Ritual Indifference: Cremation Rituals in the Netherlands in the late 1960s–1980s

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientific


The indifference regarding cremation rituals in the 1960s–1980s is the topic of this chapter. In the first part of this chapter, I describe the building and design of crematoria in these decades, because this gives insight into the context in which the ritual took place. Keywords in the architectural design of crematoria were: efficiency, routing, logistics. Second, I explore the opinions about the cremation ritual by diachronically reading three magazines related to cremation and crematoria in the Netherlands: Crematienieuws (1963–1983), Journaal van de Vereniging voor Crematie AVVL (1973–1981), Ooit: uitgave van de Koninklijke Vereniging voor Facultatieve Crematie (1984–2012). Besides these magazines, I make use of newspapers and some reports on cremation rituals related to the period 1960–1980. Third, I link the way cremation rituals took place in this period to views on dying, death and afterlife. Leading question in this last part of this chapter is: What was the reason for the impersonal and clinical design of the cremation ritual? Was it indifference regarding rituals, an expression of the so-called ‘denial of death’ or a sign of embarrassment regarding death and death rituals in a period in which the monopoly of churches on death rituals was vanishing?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbsent Ritual. Exploring the ambivalence and dynamics of ritual
EditorsPaul Post, Martin Hoondert
Place of PublicationDurham
PublisherCarolina Academic Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781531013646
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameRitual Studies Monograph Series


  • Ritual
  • Cremation


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