Organising a funeral

Every Church member has the right to a church funeral. Non-members may have a church funeral if requested by their family, as long as this does not conflict with the wishes of the deceased. In exceptional cases, and with the agreement of the vicar, clergy from other traditions may conduct the service if the deceased has clearly expressed his or her wishes in this respect.

After a death, a doctor must write a death certificate, notify the Population Register, and issue a burial permit to the next of kin.

Once the family has received the burial permit, they should contact the parish or cemetery office to discuss the time and place of the funeral and the choice of pastor and cantor. The service is usually conducted by a pastor of the deceased’s home parish, but the relatives may also ask a pastor from another parish to officiate. Practical arrangements and details of the service are agreed upon with the officiant, and music is chosen together with the cantor.

Everyone has the right to be buried in the parish cemetery of their municipality, regardless of church affiliation. A burial plot – whether for a coffin or an urn – is obtained through the parish or cemetery office. Generally, the choice of coffin, the clothes to be worn by the deceased and the provision of a hearse are to be discussed with the funeral director. Some churches can provide a pall for the coffin.

The funeral director – who is not associated with the parish – looks after the expenses and other arrangements in accordance with the family’s wishes. You can also ask for help with arrangements from your local parish. Assistance with funeral expenses can be sought from the social services of the deceased’s municipality.

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