Burial sites in all cultures speak loudly of the prevailing values and beliefs of the societies that design them. Germany’s cemetery culture is unique. But it is currently changing. Many Germans are no longer choosing the time-honored cemetery for their final resting place; more and more people are seeking alternatives to the traditional family grave.
Many Germans are no longer willing to pay for the upkeep of a family grave. This has led to a marked increase in the number of urn-burials. But it’s not the only evidence of a shift in Germany’s burial customs. New concepts, such as the memorial park in preference to an individual grave, are gaining ground. In this report we take a look at old and new burial customs in Germany. We also examine the differences between Christian and Jewish graves. We ask what Muslims consider important in their burial customs. And we visit war graves and a forest cemetery to see what they have to tell us about German culture.