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A history of burial:17th till 20th century
In the 17th century invitational letters for the funeral became bigger with
praise for the deceased.
Many cities had restrictions for the size and materials of the gravestones.
But space was still limited in the churchs and graves were cleared quickly.
The gravestones were used for roads,buildingmaterials or disappeared totally.
A way to use less space were mourningsigns.These were carried at the funeral and
then hung in the church.
For people who needed more than gravestones and mourningsigns,tombs were the thing.
The deceased was depicted with latin texts,coats of armour and symbols of death.
Burials were normally done by neighbours or friends,also guilds took care of this.
When some of the guilds were under threat of being abolished companies took over
their job.Undertaker's men went to the houses to announce a death.
For people in the 18th century dead was the end.They were less close to the death
and didn't knew much about the meaning of the customs.
In the second half of the 18th century the first cemeteries outside the cities were
founded.In the Netherlands the French forbid churchburials in 1795,but in
1813 when they were gone it was permitted again.In 1825 king William I forbade
it again,but many towns objected to this and continued to bury in churches.
After 1825 cities slowly started to make plans for cemeteries.They were laid out
as gardens and parks.There were different sections according to ones faith and class.
A couple of years after the French revolution a plan was made for cremations
inside a pyramid shaped building.In 1822 the English poet Lord Byron cremated
his friend Percy B. Shelley who drowned on a boattrip in Italy.
In Milan 1873 the first Italian crematorium was built and cremation was legal.
In the Netherlands it took much longer.The first Dutchman was cremated 1903
and in 1914 the first crematorium was finished.But it took 41 years more
to make it legal.
Dying in the 20th century was much different than a 100 or 200 years ago.
Most people die in hospitals,homes or hospices away from family and friends.
The moment of death is usually announced by phone.Then morticians take care
of the rest and the last time you see your family or friend is laid out in a coffin.
That is,if the relatives let you take a look at the deceased at all.
Death is distant,far away in a hospital or home,although there are some trends
going to keep the dying closer to home.
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