death - crematory - funeral tradition

Advise around the topics of "death, funeral traditions, crematory and cremation."

We offer you an indivitual and personal consultation around the topics of death, funeral traditions, crematory and cremation, in our studio in the centre of the city. We are also happy to refere you to selected experts and organisations.

Please visit us in the studio of on Zentralstrasse 50 in Zurich or contact us:

contact: 044 301 06 00

Further links: see below

Funeral manners
In Switzerland different types of funerals are allowed and increasingly often, indivitual and personal styles of farewells are practised.

Funeral styles in an overview

Funeral with an urn:
The funeral urn is an object that has been around since the Neolithicum and hasn't changed his purpose of save keeper of the ash of the deceased after the cremation. In central Europe the habit of funerals with urns came up in the late Neolithicum (2500-2100 BC). Before the deceased were cremated and buried without an urn. In the bronze age in large parts of Europe funerals with urns becane common. The urn was and still is a part of the death and funeral cult.

There are different possibilities on how an urn can be used:

The urn in the living area, in nature, in the garden, for an urn grave, for an urn alcove in a columbarium, for a funeral, a special place, for a forest or tree grave.

If the ash has been scattered in nature, the urn can be kept back as a momento
and for example be engraved.

Virtual graveyard: Place of Memory

Funeral manners - explained brievly


The cremation by fire has been around since the beginning of the old cultures and has till today an especially high significance and long tradition. In pre-Christian times only wealthy Celts, Etruscans, Germans and later Romans could afford an incineration on the stake. In the meantimes the incineration of bodies was forbidden in the Roman Empire and only after the French Revolution the thought of cremation by fire came up again. The first European crematory was created in Milan in 1876.

The word cremation is originated in the Latin word "cremare" and means "to burn". Nowadays we only use it for the bruning of a dead body.

The place of the cremation is the place of the place of the funeral. The earliest time of cremation differes dependig on the canton. In most cantons the giefing period is 48 hours. In the canton Ticino it is 24 hours. After the cremation the ash is gathered in an urn. The content of the urn is in the most part burnt bone pieces. Some crematories process the ash into fine granulate before the filling of the ash. Relatives can pick up the urn in the crematory themselves and have the right to keep it private and place it as they please.

The burial of the urn on a graveyard is handled by the local funeral regulations. The grave is usually kept 20-25 years.

A columbarium can be an artistic or simple decorated building, which is suitable for the accomodation of the mortal remains. Columbiria are to be found for example in Greek, Italian and Roman catacombs. In Mexico and Nigaragua catacombs were found in the inner of mountains where the ashes were kept in chambers (mogotes). Modern columbaria sometimes contain thousands of urns, accordingly labeled and sunk into alcoves. A french columbarium, built in 1887 shows 25 000 alcoves, of which about 16 000 are used. Another columbarium built in 1898 in San Francisco, has been restored and has now become a tourist attraction. Even weddings are held there now.

The burial - urn grave
The coffin or an urn is placed on the ground in a graveyard. The grave rest is handled by canton and usually lasts 20-25 years.

In an existing burial grave urns can normally be entombed retroactive. The grave rest however is not extended because of that.

The exhumation of an urn which has been buried on a graveyard requires permission.

Family-urn grave
This concerns the burial of urns in the ground of a family grave. It offers space for the whole family as last resting-place. The gravestone can usually be arranged indivitually. The maintainance, as well as the cultivation of the grave happens on a written order of the relatives. About every 10 years renewel costs will be asked. For the removal of the grave the costs fall in the hands of the relatives as well. The grave is usually kept for 30 to 50 years, but can be renewed if requested.

The crypt burial
A kinf of burial that appears in Ticino, the french part of Switzerland and in monestaries. The deceased is coffied with zinc inlays and preassue filter and finds his peace in a crypt.

Catacombs are underground body vaults. However, normally the dead weren't buried there directly, but exhumilated from there graves and transfered into the catacombs. Very famous are the ones which were used by the first Christians in Rome for secret services underground.

Collective grave
The place of burial is not labeled and cannot be indivitually decorated. The collective grave is an option for everyone with the only requirement to be cremated. The grave is kept 20 years and a extention is not designated.


History of the funeral culture,
Learn more: Burial Traditions

Contact studio 044 301 06 00

Consultation: Funeral - death

Further links:

Virtual graveyard:
Unique urns: