Amsterdam’s Chinatown remains one of the most vibrant parts of the city. It's home to some of the city's best Asian food (try the dim sum, you'll really like it) and also the largest Buddhist temple in Europe, which is kind of impossible to miss. The Fo Guang Shan buddhist temple Amsterdam has a certain ancient Chinese feel to it that draws visitors in and makes them want to explore the temple. Stepping into the temple reveals a lavish interior, a statue of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and a shrine dedicated to the Buddha. It is said that the roof tiles and traditional ornamentation were flown in straight from China! Fo Guang Shan Buddhist temple serves as a meditation centre. Organised services, guided tours are courses are also available.
“Fo Guang Shan” is Mandarin for “Buddha” (Fo), “light” (Guano), and “mountain” (Shan). It is an international Chinese Buddhist monastic order and new religious movement based in Taiwan. Their headquarters is located in Dashu District, Kaohsiung and is the largest Buddhist monastery and charity organisation in Taiwan. Founded in 1967 by Hsing Yun, the order promotes Humanistic Buddhism and is known for its efforts in the modernisation of Chinese Buddhism. The objectives of the Fo Guang Shan are:
To promote Buddhist teachings through cultural activities.
To foster talent through education.
To benefit society through charitable programs.
To purify human hearts and minds through Buddhist practice.
The temple is located in Amsterdam’s Chinatown neighbourhood on the Zeedijk (numbers 108 to 116). The Chinatown area is well known for the Nieuwmarkt, Waag building, and variety of unique shops and Asian restaurants. The temple is in the place where a cell sister monastery was established in the Middle Ages. The last remnants of this monastery, Zeedijk 108-112, were demolished in 1944 . In 1994 the Amsterdam City Council decided to build a Buddhist temple at this location. Construction began several years later with a groundbreaking ceremony and on September 15, 2000, the Temple was officially opened by Princess Beatrix (the then Queen of the Netherlands).
The Temple is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 12.00 -17.00 and on Sundays from 10.00 - 17.00.
They're closed on Mondays and the 1st of January.
Guided tours for individuals or small groups are given on Saturdays at 14:00, 15:00 and 16:00 hour which lasts for approximately 30 minutes, no appointment needed.
For groups of 10 or more a pre-arranged guided tour is required and can be given only during the opening hours of the temple.
The two kinds of tours are:
Introduction to Buddhism and explanation on the symbols in the temple.
45 minutes/1 hour
Price: €5,00, student: € 2,50
Tour A + meditation session (meditation is approximately 15 minutes)
Price: €8,00, student: € 5,50
For more information, please visit their official website.
The Fo Guang Shan He Hua Buddhist Temple is definitely worth a visit. Have fun discovering it on your next visit to Amsterdam.