Churchyards become Lawns in Sweden as Tombstones are typically Removed after 25 Years

UPDATE: The article apparently was later moved to:

Newsletter reader Annelie Jonsson (in Sweden) sent a link to an interesting article in a Swedish news web site. It seems that Swedish the tombstones don’t remain in place forever. In most cases, a Swedish tombstone remains in place for 25 years after being installed. After that, the owner of the cemetery plot can pay extra to extend the time but a lot of Swedes don’t do that any more. The online article explains the practice.

You can read Cemeteries are emptied when many abandon tombstones as published in Swedish at UPDATE: The article apparently was later moved to:

Google Translate does convert the article into readable English. However, there may be a few minor translation errors which can easily be ignored.


The article does not appear on the newsfeed – maybe somewhere else?


    —> The article does not appear on the newsfeed

    You are right. (sigh) The article was available at that address about three hours ago when I posted the article here. However, like many other newspaper web sites, articles often get deleted or moved within a day or two or three after publishing. Many newspapers always want the current articles displayed on the home page(s) but older articles are deleted, moved to other addresses, or simply moved behind paywalls that require payment to access.

    Does anyone else know of a current address for this article?


This is usual cemetery policy in Germany, Norway and probably other European countries as well. I remember being disappointed when visiting Germany for the first time as a young man.

This might be the same article. It’s a bit confusing to read. Do the bodies stay in the ground, or what happens to them? It’s not clear to me.
Thank goodness Swedish church records are accessible (I’ve found my family’s records on Ancestry). Here in the U.S., sometimes all you have is a cemetery record.


Steven W Leypoldt May 2, 2019 at 5:15 am

That was a waste of time!


Why waste the the money on a stone that will only be around for 25 years? Leave it to charity instead.


You can add Switzerland to the list also. My brother and his wife went to Switzerland several years ago and were going to be in one of our ancestral towns. He asked me if he could do anything for me genealogy wise and I asked him to get pictures of the ancestral tombstones. When he went to the cemetery the oldest stone was from the 20th century. He asked the sexton about it and the sexton told him that 25 years was the norm. I’m not sure what happens to the bodies.


Father Wilson Cemetery in Taunton, MA had all their stones removed in the 50’s because people were using this cemetery as a dump. Now all there is left is a huge marker in the center of this cemetery. All records of where your loved ones were buried are gone. Shameful!


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