Organising a funeral

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

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 deceased's wishes. In exceptional cases, with the agreement of the vicar, clergy of other traditions may conduct the service, as long as the deceased has clearly expressed their wishes in this respect.

When 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 ask a pastor from another parish to officiate. Practical arrangements and details of the service are agreed with the officiant. Music is chosen in conjunction with the cantor.

Everyone has the right to be buried in the church 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 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.