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Crematorium and cemetery permit and requirements

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

If you run a funeral home in the Netherlands and want to start using a new cemetery, crematorium or garden of remembrance, you need a permit from the municipality. They determine where to build these facilities.

Crematorium and Garden of Remembrance requirements

Owners of crematoria with a Garden of Remembrance in the Netherlands must comply with regulations about soilExternal link and air qualityExternal link (both in Dutch), in particular with standards for flue gases and requirements for incineration installations. Your crematorium must have an afterburner chamber and mercury filter.

In addition, these soil and air requirements apply. For instance:

  • You cannot 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 maintain the incinerator and have it tested periodically.
  • You must prevent emissions of several gases, such as nitrous oxides and mercury.
  • You must rotate your garden of remembrance to protect the soil.

Cemetery and crematorium registers

If you manage a cemetery in the Netherlands, you must keep a register that lists the names and precise burial location of the deceased persons buried at the cemetery. You must also keep a register of cremation urns placed at your cemetery.

If you manage a crematorium, you must keep a register of cremated mortal remains and the destination of the ashes. These registers are public.

Animal crematoria

There are 2 types of animal crematorium :

  • Animal crematoria with a limited incineration capacity (up to 50kg per hour), where you are only allowed to cremate pet animals.
  • Animal crematoria with a high incineration capacity (more than 50kg per hour), where you are only allowed to cremate horses as well as pet animals.

Animal crematoria must meet strict (environmental) requirements. An animal crematorium must, for example, have an incineration installation that complies with the minimum incineration conditions. When scattering ashes at an animal crematorium, you have to observe the same soil requirementsExternal link (in Dutch) that apply to scattering fields for human ashes. Since the amount of ashes is usually smaller for animals than for humans, you can recalculate the amounts.

Recognition for animal crematoria

If you operate a crematorium for pets or horses you must have recognition. You can apply for recognitionExternal link (in Dutch) to the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel en Warenautoriteit, NVWA). If you want to cremate animals from another EU country you must request permissionExternal link (in Dutch). Recognised animal crematoria are listed with code INCP on NVWA’s websiteExternal link (pdf).

This article is related to:

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO