The Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Netherlands contains ICH of which the communities, groups or individuals involved have written a safeguarding plan. Those plans are reviewed by an independent review committee. Every three years an evaluation of the safeguarding takes place.


Funeral associations organise funerals with a personal atmosphere, in which the traditional noaberschap (neighbourship) still plays a significant role. The neighbourship in the local funerals resembles for the most part an insurance in kind. All members of a funeral association are, in principle, involved in a local funeral as volunteers. Members of the association participate in a part of the funeral and organisation, on demand of the bereaved, with respect for the deceased. They can carry out all kinds of tasks, like preparing the deceased, writing cards, making coffee and tea for the bereaved, carrying the coffin or notifying the church. Being the bereaved, they give the assignment for the funeral and they are closely involved in the organisation. The exposition of the body can take place at home with a local funeral, or in the funeral parlour of the association or the church. The family members do not need to do much themselves. It is often e mixture of mutual and hired assistance.



Funeral associations are mostly found in villages and in the countryside, where people sometimes have been members for their entire lives. Nardus, the branch association that has nominated the tradition of the local funeral, evolved in 2007 from a merger of two associations. Nardus wants to move with the times and supports the associations in this respect. More than 350 funeral associations are united in Nardus.



The traditional neighbourship on which a local funeral association is based, has its origin in the countryside of large parts of the Netherlands. It comes down to neighbourly help, meaning that these neighbours could really count on one another. Thus, a sort of insurance in kind. When someone died, the direct neighbours were immediately notified, if necessary in the middle of the night. The five nearest neighbours on both sides were usually neighbourship liable. The neighbours thus assumed responsibility for everything that had to be done. From personally notifying everyone of the death and the declaration to the municipality, to washing the deceased and putting the body into the coffin. The more than a hundred years old phenomenon of the local funeral, still exists. A funeral association can provide pallbearers if there are no neighbours or family members who can or want to do this and the clothing for the bearers is made available as well. Sometimes one of the directors fulfils the role of first contact. Nowadays the messenger does not need to go through the village anymore to notify the villagers of the death and announce the funeral. Mourning cards are still sent, but a lot happens through social media. Young people do not know the custom very well anymore, and are less interested. Due to this fact, the board often consists of elderly people.



Nardus Samenwerkende Uitvaartorganisaties
Bergeend 31
8322 CJ