Accessibility navigation

The ambiguity of human ashes: exploring encounters with cremated remains in the Netherlands

Mathijssen, B. (2017) The ambiguity of human ashes: exploring encounters with cremated remains in the Netherlands. Death Studies, 41 (1). pp. 34-41. ISSN 1091-7683

Text (Open access) - Published Version
· Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/07481187.2016.1257882


This article explores cremation and disposal practices in the Netherlands, focusing on the attitudes and experiences of bereaved Dutch people in relation to cremated remains. In academic and professional narratives, human ashes are commonly described as “important,” as “sacred,” and as a vehicle to continue intense and physical relationships with the dead. Based on quantitative and qualitative data this article illustrates the ambiguity of such relationships. It highlights the diverse experiences, unexpected challenges, and moral obligations that can be evoked by the deceased’s ashes, where the latter are seen as embedded in material practices and entangled in social relationships.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:74032
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation