Swedish crematorium under fire for “making death less taboo”


Northern Europe


Photo ANP, Piroschka van de Wouw

A Swedish crematorium organises a treasure hunt for children. This way, they can learn about death, the centre argues. But not everyone agrees.

"Whether you are young or old, you have questions about what happens to your body after death." With this opening line, the Church of Sweden in Borås invited people to an open day at the crematorium. In particular, the announced treasure hunt for children evoked reactions and caused a debate in Swedish media.

At the crematorium, the children would be able to take part in a treasure hunt for drawings of trolls hidden around the premisis. At the same time, the Christian daily from Norway, Dagen writes, they could ask the guide about death. The head of the cemetery in Borås, Stefan Bärve, tells Göteborgs-Posten that he thinks it can help make death less taboo. He points out that children often dare to ask the questions adults are afraid of.

During the tour, no cremation was planned. And the cold room, where bodies lie before they are cremated, was closed for the occasion.

However, the tour caused a media frenzy. While some spoke up to keep children away from crematoria, others think it is a good initiative that will make death less frightening for the youngest among us.


The Christian daily Vårt Land spoke with a funeral agency director in Oslo. He told the newspaper that they also have open days, but that the target group has never been children.

Nevertheless, he does not think the event in Borås is anything to startle. "I think it is more difficult with people who pretend that death does not exist. Children are not protected from death. They have both grandparents and neighbours — death happens after all. Our job is to de-mystify and not create more fear."



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