soetendorp and his wife Sira.

It was a wonderful evening full of goodness, hope and inspiration.