Allerzielen Alom

Supporting committee

Peter Brusse
Peter Brusse (1936) worked for more than twenty years as a correspondent for the Volkskrant and NOS in Great-Britain. Currently he writes necrologies in English style for the Volkskrant. For the Allerzielen Alom publication he wrote an introduction including his memories of All Souls’ Day as a child.

‘All Souls’ Day used to be a tiring day, but provided much satisfaction. You could pray that the dead into heaven, and we did that with much love and a feeling of duty. Now I use the English example to make my necrologies in the weekly column “Uit het leven” (From the life) ‘a celebration of the life’. Just as in Allerzielen Alom, I want to show how uplifting and colourful life is; this must give the reader a good and warm feeling. The necrology is a short sketch of a life, which you don’t want to make any better than it was. It should, however, be recognisable and dear, with all its faults. Not All Saints, but All Souls, All Souls for everyone.’

Hermien Embsen
Initiator of Het Moment (The Moment), training for ritual counseling by separation, now a recognised vocation curriculum.

‘Allerzielen Alom fills a great need. The dead receive a place in daily life. Who are we without our dearly departed? Rituals give next-of-kin the chance to transform their memories into new meaning for the deceased. Binding rituals are healing. Allerzielen Alom is taking place more often in The Netherlands. Through cooperation, it can develop even further. The use of art as a symbolic language, supports the self-sufficiency of the community. By sharing this with each other, we create a cultural heritage in The Netherlands for the future.’

Jacobine Geel
Theologian, television host and columnist. Every Monday she is the host of the NCRV programme ’Schepper & Co’ (Creator and Co). During one programme just after All Souls’ Day, she payed special attention to modern rituals, in particular, Allerzielen Alom. Jacobine Geel was part of the jury for the Yarden prize which was given to Allerzielen Alom in 2008.

Citation from the report from the Yarden prize jury: ‘A valuable and special project. Although “All Souls’ Day” can bring up an association with traditional ways of looking at life, it is an inviting way to fit old traditions and rituals of grief in our modern lives, regardless of belief. The need to remember is great. The project reduces the suffering and at the same time stimulates dealing with grief. On the other hand, it helps to break the taboo which still seems to hang around ‘death’. The jury is impressed with the continuous influx of original material, the broad (national) applicability, and the enthousiastic reception which Allerzielen Alom has received.

Dr. L.H.M. (Wies) van Moorsel
Art historian, freelance writer, board member of the foundation Stichting Josine de Bruyn Kops. Taught art history at University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities, until 1997.

‘The direct involvement of the public is what I find interesting in Allerzielen Alom. I find art which engages important. Allerzielen Alom also is based strongly on visual impressions. The ‘beauty’ has a transcendental effect, it reachs beyond the material.’

Prof. dr. G.W.J. (Gerard) Rooijakkers
Gerard Rooijakkers (1962) is adjunct professor for Dutch ethnology in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam. This chair is part of the Meertens Institute. He received his Ph.D. in 1994, conducting research over the historic folks culture in North Brabant. He has published on religious folks culture, visual culture, festivals and rituals, material culture, and museology.

I think that ritual creativity is what is important in Allerzielen Alom, giving form to memories and celebrating the deceased, whereby the Genius Loci of the cemetery plays a role. These locations carry the traces of those who went before us. The locations thus take on a new meaning in our society.’

Drs. J.R. H. (Ko ) Schuurmans
Ko Schuurmans is liturgist for the Haarlem diocese. He (1947) studied sociography and theology. He worked in higher education in the priesthood, and is part of the pastoral services of the Roman Catholic diocese of Haarlem – Amsterdam as liturgist and coordinator. He teaches volunteers and priests-in-training in the area of rituals and liturgy.

‘Developments concerning new and innovative parting rituals in our society form a challenge for churches, and particularly the Roman Catholic Church, which has extensive experience in this area. However, this does not mean that a member of the church should walk around as if they are the expert. One must also understand the sign of the times! After a period where rituals seemed to have disappeared, we have come into a period where there are rituals galore. We as humans apparently cannot get along without them. We must therefore look positively at new initiatives for parting rituals such as Allerzielen Alom. After all, rituals are meant for the welfare and healing of many!’

Gijsje Teunissen
CHARON funeral counseling. Funeral and ritual counselor, ritual counselor of the year 2007.

‘I have watched you with great enthusiasm since 2005. I marveled at the Allerzielen Alom evenings and often convinced my families to take part. It is fantastic what you have accomplished in The Netherlands! And the Yarden-prize has been earned many times over. I feel closely connected to your ideas, putting the ‘life lived’ in the forefront. In the beginning people thought Allerzielen Alom was strange, just as they thought about my approach to parting rituals. But now they see, feel and experience what it does with them. People had to get used to another approach to death … and fortunately, they is happening through initiatives such as Allerzielen Alom.’

Prof. dr. H.J.M. (Eric) Vernbrux
Professor for anthropology of religion. Member of the Faculty of Religion. Research: ‘Refiguring death rites’. Venbrux investigates how people from different cultures and religions deal with death.

‘Within our research on ‘Refiguring death rites’ we passed out questionnaires to the visitors of Allerzielen Alom celebration. The results of this research show that Allerzielen Alom fills a great need for people who have no connections with the church, and who are looking for personal religion. Going public with personal memories connects people. Allerzielen Alom has a large impact using modern art kunst with a strong social character. In that project, art serves to give form to new rituals, inspired by religious traditions from around the world. It provides insight into how spirituality and religion transform in a globalising and multi-coloured society.’