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Growing trend


Swiss prefer cremations to burials


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Switzerland has the highest proportion of cremations in Europe, and they have tripled over the past thirty years. (RTS/swissinfo.ch)

In 1983, 30% of all deceased were incinerated. By 2013, the figure had risen to 90%.

The number of cremations is higher in cities than the countryside. Even in Catholic cantons, where it is traditional to bury the dead, people are now opting for cremations.

Swiss public television, RTS, interviewed a bereavement specialist about the phenomenon. Alix Noble-Burnand believes people prefer to be incinerated because they are turning their backs on traditional rituals, and do not like the idea of slow decay.

An elderly woman interviewed in a care home said she was afraid of being buried alive, so preferred to be cremated. Another said that she did not want to leave relatives with the burden of tending a grave. 

The trend is causing an evolution in cemeteries, with old tombstones being removed, and new spaces being created for the burial of ashes.