All Saints' Day: How much does a funeral service cost in Luxembourg? (2024)

All Saints' Day: How much does a funeral service cost in Luxembourg? (1)

© Romain Van Dyck

Although it is possible to have a free funeral in the Grand Duchy, the ceremonies are frequently expensive. Our colleagues at 5Minutes scrutinised the practice with industry professionals.

Administrative work, budget, organising the funeral ceremony... When a loved one passes away, the process can be fast, especially in Luxembourg where generally, only three days pass in between death and burial or cremation.

Luckily, the role of the undertaker or funeral director has evolved. Companies now offer a full accompaniment, as RTL discovered when discussing procedures with two Luxembourgish businesses:Erasmy (Dudelange, Luxembourg and Ettelbruck) and Brandenburger (Esch-sur-Alzette).

ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES

  • Statement of death: the first stage is to contact emergency services or the family doctor to confirm the death.
  • Three days, no more: Jean-Paul Erasmy and Malou Erasmy-Schroeder explained that in Luxembourg it usually takes three days from death to burial or cremation, compared to 5 or 6 days in neighbouring countries. However, one can request an extension of up to 5 working days.
  • Contact a funeral directors: Funeral directors are usually available 24/7, seven days a week, and will come to the home of the deceased with a temporary coffin to remove the body.
  • Remove the body from the municipality...or not: In Luxembourg, a law dating back to 1913 means that a body cannot be removed without permission from the local council - an obsolete rule which has caused frustration for those in the industry. In some cases, funeral directors can access local cemeteries and morgues, but for more rural areas, the problem is more complicated, particularly on weekends when local councils are shut.
  • Other services: Funeral directors can also assist to alert local authorities of the deceased's passing, organise the funeral, as well as contacting the Medical Fund, pension services, and other administrative functions.

BUDGET - TWO EXTREMES

All Saints' Day: How much does a funeral service cost in Luxembourg? (2)

Lately, cremation has become more popular than traditional burials. / © Romain Van Dyck

  • Thanks to the National Health Fund: Luxembourg is the only country which still offers a funeral allowance, said Erasmy. The grant can amount to €1,058.72 - in neighbouring countries, the allowance is non-existent.
  • Savings: There are a number of "death funds" in Luxembourg. By saving €10, €30 or even €500 a month, it can ease the burden on family members.
  • Average budget: The average budget is around €3,000. Compared to neighbouring countries, Erasmy said this was reasonable. However, for those who might not have this budget, the €1,058 allowance supplied by the CNS can suffice. Erasmy would offer a simple cffin and a spot in the Merl cemetery, with the tomb being rented for five years. After five years, the cemetery could rent out the tomb again, but apparently they have enough space not to do so..
  • Burial or cremation?Burials are generally more expensive than cremations, although prices vary depending on the company.
  • Concession rights in cemeteries usually tend to depend per municipality. However, again Luxembourg is more generous than other countries - a concession would cost €200 for 15 years, €600 for 30 years, or €2,000 for a vault. Perpetual concessions are no longer possible.
  • Death notices in the newspaper:If necessary, funeral directors can take care of writing the notice in question. The budget depends on which paper is selected.
  • The florist: "must be receptive able to meet customer demands, who often want fresh flowers, certain colours, etc."
  • The marble: The stonemason will either open an old gravestone or install a new one ... Expect a minimum of €5,000 minimum for a granite tombstone.
  • The columbarium: the price of a room with niches specifically designed to store urns varies by municipality. "In one municipality this might mean €600 for 30 years, and in another it might cost double" says Patrick Schumacher, of Pompes Funèbres Brandenburger.
  • The funeral parlour: in Luxembourg, there is no specific room where the relatives of the deceased gather before the interment or funeral rites. Instead, friends and relatives go to the morgue, although Erasmy warns that whole the Luxembourg is home to beautiful morgues, these can be very expensive, especially in the city centre. They can cost €50 for half an hour, which then amounts up to €200 if you choose to spend as long as an hour and a half there. Our professionals found these prices exaggerated.

The choice remains, then, if the deceased had not done so, to decide between a coffin, an urn or maybe even a diamond?

COFFIN? URN? DIAMOND?

All Saints' Day: How much does a funeral service cost in Luxembourg? (3)

If you want to make a diamond out of a loved one's ashes, it will cost at least €4,000. / © Romain Van Dyck

  • The coffin:Jean-Paul Erasmy recalls that in the past, his grandfather, the village's main carpenter, would have been the one to build a coffin. However, the last craftsman to build coffins in the Grand Duchy closed a few years ago, leaving the work to carpenters in Italy, France, Belgium, Germany ... When it comes to colours, it seems Luxembourgers are rather traditional, settling with a wood colour, or at most, white or black oak.
  • The funeral urn: if the country's centre and north areas tend to lean more towards traditional burials, the funerary urn finds its popularity in the south. The crematorium has existed for twenty years, and customers can choose from a very wide range of urns: wood, semiprecious stone, 3D printing, and even a football shape!
  • Turning the ashes into diamond: according to Patrick Schumacher, there is company in Switzerland that transforms part of the ashes of the deceased into a diamond, a process which takes six to nine months. After having the urn with the remainder of the ashes returned, the family will then also receive a diamond, which can be worn as a ring, medallion, etc. The cost of this process starts at €4,000 for a 0.15 carat diamond.
  • Forest cemeteries: in 2018, there were seven forest cemeteries in the Grand Duchy. However unlike other countries, where ashes are buried in a biodegradable urn and placed at the foot of a tree, ashes here are either buried or scattered in the forest.
  • Burial at sea: While rare, the scattering of ashes at sea is possible. This usually happens in Ostend, Belgium.

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Humusation: burials consisting of human composting – in nature, without a coffin – is impossible in Luxembourg. The body must be buried in a coffin and in a dedicated space, or turned into ashes in a crematorium.
  • Metal coffins, chapelsare forbidden! Previously, wealthy families used them because they were better at preserving bodies, however this practice is now prohibited. The casket must be of wood and it is no longer possible to build a chapel or mausoleum (a vault on the other hand, is allowed).
  • Keeping ashes at home: is forbidden in Luxembourg, as ashes must be scattered or kept in dedicated places. Forget about the funeral urn on the mantel.
  • No housing crisis in cemeteries: if the living are struggling for accommodation and housing in Luxembourg, the dead have little to worry about. Erasmy reassures that there is no shortage of space in cemeteries, with new spaces being built. In Merl only one-third of the cemetery is being used and there remain many empty graves.
  • For animals:Cremation and burials are possible, although best to check with funeral companies for details.
All Saints' Day: How much does a funeral service cost in Luxembourg? (2024)

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