Amsterdam’s AMC hospital to have its own ‘body farm’

Teaching hospital AMC in Amsterdam has been given permission to study the decomposition of bodies buried in a small cemetery in its own grounds, writes.

The research, carried out in cooperation with the University of Amsterdam, the University of Maastricht and the national police special investigation team, is in aid of forensic science and will help police solve serious crimes, the AMC said.

The concept is similar to the ‘body farms’ in the United States, except that the bodies at the AMC site will be buried in shallow graves instead of left in a variety of different circumstances.

The cemetery, the first of its kind in the Netherlands, has room for a few dozen bodies. The remains used will be those of people who have left their bodies to science.

‘We will be burying the first body in about six months’ time,’ anatomy professor Roelof Jan Oostra told

The bodies will be put into the ground at a depth of one meter or less along with measuring equipment to monitor decomposition. A greater understanding of the process may help police answer questions about time of death and the circumstances surrounding the death, Oostra explained.

The cemetery will be situated in a corner of the AMC grounds and protected by a three meter high fence.

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