Monday, November 11, 2013

The Touching Story Behind These Unique Headstones

The graves of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband who, due to the segregation of the period, were not allowed to be buried together.

In the 19th century, the Dutch lived with a form of segregation known as pillarisation. The two primary pillars were the Catholic and the Protestant. Each pillar had there own separate schools, newspapers, banks, hospitals, trade unions, political parties, ect. This often led to a situation were people of one pillar had little to no contact with people from another.

In 1842, J.W.C. van Gorkum, a colonel of the Dutch Calvary, married  J.C.P.H van Aefferden. The marriage was no doubt scandalous as van Gorkum was Protestant and van Aefferden a Catholic. Despite this, the two remained married until the passing of van Gorkum in 1880. Eight years later van Aefferden passed away. Though the couple wished to be buried together, the pillarisation of the period would not allow it. As a work around, arraignments were made for each to be laid to rest near the wall which separated the Catholic side of the cemetery from the Protestant side. The tomb stones rise above the wall with two hands reaching over the top clasped together.

Headstone of J.W.C. van Gorkum

Headstone of J.C.P.H van Aefferden

The cemetery near the chapel in't Zand


Boing Boing: Segregated headstones reach over the cemetery wall

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