Having introduced the landscape and organisation of the Rhijnhof crematorium and cemetery, I want now to move onto the memorials I encountered.
Again, there were many forms of gravestone and ornamentation that were familiar to me from British cemeteries: stones of a wide range of colours and shapes. Yet I was struck but a range of dimensions to contemporary Dutch mortuary commemorative practices were unusual to me. These are represented in (most anonymised by pixellation) images of a small selection of the graves I encountered.
- I’ve seen it elsewhere in Europe, but not really in the 20th/21st-century UK: the use of ‘family grave’ as a memorial inscription;
- I was really struck by the circular arrangement of gently leaning recumbent graveslabs to the immediate west of the crematorium buildings.
- As discussed for Groningen, I was surprised by the regularity (although still rare in overall numbers), use of opaque and transparent glass as a memorial medium;
- I also liked the ‘miniature’ traditional graves afforded to some of the cremation graves.
- In terms of grave ornamentation: I saw flowers and garden ornaments, but for the first time I witnessed walking poles in a cemetery context.
In subsequent posts, I’ll explore some of the most distinctive cremation-related memorials at Rhijnhof.