Quick tip: cleared graves

Grave of Dinant Hoitink

Grave of Dinant Hoitink

Did you know that in the Netherlands, graves are routinely cleared after a couple of decades? Graves cannot be bought, only rented. The usual period is 20-30 years. After that term is up, the grave is cleared if nobody renews the lease.

Most cemeteries have a communal plot where any remains are reburied. In most cemeteries, it is unusual to find graves older than 50-100 years. An exception are Jewish cemeteries, as Jewish tradition prevents them from being cleared.

See also this overview of online cemeteries.

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 25 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Saskia Lodder says:

    I have very little information about my father’s father, Gysbert Lodder, who died in about 1934 when my father was 9 years old. He was a policeman in Amsterdam. I just found your website.

  2. Is there an equivalent of findagrave.com for the Netherlands, someplace that collects images of headstones before the graves are cleared?

  3. Judy Kirkpatrick says:

    What happens to the actual headstones when they are cleared?

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