The thing about cremation is that it is not the end of the journey; it would appear that people don’t consider the crematoria to be the final resting place. Why would you need a connection with where you are cremated – it is the cremation ashes and where they reside that represents us.
So a phenomenon has occurred in Germany where people are being cremated in Holland then their ashes are being transported back again. This is on the increase for a number of reasons; the Dutch don’t charge anywhere near as much as the Germans for cremation; the laws on the scattering of ash are more relaxed; and the deceased is cremated on the same day and not stored.
Something to point out here – the Germans are very practical about death – 65 year olds hopping on a coach to visit a future crematoria, brilliant you have to admire those Germans! Although this approach is perhaps not for British sensibilities I think.
The article also draws out a number of interesting points and distinctions between cultures. The three that fascinated me the most:
‘Crematorium manager Erik Heuberger is standing at the door waiting to greet the group on its arrival. The perma-tanned man with red-rimmed spectacles greets each pensioner with a firm handshake’ Interesting how he is described a cross between Christopher Biggins and David Dickinson, yet is Holland , a little eccentric perhaps nothing more.
The crematorium’s interior is bright with a multi-coloured carpet and walls adorned with paintings of water lilies and other abstract images. ‘We have nothing like this in Germany,’ says Friedrich. Half of me is thinking abstract art in a crematoria – oh dear! And the other half brightness and colour that would be a positive change.
‘Friedrich [the trip co-ordinator] organizes the transportation of the body to Holland while the pensioners can select what type of urn they want in advance. ‘This one is particularly nice,’ says Niesel during his visit to the crematorium’s urn room. ‘I could imagine myself feeling right at home in it,’ he jokes. Like surreal trip to the opticians ‘And how do these glasses suit you Sir..?..!‘. Apart from the oddness it seems as if scattering is not so common?
And on practical grounds this point was interesting -Heuberger explains that the urn has to remain in Holland for at least 30 days but after that relatives are free to do what they want with a deceased’s ashes.
If you find this interesting I would urge to read the article – http://www.monstersandcritics.com/lifestyle/life/features/article_1649688.php/Cremation-tourists-flock-to-the-Netherlands