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Jodensavanne Archaeological Site in Suriname is formally one of the twenty heritage nominations for placement on the World Heritage List in 2023. In July 2023, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee will meet to decide whether the site will definitely be given a place on this prestigious list.

04 December 2022
01 June 2022

Suriname - Documentation monuments Coronie

On Thursday 19 May 2022, a team from the Built Heritage Suriname Foundation (SGES) paid a working visit to the Coronie district to inspect and document some historic graves on the Bellevue plantation. The reason for this is the report that some old graves on the plantation are said to have been damaged as a result of work on the Oost-Westverbinding.

28 March 2022

Suriname - Major cleaning Nieuwe Oranjetuin

At the initiative of the District Commissioner Mr. Ricardo Bhola, the highest administrative officer (Burgervader) of the North-East Paramaribo district, preparations are currently being made for a phased clean-up of the overgrown Nieuwe Oranjetuin cemetery. Support is being received from Johan Roozer of the Directorate of Culture and Stephen Fokké, director of the Suriname Built Heritage Foundation (SGES), a beekeeper, the bee service of the Fire Brigade, Public Green Space, the Administrative Service and the Corps of Penitentiary Officials (KPA).

The Shared Cemeteries Project


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Shared Cemeteries is all about (former Dutch) funerary heritage all over the world. The website is a non-profit collaboration between organizations, institutions and researchers from different countries involved in funerary heritage with a Dutch background. These can be historical cemeteries, churches as well as individual grave monuments. Shared Cemeteries is 'work in progress' and committed to share knowledge and information.

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Shared Cemeteries is all about (former Dutch) funerary heritage all over the world. The website is a non-profit collaboration between organizations, institutions and researchers from different countries involved in funerary heritage with a Dutch background. These can be historical cemeteries, churches as well as individual grave monuments. Shared Cemeteries is 'work in progress' and committed to share knowledge and information.

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Latest Articles in Countries

Suriname

01 June 2022

Plantation Bellevue - Monuments plantation owners

On Thursday 19 May 2022, a team from the Built Heritage Suriname Foundation (SGES) paid a working visit to the Coronie district to inspect and document some historic graves on the Bellevue plantation. The reason for this is the message from Mrs. M. Vroom, that some old graves on the plantation would have been damaged as a result of rehabilitation work on the East-West connection. The SGES team consisted of Rachel Deekman, Jennifer Scheuerman and Stephen Fokké.

01 June 2022

Plantage Clyde – Missionary Cemetery Salem Church

The historic graves at the front of the Salem Church at Clyde Plantation in Coronie were partially documented for the first time, in 2003, by Philip Dikland. Of the 18 graves, 8 had been mapped. Two large brick tombs have no headstone, so it is unknown who is buried there. In 2014, Dikland documented another seven graves together with Max van de Poel.

14 January 2022

Historic Burial Sites in the Districts

The core of the Surinamese economy was formed by the plantations until well into the nineteenth century. The plantation was the production unit, but also the social unit: an autonomous community of between 50 and 500 people. The owner and his family lived there, and then there was the free staff, consisting of director, supervisors and sometimes craftsmen. But the vast majority of the community were enslaved people. All of them were buried on the plantation. The owner and director in a small, distinguished cemetery near the plantation house, the enslaved in a simple cemetery near the edge of the plantation. It is not known where the free personnel were buried.

India

23 May 2023

Vypin - Johan Hendrik Medeler

Trumpeter in the service of the VOC

In the winter of 1739, Johan Hendrik Medeler from Braakel[i] boarded the ship Gaasperdam of the Chamber of Amsterdam to sail to Ceylon as a trumpeter. Sub-merchant Jacob Balde immediately had his hands full with sick crew members who wanted to make their wills, but also with statements from various passengers about the behaviour of the quartermaster Jacob Jansz Kerkemijer who threatened, deceived, defrauded and mistreated the ordinary people "with great inflation on their character" in all kinds of ways. The ship's council had to be involved while the ship was in disarray at a boatyard in Portugal[ii]. Kerkemeijer was condemned to [iii] be beaten with a rope and demoted to sailor for nine guilders a month. The belongings of all the deceased crew members were immediately inventoried and sold at the mast. After the death of the second master on 7 May 1739, Johan Medeler bought his 8 "medicineese" books for three guilders. [iv] A curious purchase for a trumpeter.

09 March 2023

Fort Kochi - Isaac Pieterszn van Dielen and Lea de Kouter

On 6 April, 1663, little Lea de Kouter walked with her mother to the cabin of a ship on the roadstead of the Cape of Good Hope. A girl with the beautiful name Virena would be baptized that morning. [i] The vicar who was to baptize the child, Balthasar de Meter, had just arrived from Holland and was due to sail on to the Indies. She had just arrived from the Indies and was going to travel through to Holland, a unknown country to her. Would they have consciously seen each other? Would Lea remember him when, years later, she arrived at Cochin and found his tombstone in the church, not aware that they would soon be buried together in the same church forever?

04 February 2023

Fort Kochi - Balthasar de Meter

On 11 August 1646, the Heren XVII took the decision to do something about the shortage of clergymen in Asia with the coming outgoing fleet. Six ministers, not Germans, but only educated men, would be sent out. The chambers Amsterdam and Zeeland would each take care of 2 ministers and the Zuider- and Noorderkwartier each for one minister.[i]

USA

02 October 2022

Brooklyn – First Dutch Cemetery (disappeared)

After the successful establishment of a Dutch colony on the southern tip of Manhattan, the first regular church services were held in 1628 in the fort Nieuw Amsterdam. This happened in a room of the grain mill that the colonists had built here. In 1633, the first wooden church was built near the banks of the East River.

31 July 2022

Green-Wood Cemetery

In New York's nearly 400 years of existence, countless cemeteries have been laid out, used and disappeared. The oldest, especially churchyards, date from the second half of the seventeenth century, when first the Dutch and later the English had control over the settlement. With the growth of New York, the need for larger cemeteries arose. These cemeteries were no longer built close to the city, but further away, in places that were less suitable for agriculture, for example. With many of those cemeteries from the nineteenth century, there is no immediate thought of a link with Dutch history, but there often is such as at Green-Wood in Brooklyn.

08 November 2021

The Stuyvesant Vault

Peter Stuyvesant was director-general of the Dutch colony of New Netherland from 1647 until it was ceded to the English in 1664. Stuyvesant was not well liked. Although the colony continued to expand during his reign, he was in constant conflict with the population.

In 1651 Peter Stuyvesant bought building (farm) No. 1 from the WIC, located about ten kilometres outside the settlement. The building (pronounced boweray in English, later bowry) included land with outbuildings, livestock and two enslaved Africans.[1] Stuyvesant had a chapel built on the piece of land in 1660 for his neighbours and employees.[2] This fact in itself is remarkable, as a private chapel was not common for Protestants. But Stuyvesant may have chosen this because the distance to New Amsterdam was too great. It is not known exactly what the chapel looked like.

Other countries

09 July 2023

Rome - Monument of Dutch Zouaves

In the nineteenth century, numerous new states emerged as kingdoms fell. This is particularly true for the Italian peninsula. In the first half of the nineteenth century, this consisted of a conglomeration of smaller areas of power within the center the 'Ecclesiastical State', the pope's area of power in Rome. When this area was threatened, the pope called on volunteers to fight for its defense.

What a few thousand Dutch people had to do with this is related to the Catholic emancipation in the Netherlands in the second half of the nineteenth century. These papal warriors left few traces in the Netherlands, but in various cemeteries in the Netherlands the text "Papal Zouave" sometimes stands out. A search for the still existing funerary monuments leads to a (far from complete) first overview.

22 February 2022

Istanbul - Monument Berthe van Lennep

The two cemeteries founded by Dutch traders in Turkey are strongly linked to families like De Hochepied, Leidstar and Van Lennep. They not only represented the Netherlands but also did good business with their trading houses. They  intermarried and were buried in the Dutch cemeteries in Smyrna or Istanbul. It is not surprising that after a few centuries the families were more internationally oriented than they were Dutch.

22 February 2022

Izmir - Felemenk Bahçe / Flemish garden

After it was no longer possible to bury in the old cemetery, the Dutch community in Smyrna (present Izmir) opened its own section at the larger European cemetery in the east of the city. This part was named "Felemenk Bahçe" or Flemish garden. Not that the garden was Flemish, but the name stood for the Low Countries, as Belgica was used in Latin to indicate the Low Countries.

Japan

30 December 2020

Hendrik Duurkoop’s gravestone

The gravestone of Hendrik Duurkoop in the Dutch Cemetery at Goshinji temple in Nagasaki has long been famous as the oldest surviving gravestone in Japan belonging to a European.[1] Duurkoop, who divided most of his adult life between Batavia (modern-day Jakarta) and Nagasaki, died at sea at the age of 42 en route to his second posting as director (opperhoofd) of the Dutch factory at Dejima. This essay assembles the available historical materials in Dutch and Japanese to give a brief account of Duurkoop’s life and the history of his gravestone after his death.[2]

17 November 2020

Guido Hermann Fridolin Verbeek

In 2003, Ms Hisayo Murase published the book 'Verbeck of Japan'. The book is a translation in Japanese of the biography of Guido Hermann Fridolin Verbeek written by W.E. Griffis in 1901 and provided with annotations.

In 2012, again in Japan, a second book on Verbeek's life was published, entitled: 'Guido F. Verbeck. A life of determined acceptance.' from Ms Noriko Itoh. Verbeck is an Anglicization of the family name Verbeek. The Dutchman Verbeek made a great contribution to the development of Japan in the nineteenth century. Besides composer Willem Pijper and poet Hendrik Marsman, he may be considered one of the greatest sons of Zeist. Despite this his name is unknown in Zeist and nothing reminds of him in his home village.

16 November 2020

Buried at the other side of the bay (from 1655)

In 1641 the Dutch were forced to move from Hirado to Nagasaki and lost their privilige to bury their dead on land. Those who died were buried at sea instead. In October 1654 the Dutch were finally given permission to bury their dead on land again, but it still took almost a year before the first body was actually interred in a grave.

FAQ

Which countries will be featured on the site?

Shared Cemeteries started with Suriname and Japan. India and the United States of America followed in 2021. Other main topics will be on the Carribean Islands within the Kingdom of the Nederlands and Indonesia.

The following countries will be featured on Shared Cemeteries:

  • Bangladesh
  • Brasil
  • Indonesia
  • Carribean Islands within the Kingdom of the Nederlands
  • China
  • Congo
  • Guyana
  • India
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Madagascar
  • Malaysia
  • Mauritius
  • Portugal
  • South-Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Suriname
  • Svalbard (Spitsbergen) - Norway
  • Taiwan
  • Turkey
  • United States of America
  • ...

If you have any supplement, please let us know.

I can't find a cemetery on your site

The website is still under development, so we may not have processed all the data yet. Nevertheless, we aim for completeness. Please contact us, we may be able to add the cemetery to the overview.

I would like to use photos and/or texts from the website.

Information and research material on the website is freely available on condition that the source is acknowledged. The material (incl. photos) is available under the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0, unless otherwise indicated. This means that you are free to share the work under the following conditions: 1) Attribution 2) Non-Commercial 3) No Derivative Works. More information about CreativeCommons licenses via https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/deed.en.

I would like to contribute material (text or photos) for an article.

Please send us a message via the contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Can you help me? I'm looking for a relative's grave.

The website focuses mainly on cemeteries and funerary monuments and less on people. For some cemeteries, a (limited) overview of buried persons is available, please check the relevant cemetery.

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