Smalltown Stupidity

The tiny community of Roerdalen, the Netherlands, has on it’s grounds a National Park, in the middle of which a National Monument is situated: the Meinweg park with the St. Ludwig college. The building from 1909 is classed as “a Dutch main monument of great cultural-historical value” and yet it has been partially demolished by it’s current owners, the MERU – Maharishi European Research University – a “Vedic University” founded by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of Beatles fame, who came to Roerdalen in 1990. The building is not in accordance to Vedic law, which dictates use of natural materials and orientation of the entrance to the East.

MERU has torn down part of the facade of the main building in 2001, after which they were ordered to halt and forced to conserve the debris to facilitate eventual reconstruction – but it took the state to intervene since the community never wanted to. Roerdalen clearly hoped that the “Vedic University” would draw crowds and bring in lots of money. They did nothing when MERU decided to get rid of the rubble anyway. They did nothing when MERU decided to completely change the grounds surrounding St. Ludwig. They would love to see the whole National Monument disappear.

And now MERU is set to move out of Holland altogether. The Maharishi has died earlier this year and they feel there is ‘not enough cooperation’ from the Dutch authorities. Gee whiz – when just about everything you do is illegal, what the hell do you expect? In the end, Roerdalen is left with no self-proclaimed “Vedic University” and no National Monument worth looking at anymore. What rests, I hope, is an inquest into the reasons why the town didn’t want to intervene – and with Deep Throat I advise any commission of inquiry to just follow the money. That’s what you learn when you live in Italy.

St. Ludwig - clearly visible are the alterations to the grounds on the basis of "Vedic" laws, oriented east-west. (Google Maps)

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3 Responses to Smalltown Stupidity

  1. Sante says:

    I visited Sankt Ludwig several times. Most times it struck me that it was hardly in good repair before the Maharishi people, in between hopping sessions, started to demolish the former monastery. I think, hadn´t the TM´ers bought and used it, today it wouldn´t exist anyhow, perhaps only as a ruin. Good riddance, as it was in a style devised and loved by the harsh Catholics of the first half of last century, mostly Germans at that. A monument of bad taste. And one of the very many lookalikes one finds in the Netherlands, hopelessly big and empty and useless. Even conversion into appartments hasn´t helped. Not many snobs can be found who like to say: ´I have an appartment in that incredible kitsch building.´

    But all that of course won’t keep me from blessing the followers of the Maharishi, hopping away into oblivion. Speaking of good riddance.

  2. RvK/LC says:

    Well perhaps it was a butt-ugly building and yes, I can think of a few more turn-of-the-century Catholic buildings down there in Limburg, which all look the same. Rolduc comes to mind, and several monasteries around Maasticht like the one of the Brothers(!) of the Immaculate Conception along the main road to Riemst (B).
    But that doesn’t give either the village or these TM clowns any right at all to destroy it. And I really do wonder who got bribed here – you know as well as I do that the province of Limburg is the closest thing to Italy that we have in Holland.
    Catholic culture at it’s best…

  3. Sante says:

    I can only say: hear hear.

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