Adi Da´s Visit in 1986
In 1986 Avatar Adi Da Samraj made His first visit to the European community of His devotees. He travelled through England, France and Holland. During His stay in Holland He very much wanted a place where he could meet with all of His European devotees. Devotees looked for an appropriate place that could be acquired as an rural Ashram. In the South of Holland, in the village of Maria Hoop close to the German border, a former monastery was found which could be rented for a few weeks. The monastery was already empty for several years. Devotees quickly cleaned buildings and the grounds. Adi Da was invited to and He stayed in a specially prepared wing of the monastery for several days. In this period He granted Darshan and Question and Answer Occasions to German, English, Dutch, French and American devotees. He then gave His Blessing to acquire the property for the purpose of making it to an Ashram and retreat centre. However at that time, the community was still small and was not yet able to generate the financial means to buy the buildings.
The Start of an European Ashram
It was not until the end of 1989 that the monastery was purchased with the collective support of English, Dutch and German devotees. Adi Da Samraj Blessed the place with a name The European Danda meaning “staff or cane”, the place where Adi Da Samraj has planted His staff in Europe. In the beginning about 25 devotees went there and started to live Ashram life. During the first year, more devotees moved to the Ashram and the population grew to about 35 devotees. A retreat centre was created in the building, and many people came on retreat, specially during the summer holidays. This had a very inspiring influence and more and more people felt attracted to live in this community circumstance.
To be able to house all the people and to accommodate different levels of involvement in Adidam, a plan was developed to build extra small apartments near the Ashram according to the Dutch tradition of “hofjes” small little houses around a communal garden near a church. (hofje means little in yard or garden) In a piece of property at the back of the Danda was chosen and a hofje was built. The Maria Hoop population of devotees grew further as new people moved into it.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj´s Visit in 1996
In 1996 Adi Da Samraj visited His European devotees for the second time, during which period He stayed for almost one months at the European Danda. He also travelled to Switzerland in this period. Adi Da gave Darshan in the garden of the Danda and in the Chapel and He visited the Hofje as well. During His stay at the European Danda Adi Da gave more instructions for the use of the building.
Since His visit the focus of the European Danda has changed more from a living circumstance for devotees to optimising it for use as a retreat centre.