Urn burial continued / Friedhofszwang wird vielleicht aufgehoben

Following my earlier entry, I now read that the obligation under German law for ashes to be buried in cemeteries may be repealed. Apparently Germany, Austria and Slovakia are the only three countries in the EU with this Friedhofszwang. (Sounds like Anwaltszwang, Krawattenzwang, Leinenzwang, Maulkorbzwang but not Waschzwang – for many more examples, search on *zwang at Leipzig University).

bq. Der Verband Deutscher Bestattungsunternehmen rechnet mit einer generellen Auf-hebung des Friedhofszwangs in Deutschland. Als Folge davon könnten die Urnen mit der Asche Verstorbener künftig bei den Angehörigen zu Hause legal auf-bewahrt werden.

I suppose this will have financial consequences for undertakers. However, they seem to have something else up their sleeve: the FriedWald (sounds like a German first name). You may have heard that Germany’s beloved forests are dying, but this wasn’t what they meant. But now I see the idea comes from Switzerland, niftily linking to the last entry.

The Goethe Institut has some English:

bq. Traditional Christian funeral rites are becoming less significant in Germany. More and more people are deciding in favour of alternative forms of funerals. Many are turning to forest burial grounds, where urns are buried at the roots of trees in the countryside.

bq. Death is not for free, it is more costly than life. Forester Fritz Mewes knows that, and so do the 46 men and women whom he is taking on a guided tour of Reinhardswald, the woodland burial ground in Northern Hesse. They march along a muddy forest track, clad in bright cagoules and walking boots. Most are somewhere between 60 and 70 years of age, but some are younger. They are all here to see whether they would like to be buried in this place.

bq. Mewes talks about money first. The starting price for a small beech is EUR 3,350. An old oak with a broad crown costs EUR 5000 or EUR 6000. You can choose between family trees, friendship trees and community trees, with the latter offering burial sites for EUR 770. Mewes says, “If you buy a tree, it belongs to you until the year 2099. You have to rebuy a tomb in the cemetery after just 20 years.”

(Via Handakte WebLAWg)

2 thoughts on “Urn burial continued / Friedhofszwang wird vielleicht aufgehoben

  1. In Austia it is relatively easy to get dispensation from the Friedhofszwang, however. I know because my maternal grandfather in law (did i just make that up?) was cremated and the urn not buried on the spot; they actually kept him araound for quite some time.

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