My fascination for crematoria has been around for some time. A bit of professional deformation perhaps, along with that lively fascination for cemeteries. When I saw the invitation to have an overnight stay in the local crematorium in Tilburg, I immediately signed up. Suddenly, you want something very badly that you have never considered before.
It was not the first behind-the-scenes visit to a crematorium, but it was the first time I visited while it was not in function. The parking lot was as good as empty, as were the auditoriums, and the cremators were out of order – although still warm as they don’t cool down that fast. It was also dark outside; something that is rarely the case when you go to a funeral.
It is certainly quite peculiar to prepare your bed near the cremation furnace. In the auditorium a group of people lies on airbeds around the catafalque where usually the deceased is placed. The crematorium director cozies up the room by lighting three candles, while a participant reads a bed story – about death of course – from Toon Tellegen’s ‘Maybe they knew everything’.
I was not there to sleep, I simply wanted to experience a night at the crematorium …