The Boskamp cemetery

A park-like cemetary for a multicolored society

By creating different types of burial grounds for The Boskamp cemetery, our design offers a flexible response to the demands of today and tomorrow.


Assen, Nederland


Gemeente Assen



Surface Area

16 ha

Design Year




The Boskamp Cemetery no longer satisfies today’s requirements. During the more than fifty years in which the cemetery has been in use, not a single grave has been cleared. The oldest ones are no longer kept up by relatives. As a result, the cemetery conveys a neglected impression. The original cemetery design was made by Jan Vroom Jr in 1937 but was only implemented after the Second World War, and in a simplified version. The monumental character of the original design with axes and boulevards is still intact. However, many of the park-like features were never created and the monumental main entrance has been weakened by moving the columbarium to the middle of the central axis and later by the building of a crematorium. The design of the cemetery is austere and functional, shows little diversity, and does not have much of an atmosphere.

The contemporary culture of burial and cremation has been enriched with new rituals to which people try to give a personal form and content of their own. Besides, non-Christian religions impose specific demands, such as the orientation of graves towards Mecca. By creating different types of burial grounds within a clear main structure, the design offers a flexible response to the demands of today and tomorrow. The design for the reorganisation of the cemetery aims to reinforce the qualities of the original design while respectfully adding a recognisable new layer. The design also builds on Vroom’s ambition to give the cemetery a park-like atmosphere and provides more diversity and colour to counterbalance the heavy and functional main structure.

A more natural maintenance is introduced in certain parts of the plan. Some areas of the cemetery acquire the atmosphere of the edge of a wood with tall grass, wild flowers and scattered birch trees. This creates interesting contrasts with the traditional rows of graves separated by trim hedges. A new area of green chambers formed by hedges is added where members of non-Christian religions such as Muslims can bury their loved ones. The main entrance will be restored to its former glory and there will be a new car park a little distance away. A circular pathway connects the different fields of graves. The closed columbarium building will be converted into an inviting teahouse with a terrace overlooking the enlarged lake. The main axis is strengthened by a 100-metre body of water in the central strip in front of the columbarium so that the ashes of the departed can be scattered over the flowing water.

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