Co-Creating Ritual Spaces and Communities: An Analysis of Municipal Cemetery Tongerseweg, Maastricht, 1812-2020

Christoph Jedan*, Sonja Kmec, Thomas Kolnberger, Mariske Westendorp, Eric Venbrux

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Cemeteries have been viewed in opposed ways as ritual spaces that either mirror society or present an idealized model of society. In this article, we propose an analysis of cemeteries as ritual spaces, focused on the case study of municipal cemetery Tongerseweg in Maastricht, among the most important monumental cemeteries still in active use in The Netherlands today. Drawing on historical as well as interview material, spatial and ritual studies, the authors argue for a new “Arena Model” to understand cemeteries as dynamic ritual spaces. Cemeteries do not only form an ensemble of ritual spaces that are reliant on pre-existing communities, they also evoke, produce and maintain communities. Codeterminants are the physical layout and a wide range of ritual markers that variously underscore, mitigate or even contradict the communities created by the spatial layout. Important actors pertain to municipal politics and administration as well as the users, their respective allies and service providers. The article further analyses the wide range of competing values that help to shape a cycle of cocreating plural ritual spaces as well as communities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number435
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 24-Aug-2020


  • Ritual dynamics
  • space
  • boundaries
  • cemetery
  • religious groups
  • minority groups
  • arena
  • pluralization
  • cocreation

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