Hinduism is globally the third largest religion in the world, with one billion Hindus mostly concentrated in South Asia. The increasing financial, political, and cultural relations between Europe and India, one of the Asian financial and political giants, makes the study of Hindus and Hinduism in Europe highly relevant.

The European encounter with the religious traditions that today are identified as Hindu goes back to antiquity. In order to systematically explore the dynamics of this encounter, the papers of the conference are divided in two parts.

Part I is thematic and explores the history and presence of Hinduism and transnational themes. It addresses subjects such as the development of Indology in Germany, the impact of Hindu texts among the great European intellectual traditions, as well as Hindu migration history after World War II. Important thematic areas are the gradual spread of Hinduism through the establishment of Hindu temples, Hindu gurus, Ayurveda, Yoga, Hindu education and schools, regional minorities such as the Sri Lankan Tamil, the growth of Hindu international movements such as Swaminarayan Hinduism and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), as well as the increasing public presence of Hinduism in Europe.

Part II includes presentations on the history and development of the multitude of Hindu traditions in different countries of Europe and their present state. The presentations have a diachronic and synchronic dimension. Presentations may provide for each nation brief histories of the first contacts with Hinduism, personalities and intellectual traditions that were impacted and influenced by Hindu ideas such as monism, Hindu texts that had a significant impact such as the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, the influence on European literature and culture of Hindu personalities such as Gandhi and various teachers of Indian philosophy and yoga. The synchronic perspective may analyse the predominant traditions of Hinduism, migration and conversion histories, Hindu institutions, the teaching of Yoga, Hindu Ashrams and other Hindu schools.

Hinduism in Europe is represented by communities and individuals segmented according to ethnic, linguistic, and cultural borders. It is visible through temples and shrines, newly established guru movements, and the widespread practice of yoga. Umbrella organizations such as the recently founded Hindu Forum in Europe have been created for the purpose of cooperation and representation, and for promoting Hindu identity among diaspora communities across the European Union and the rest of Europe. Such a variety of expressions requires a systematic study, which may also help to better understand the challenges that Hindus in Europe face as a religious minority. One challenge, for example, is the transmission by the Hindu diaspora of inherited religious traditions to the next generation. Another is political representation, which is weak among Hindus in many European countries, and the challenge faced by many Hindus concerning their acceptance as integral members of the democratic, and increasingly pluralistic societies of Europe.