Brussels (B): Laken Cemetery

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On the hottest day ever in the Low Countries, we took a 2 hr drive to the Belgium capital of Brussels. Our main destination was a visit to the wonderful Tipi Bookshop, specialized in exceptional photo books, but we decided to spend the rest of the day at the Laken Cemetery. Although you’ll find some pictures of the lusciously decorated graves situated above ground, we spend most of our time in the unique (and pleasantly cool!) underground funerary galleries.

Due to population growth in the 19th century, one came up with an innovative plan to tackle the shortage of burial space. Having drawn his inspiration from cemeteries in Southern Europe, Emile Bockstael designed a multi-layered burial chamber in which several people could be buried one on top of another. While in Madrid and Genoa the burial chambers are above ground, in Laken they were constructed in an underground gallery. The first section of the gallery opened in 1878. In the following years, the gallery was further extended several times. And by 1935 it was 300 meters long, providing room for over 4000 coffins

All photos are taken by Claudia Venhorst, 25 July 2019

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