Mar 2, 2012

 De Nieuwe Ooster columbarium
De Nieuwe Ooster columbarium
Ger Frits from The Lonely Funeral

De Nieuwe Ooster and The Lonely Funeral
Also check out the

If your planning on dying, you might want to consider doing it in Amsterdam. Not only for the stylish cemetery you could rest in, but, if your lacking next of kin, the city will provide you with flowers, music AND write you a poem. Sounds good to me.

In 2001, the landscape/architecture firm karres and brands gave the centuries old Dutch cemetery De Nieuwe Ooster a brand new look and the result is simply beautiful. From the lilly ponds and slightly stacked grave markers to the modern columbarium, this cemetery is definitely a chic destination - if your planning to die that is. 

The Lonely Funeral
From the BBC Global Perspective Documentary Series
Listen to the full documentary here (HIGHLY recommended):

From the BBC:
Every year up to 20 people die completely alone in Amsterdam. There are no friends or family to prepare their funeral or mourn over the body. Sometimes these people are illegal migrants, drug mules, or simply people who for one reason or another, cut off all social contacts.
A civil servant and a poet come together in their shared determination that those who die alone have a respectful and personal funeral.
For 20 years Ger Frits has chosen music to play at what have become known as "lonely funerals". He puts flowers on the coffin and accompanies each person to their final resting place.

A few years ago, Amsterdam poet Frank Starik decided that these people also deserved to be eulogized, and after some reluctance Frits agreed.
City workers visit the houses of the deceased to sort out their bills and administration. They also see the loneliness. The visits have a practical purpose, but they also provide inspiration for the poems read out at the service. "The funeral is a moment of reckoning and someone needs to put in a good word for you. One of our essential qualities is a need for a story.... what the lonely funeral does is return stories to people who somehow have lost theirs along the way," says Starik.
The Lonely Funeral is the fourth in this year's Global Perspective documentary series. It was made in partnership with Radio Netherlands Worldwide radio.
Poem, by Frank Starik
Goodbye stranger
I say, goodbye
On the road to nowhere
To the final country
Where everyone is welcomed in
When nothing needn't know your origin

Farewell, Sir
Without papers, without identity
What were you looking for?
How much did you lose along the way?

Who stares through the empty window waits
Nameless men, wait
While I speak and interest my empty words
To this empty room

I am too late
You I never knew

Who heard the voice calling out for you?
To come on home
To your final haven


  1. this is really sad to me, i want to cry for all those that died alone there

  2. Me too. That was beautiful poetry.