I didn’t have a lot of time in Amsterdam to go exploring cemeteries, but Zorgvlied seemed promising, so I thought I would go take a look. It’s one of the more famous cemeteries in Amsterdam, as many famous people, artists, and other celebrities are buried here. It’s far from any major tourist area in Amsterdam, but it meant a nice walk through real neighbourhoods to get here. A funeral was about to take place when I first arrived here, so I quickly got out of the way and stuck to the edges of the cemetery, at least in the beginning, to give them some privacy.
I didn’t really get a chance to see many Dutch cemeteries on my visit here, but my impression from other cemetery bloggers is that they are not as interesting as other cemeteries in countries such as Belgium or France, as there is not as much funerary art (in terms of statues) compared to those places. From my own observations, I would say that that’s true – generally speaking (and only generally!) Catholic cemeteries tend to have more interesting (and bespoke) statues than those in Protestant ones, which mostly feature (carbon copy) angels, cherubs, and in many cases, Jesus on the cross. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule in both cases, but this has been something noted by other bloggers as well. Anyway, I think one of the reasons why Zorgvlied is considered a great cemetery in Amsterdam is because of the number of statues and other interesting monuments here, but compared to similar-sized cemeteries in the neighbouring countries, it really doesn’t have so many.
However, there were a lot of winding paths throughout the cemetery which made it quite interesting to walk around. One of my favourite sections was a path made of very old slab headstones, although I did not walk on it (just to the side of it). And instead of the ubiquitous cemetery cats, I noticed they had chickens and a rooster instead. One of the more interesting features I found in this cemetery (and other Dutch cemeteries) is the use of glass to create a memorial headstone, instead of stone. In many cases, the glass was just normal, see-through or opaque glass, but in some instances the memorials were beautiful works of art with lots of colour and/or interesting formations. So for me, the best part of exploring this cemetery was seeing the modern headstones, rather than the older ones. And, despite it being early in the year, there were still plenty of very colourful flowers about the grounds.
Monuments: A few interesting statues, but the newer memorials were more interesting to me.
Grounds: Quite extensive, but there are maps scattered throughout the grounds to let you know where you are. The paths are quite circular so you often end up backtracking on yourself from a different direction.
Visitors: A few, but it was mostly groundstaff that I ran into from time to time.
Cemetery: Zorgvlied Cemetery
Notable Internments: Felix Andries Vening Meinesz (geophysicist), Ramses Shaffy (singer), Annie M.G. Schmidt (writer), Joep Lange (clinical HIV researcher who was on the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Flight 17), Hellen Huisman (actress), and many others
Location: Amsteldijk 273, 1079 LL Amsterdam, Netherlands
Hours: 09:00-16:45 (M-F), from 10 am on weekends