Swiss cemetery plots are not forever. High fees and time limits ensure regular plot turnover. With rising numbers of cremations some cemeteries are emptying, reported RTS.
A single burial plot in a cemetery in Lausanne can only taken out for up to 30 years with the possibility of renewal for a further maximum of 30 years. Given the high costs, which could run beyond CHF 10,000 with renewal, and the falling popularity of burial, some cemeteries are emptying.
In the city of Fribourg where the popularity of cremation has vastly overtaken that of burials, the city is studying the possibility of turning part of one of its cemeteries (St-Léonard) into a park. Some parts of the burial ground have already been converted into flower meadows. However, part of it may be converted to park. Although it is important these areas do not become places used for sport and recreation, said one person looking at the changes.
An educational trail of famous burial plots is another idea. In the canton of Fribourg 180 burial sites have been preserved for historical reasons.
One funeral operator in Fribourg said that in 1980 25% chose cremation and 75% burial. Today, 90% are opting for cremation.
The problem of how to use disused cemeteries is less problematic in small towns where it can be easily returned to its original state. In cities cemeteries are often surrounded by built up areas.
Another change has been the near loss of a profession. Many makers of headstones have gone out of business.
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Ruth Ellen Gruber says
Fascinating. Does this also apply to Jewish cemeteries? In Judaism, cemeteries are sacred places and graves are “forever” — bodies must not be disturbed, and the interred cannot be moved except under certain circumstances.