Germany

The German ability to conduct business is legendary, and not without good reason. Germany and its inhabitants are the personification of practicality, discipline, and punctuality, and arguably, the second god after Christ for the Germans is the Great Order. Even those who are distantly removed from German language and culture have probably, at least once in their lives, heard one of the two most famous expressions: “Ordnung muss sein!” (order must be) or  “Ordnung ueber alles!” (order above all). Germans managed to rein in medieval Catholicism with its indulgences, and won the right to completely free salvation of the soul. With those savings - relative, of course, to the degree of both one’s sinfulness and one’s thrift - it might be possible to buy a foundry and a castle in the bargain. In modern times, this nation has grown ever closer to socialism, in ways Karl Marx himself could only dream of, and at the same time has brought order to public highways and private gardens alike. So why not to submit to the Great Order the last lines of life?

Perhaps because of this German tendency toward pedantry and the desire to organize everything, a funeral museum appeared in Kassel. This particular museum boasts a large library devoted entirely to the topic of death. It’s not hard, incidentally, to get inside the library. As a matter of fact, it’s not even necessary to go on a long journey to investigate the library stacks - they’re all right here on the internet. However, the museum itself is only part of the AFD-scaled project for the conservation and study of burial culture created in 1951.

Today, Germany can easily be called the most advanced European country in the funeral business. Every year, the demand for individually planned funerals grows, complete with requests for exclusively designed coffins, grave decorations, and funeral music. In the last moments, instead of the traditional hymns from the chapel, today it is possible to hear modern classics like “Time to Say Goodbye” from Andrea Botticelli, or even Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”. And for the choice of final resting place, a variety of burial places are on offer: the cemetery as a garden with blooming roses and paved paths, rustic forest interment, or even the necropolis-stadium for football fans.

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