Crematorium and cemetery permit and requirements

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Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Do you run a funeral home in the Netherlands and do you want to start using a new cemetery, crematorium, or garden of remembrance? You need a permit from the municipal authority. The municipal authority decides where a funeral facility can be built.

Requirements for cemeteries

Do you want to open a cemetery? You must apply for an All-in-one Permit for Physical Aspects to your municipal authority. The costs for a permit may differ depending on the municipality. The municipality may decide the soil is not suitable and may provide guidelines to make the soil suitable. Check with your municipal authority (in Dutch) for any other requirements.

You must report to the municipal authorities if you want to close your cemetery. A cemetery may close only if there have been no burials for at least 10 years. And must remain untouched for 20 years after closing.

Requirements for crematoria and scattering areas

Do you want to open a crematorium with or without a scattering area? You must comply with certain soil requirements (in Dutch) and air requirements (in Dutch), such as:

  • your crematorium must have an afterburner chamber and a mercury filter
  • you may not incinerate lead or zinc lined coffins and you must remove plastic or metal ornaments
  • you must see to a proper and full incineration process
  • you must prevent emissions of certain gases, such as nitrous oxides and mercury
  • you must have at least 2 scattering areas and rotate these areas every 10 years

You must also have your incinerator checked by a specialist within 6 months of first use, and each year thereafter. You must keep a record of the findings

Cemetery and crematorium registers

Cemeteries in the Netherlands must keep registers with information on:

  • the identity and precise burial location of the deceased persons buried at the cemetery
  • the cremation urns placed at your cemetery

When you close your crematorium or cemetery, you hand the register over to the municipality.

Requirements for animal crematoria

Do you operate a crematorium for pets or horses in the Netherlands? You must apply for recognition to the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel en Warenautoriteit, NVWA, in Dutch). If you want to cremate animals from other EU countries, you must request permission (in Dutch). Recognised animal crematoria are listed with the code 'INCP' on the NVWA website (in Dutch).

Animal crematoria in the Netherlands must meet the same soil requirements as regular crematoria. And they must have an incineration installation that meets the minimum incineration conditions.

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