Contentment among the Chinese

Visit to the Chinese cemetery at Kranenburg, Zwolle (the Netherlands)

On Wednesday 3 July 2019, the HERA research team visited cemetery Kranenburg in Zwolle (the Netherlands). Since 2014, Chinese people can be buried here according to traditional Chinese customs. The cemetery is arranged according to feng shui principles, and tombstones can be as large as one wishes.

The current cemetery has space for about 230 graves. These are situated on different terraces on a hillside. In this way, all graves look out over the small pond (in which carpers will be swimming as soon as there is enough funding) and pagoda (make in China). This also ensures that no grave is situated in the shade. This way, all ancestors can enjoy the nice, warm ground around their bodies.

At the Chinese cemetery, we spoke to mr. Chan, one of the initiators of the project. With a big smile on his face, he proudly narrated how and why the cemetery became an important focal point for the Chinese community in Zwolle and other Dutch places.

According to mr. Chan, “If people want to be buried here [in Zwolle], it means they are content here.” With this, he expressed a clear indication of the relation between the preferred place of burial and one’s sense and expression of belonging. He has already reserved his spot for the future as well.

We thank mr. Chan for showing us this remarkable and inspiring site, and sharing his experiences with us.

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