• World Harmony Run

    World's Largest Torch Relay
    World Harmony Run

  • 1,000,000 Participants

    Across 6 Continents
    1,000,000 Participants

  • Dreaming of a more harmonious world

    100 countries
    Dreaming of Harmony

  • Schools And Kids

    Make a Wish for Peace
    Schools And Kids

  • Sri Chinmoy: World Harmony Run Founder

    World Harmony Run Founder
    Sri Chinmoy

  • Carl Lewis: World Harmony Run Spokesman

    World Harmony Run Spokesman
    Carl Lewis

  • New York, USA

    New York

  • London, Great Britain

    Great Britain

  • Shakhovskaya, Russia


  • Around Australia

    15,000 kms, 100 days
    Around Australia

  • Around Ireland

    14 Days, 1500km
    Around Ireland

  • Wanaka, New Zealand

    New Zealand

  • Arjang, Norway


  • Rekjavik, Iceland


  • Beijing, China


  • Prague, Czech Republic

    Czech Republic

  • Belgrade, Serbia


  • Lake Biwa, Japan

    Lake Biwa

  • Kapsait, Ethiopia


  • Pangkor Island, Malaysia

    Pangkor Island

  • Bali, Indonesia


  • The All Blacks, New Zealand

    The All Blacks
    New Zealand

Netherlands 9 October: Amsterdam

‘Parting is such sweet sorrow’ William Shakespeare wrote 400 years ago. Today we had a bite of that bittersweet sensation as the World Harmony Run Europe finished its long journey in Amsterdam. 27,000 kilometers ran, 50 countries visited, thousands of hands and hearts united in hope and promise, we look back on an inspiring and successful Run.

We started the day in Amsterdam at the Schreuderschool, an elementary school located at the border of the Museumplein, the famous square in Amsterdam which houses both the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum. It is also the location where our final ceremony takes place today.

The children were brimming with enthusiasm and gloriously passed all our tests to become members of our team: chanting the motto together (‘harmony begins with me’), running with the torch and making a wish for world-harmony.

We all waved ‘tot ziens’ (Dutch for ‘see you later’) to them, for they would be our guests at the final ceremony this afternoon.

We went running towards the second school, while a local television station filmed us running. We met with local students and passed the torch around.

The meetings of the morning were a little warm-up for the final ceremony which started at 2 p.m. The final ceremony is our way of saying goodbye (or rather: ‘tot ziens’) and bowing out in style. We always like to end our Run with a ceremony involving music, singing, poetry and inspiring speeches, which tries to culminate all the experiences of the year in one single event and tries to capture the essence of what the Run is all about, which is connecting people in the spirit of harmony, friendship and goodwill. For this is what was part of Sri Chinmoy’s vision when he founded the Run back in 1987. This being the 20th edition, we wanted to make it something special.

At 2:10 p.m. a large group of children filled the seats and benches which were set up for them, their teachers following suit. The ceremony was about to begin.

And begin it did! A short, dynamic and powerful performance from the percussion group Mokumfoli put everyone straight in their seats. Mokumfoli is a group of Dutch musicians with their ‘drumroots’ firmly planted in African soil. They play on different African instruments like the djembe and the doundoun. ‘Foli’ is African for rhythm and ‘Mokum’ is a slang term for Amsterdam, so Mokumfoli means the rhythm of Amsterdam.

I had the honour of being the Master of Ceremonies for today and after Mokumfoli stopped playing I gave a short speech to welcome the guests and talked briefly about the mission of the World Harmony Run. I introduced the singers of Angels, an award-winning Dutch vocal ensemble singing songs from all over the world. Angels started their performance with a haunting song from Croatia, followed by one from Macedonia. They sang three songs altogether spread out over the ceremony. Their voices blended so harmoniously and beautifully, we couldn’t have wished for a better choir.

Then Mokumfoli was back on stage to please the crowd once more with energetic and uplifting rhythms from Africa. This time they performed for 7 minutes and almost had the audience dancing in their seats!

Next on stage was Richard Bottram, a runner on a mission as well. Richard had the idea to run a marathon every day of the year to raise awareness and finances for cancer research, as he lost his wife a year earlier because of cancer. From July 2006 until July 2007 Richard manifested his vision and covered a distance of 15,000 kilometres, running through 14 European countries. As Harmony Runners we know which amount of training, planning and organizing goes into a feat like that and we were very fortunate and grateful that Richard Bottram wanted to be a part of this ceremony. He was invited as guest runner, to carry the World Harmony Torch into the final ceremony. So after addressing the audience, he went down to meet the runners halfway.

From afar a small, concentrated group of runners could be seen moving slowly towards the direction of the stage, carrying lots of different flags. The runners had arrived. Right at that moment, as if it was planned (which I’m sure it was!), the sun broke through the thick layer of clouds and illuminated the entire area. The children were up on their benches cheering and applauding as the runners came closer and closer and finally entered the stage area and ran through the audience and up on the stage. The enthusiasm and cheerfulness of the children percolated through all the runners. One runner later told me he considered that the highlight of the ceremony. Richard led the way with the torch and on stage lighted a beacon of friendship, like an Olympic flame, symbolizing the connection of all peoples and nations in the joint aspiration for global harmony.

Again cheers of delight broke loose from the audience.

Salil Wilson, the global coordinator of the Run, then spoke briefly and urged the children present to live their life to the fullest and make their dreams come true.

Once the beacon was lit the program continued. Children from the Schreuderschool had made poems on harmony and friendship. Three of them were chosen to be recited during the ceremony by the poets themselves, who were named Rosanne, John and Natasja. Their poems were heart-warming and refreshing creations of beauty and simplicity which immediately put a smile on everybody’s face.

Julika Marijn, an actress and television presenter from Amsterdam, read out a soul-stirring poem from Roger McGough, a contemporary English poet who composed a poem for the World Harmony Run last year. Julika read both the English version and the Dutch translation. Her rendering was both soulful and powerful, augmented by her beautiful voice, which is one of her trademarks.

Geert Kimpen was our next speaker. Both writer and director he has a feel for the dramatic and his speech silenced the audience from the very first syllable. Geert spoke about a young boy who once shook the hand of President Kennedy and from that day on was determined to become president himself. He used both his imagination and determination and acted as if he already was president. Later on in his life he would become president. His name was Bill Clinton. Like that, Geert said, we are all empty pieces of paper on which we ourselves can write the story of our life. In just a few minutes he succeeded in supplying everyone with hope and inspiration.

Near the end of the ceremony the Angels led the crowd into singing the World Harmony Run Song , of which they had made a beautiful arrangement. Children flooded the stage and sang along. The runners joined as well. It was a tumultuous, slightly chaotic, but very joyful end to a beautiful program.

When the song was sung, all the guests joined together on stage for a final group photograph.

A white sheet of paper with many colorful handprints was brought on stage as well. All those who had performed in the ceremony had put their hands in paint and made a print on the paper, symbolizing the many hands that need to work together to establish world-harmony. “Harmony begins with me” it said at the top.

I was involved in organizing today’s event, which meant I was to be found more behind the scenes than on it while the Run was proceeding through Holland, my country of birth. It was a different experience for me, for usually I’m always running along, but it gave me tremendous joy to see so many different people together enjoying the positive spirit of harmony which seems to emanate from the World Harmony Run.

I am also very grateful to the people who have made this event possible and especially would like to mention Ad de Regt from Mindfulness coaching and training. We are all volunteers and usually have to work with tight budgets. His generous donation took a lot of pressure from our shoulders.

We were also glad to have with us today three World Harmony Run organizers: Dipavajan Renner - European coordinator, Salil Wilson - global coordinator and Ondrej Vesely - European team captain.

Finally I would like to express my gratitude to Sri Chinmoy , whose tireless inspiration and broad vision have given birth to so many beautiful projects and initiatives for world-harmony, of which the World Harmony Run is one example. This being the 20th anniversary of the Run I would like to acknowledge his stupendous work in various fields in bringing people together for progress and positive change.

May the dream and the hope of world-harmony continue to give inspiration to people all over the world to work for harmony in their own lives and make this world a little better.

Hidde Tangerman

See you next year when the European run starts March 27 in Rome and finishes October 7 in Prague. Here you can already see the UNOFFICIAL map of European World Harmony Run 2008.

Team Members:
Salil Wilson (Australia), Dipavajan Renner, Edi Brodtrager (Austria), Ondrej Vesely, Rosta Vagner, Michaela Pokorma (Czech Republic), Balavan Thomas (England), Rabinath de Lange, Pradeep Hoogakker, Roos de Waart, Peter Zuidema (Netherlands), Ieva Kurzemniece (Latvia), Akos Laczko (Hungary), Aleksej Egorov (Russian Fed.)

You can send a message to the runners or read the messages.

< Netherlands 8 October
Austria/Slovenia 18 November >