(Click to enlarge/Anklicken, um zu vergrößern)
People who get cremated in Germany have to have their ashes buried in an urn. (Does this mean there is a small hole that people throw small flowers into?)
There are local bye-laws too: in some places, tombstones of polished granite are forbidden because the mourners might see their reflections on the stone.
At the site www.postmortal.de there are various attempts to get round this, for example via the Netherlands or Switzerland.
(They use the word Kremierung apparently archaic except in Switzerland – instead of Kremation.
One way is via Slangenburg in the Netherlands. Apparently you can have a civilized ceremony in a Netherlands cemetery. I think you can have the ashes scattered too, if you dont want to smuggle them back into Germany (apparently frequently done).
The crematorium isnt as elegant as the grave of Georg Kißkalt, the architect for whom the house I live in was built (see photo above).
The Guardian recently had an article on Berliners using a Czech funeral firm.
bq. Fed up with paying too much and waiting too long to bury or cremate their loved ones, Germans are taking advantage of a new funeral service – in the Czech republic.
The cross-border business has been flourishing because Berliners have grown weary of waiting up to three weeks to pay their last respects and being befuddled with the paperwork.
Instead, they have turned to an enterprising undertaker, Harmut Woite, who has bought a new crematorium in Vysocanske, 43 miles inside the Czech border.
In Berlin it would cost on average 5,000 for a standard funeral service, six times more expensive than a funeral across the border.
Incidentally, in August 2003 Germany first introduced apprenticeships for undertakers. There are some articles about the first trainees, for instance in the Stuttgarter Zeitung online.