Norwegians finally consider mausoleums

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Population growth and a looming shortage of cemetery space have left Norwegians finally considering a funeral and burial option that’s widespread in many other parts of the world: Mausoleums to house the urns containing ashes of the deceased.

They’ve been common in Europe, Asia and the US for years, but Norwegian traditions and even the law call for burial of not just coffins in the ground, but urns as well. Current law specifies that urns must be buried with earth on all sides so that they will decompose and become earth themselves.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported recently on how an architecture student has designed a mausoleum that would comply with Norwegian law, by filtering air and humidity into mausoleum niches that would lead to their decomposition within 20 years. It nonetheless remains unclear whether mausoleum plans will be accepted because they defy Norwegian tradition.

“Some will be against this while others will seize the opportunity,” Inghild Hareide Hansen of a church council in Bergen. “But I think this will be an alternative in the future.”

Views and News staff