The number of people opting for a burial in natural surroundings hit 1,500 last year compared to just 250 in 2013, the national organisation for cemetery management LOB has said.
This type of burial, in an unmarked plot that will revert to the natural landscape, still constitutes only a small percentage of all burials, LOB consultant Wim van Midwoud told the NRC.
Some 100,000 people are cremated each year, while 50,000 are buried in the conventional way, he said.
The increasing popularity of a burial in natural surroundings is partly to do with cost, Midwoud said. In the Netherlands, people lease a space in a graveyard and have to decide what to do with the remains once the lease expires, but this does not apply to a burial in nature.
The cost of a traditional grave ranges widely but can top €7,000 for a 30-year lease on a plot. The total one-off cost for a nature burial is no more than €3,000 to €5,000.
Van Midwoud also thinks people prefer the natural surroundings to the formality of a traditional cemetery and want ‘a maintenance-free’ grave. Graves in a natural plot are, by definition, not tended or maintained.
Since 2011 some 14 cemeteries situated in the wooded or park-like landscape are offering the service, the paper said.
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