The first time I came to know Auroville was through a close friend of my fathers, the Franciscan priest Ruud Lohman, who lived across the road from our home. Ruud visited our home almost every weekend and also used to join us on our holidays. When I was 13 years old, Ruud made an overland trip to India and kept a diary, which was published in 1970.
Ruud narrated to us his many experiences and showed us the Hatha Yoga asanas, which he had learnt. My elder brother Paul, younger sister Carla and I were much impressed. At that time, our eldest brother Toine lived in another town for his studies, and happened to discover the works of Sri Aurobindo in the library of the university. In 1972 Ruud published the diary of a second trip to India. In this book he writes about his first year of voluntary work in Auroville. It was in that same year that Toine quit his studies to join Auroville for good.
Inspired by the stories of Ruud and Toine, and seized by the wonderful works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, while at the sametime following an inner guidance, I joined Auroville in 1975. Prior to my departure, I had a lucid dream of being present in Auroville. In that ‘dream’ the construction of the city was completed and I was blissfully walking through gardens towards one of the entrances of the Matrimandir.
In 1975 I lived first in the Matrimandir Workers’ Camp, then at Fertile Windmill and later in Aurodam. In 1980 I moved to Indonesia, where I lived for twenty years. In the year 2000 I returned to Netherlands and joined Auroville International Netherlands in 2007, becoming Chairman of the Association in the same year.