When someone dies in the Netherlands, they are either buried or cremated. More and more Dutch people are choosing cremation, but what exactly is cremation?

How cremation works

In the Netherlands, a cremation or burial must take place, at the very latest, on the sixth working day after the person dies. Cremation usually takes place directly after the funeral. A kind of blowtorch is used to set the coffin alight. The fire has to reach a temperature of 1200 degrees in order to incinerate the body. It takes one and a half hours to incinerate a body. The family are allowed to be present when the coffin is placed in the furnace.

Collecting the ashes
The ashes are removed after the cremation. Precious metals are removed from the ashes, and are sold. The proceeds go to charity.

Stone with a number
In order to be sure that the correct ashes are returned to the bereaved, a stone with a number on it is placed in the furnace with the body. The stone is recovered along with the ashes. The relatives may collect the ashes four weeks later.

How much ash is left after a cremation?
Two to three kilos. That often surprises the relatives. Many people think there won't be much more than a cup full.

What are you allowed to do with the ashes?
You can choose to put them in an urn, which is a kind of jar. You can keep the urn at home, or bury or place it in your garden. If you want to spread the ashes somewhere else, maybe in a favorite place, you can't just do that. If the deceased liked to walk in a particular wood, or fish in a certain spot, then you'll need to get permission first from Staatsbosheer (they control woodlands) or Rijkswaterstaat (they're responsible for waterways).

How much does a cremation cost?

A cremation can easily cost between € 6,500 and € 9,000. The amount depends on your personal wishes. Cremation is usually cheaper than a burial.

 Watch the 'Dead Normal' program about cremation: