ASCE Conference 2021: call for papers

Cemetourism: Cemeteries with stories to tell

Call for papers

This year’s conference of the Association of Significant Cemeteries of Europe (ASCE) has the
theme Cemetourism: Cemeteries with stories to tell. It will take a practical rather than historical
approach to significant cemeteries, looking at questions of ‘how’:
  • How can cemeteries communicate their cultural importance to the public? 
  • How can cemeteries establish why are they important, and to whom?  
  • How can cemeteries engage with visitors and potential visitors?  
  • How best can cemeteries share their understanding of their cultural value? 
  • How can cemeteries enrich the visitor experience? 
  • How can cemeteries do all this while respecting their primary purpose as places of burial?
We are seeking speakers with practical knowledge or experience who can communicate well to
a broad international audience.

Conference dates and venue

Thursday 11 and Friday 12 November 2021. Online, via Zoom.  
Organised by the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust for the Association of Significant Cemeteries of Europe.

Conference themes

Papers are invited along the following themes: 
  • Understanding the cultural significance of cemeteries
  • Developing the unique story of your cemetery
  • Wayfinding: helping visitors navigate to the parts that matter
  • Cemetery museums: complementing the outdoor experience
  • Cultural programming in cemeteries
  • Working with tourism promotion agencies
  • Reconciling tourism with burial activities

Conference papers

Papers should last no longer than 25 minutes, excluding questions. The conference language is English. You will need to be able to present online to participate.


Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words summarising your intended paper no later
than Friday 9 July 2021. Please use the form at this link.
Successful contributors will be notified by 26 July 2021.  Conference bookings will open on 1 September 2021.

Editorial board

  • Ian Dungavell
  • John Moffatt
  • Ioanna Paraskevopoulou 
  • Andreea Pop

Further information

Please email Follow us on Twitter: @Cemetourism and Facebook.

Photo book "Crossroads of diversity"

Crossroads of diversity
37 photographs from 32 cities from 15 countries. Images of cemeteries that are so distinctive and unique, but still speaking the same language. Language of diversity.
As a tribute to the 20th anniversary of ASCE, Week of Discovering European Cemeteries 2021 is celebrating diversity in all its forms.

Individual WDEC activities were complemented with a joint international project “Crossroads of diversity”. A remarkable photo book revealing the diversity of cemeteries all across Europe. Cemeteries that are special and unique, but at the same time similar and connected through their common European history.

You are kindly invited to discover Crossroads of diversity.  

WDEC 2021 in Rijeka

WDEC 2021 in Rijeka
Week of Discovering European Cemeteries 2021 in Rijeka focused on doctors who left a deep mark in Rijeka and world medicine.
Week of Discovering European Cemeteries is the most important ASCE project that connects people and points out the heritage in our cemeteries. In Rijeka, the event was held for the first time in 2015, and during these seven years, our fellow citizens have recognized it as a new way to learn about the history of the city.

This year's theme: Doctors' resting places

The last year and a half was marked by the health issues, imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The dedication of health workers, who bore the great burden of this global situation, inspired KD Kozala to dedicate this year's WDEC to doctors buried in Kozala and Trsat Cemeteries and to the body donors at CGG Drenova. On this occasion, KD Kozala also prepared a special, short brochure.


In Rijeka, Week of Discovering European Cemeteries took place from 24 May to 30 May 2021.

The event began on Monday, May 24 at 18.00 in front of the entrance of Kozala Cemetery with a musical accompaniment and a photo exhibition of doctors' resting places in Kozala Cemetery. Then, an educational walk and introduction to the cemetery took place under the expert guidance of art historian, Mrs. Daina Glavočić.

On Tuesday, May 25, starting at 18.00, the program continued at the Trsat cemetery, also with an educational walk and introduction to the cemetery under the expert guidance of Mrs. Daina Glavočić. Visitors could also enjoy the occasional musical accompaniment and photo exhibition of doctors' resting places.

Other days were intended for individual visits and tours of the cemeteries.

Locations and information about the grave sites are also available in the ARtour mobile application, which allows individual visits and further research of the Rijeka cemeteries.

WDEC 2021: "The enhancement of cemeteries in Italy and Europe as places dedicated to collective memory"

Monumental Cemetery of Turin (Turin, Italy)
On the occasion of the WDEC 2021, The Monumental Cemetery of Turin has organized a new online conference.

About the conference

The online conference entitled "The enhancement of cemeteries in Italy and Europe as places dedicated to collective memory" will take place on May 31st, 2021 at 5.30 pm (local time in Italy).

You can watch the streaming on the Webex platform at this LINK.
Possible password required: CONFERENCE

Conference program

WDEC 2021: Online conference by the Monumental Cemetery of Turin
  • Prof. Marco DEVECCHI - President of the Commission for the quality of the cemetery works of the City of Turin

  • Greetings:
    • Dott. Marco Giusta - Councilor with responsibility for the cemeteries of the City of Turin
    • Prof. Serge NOIRET - President of AIPH Italian Association of Public History

    • Renata SANTORO - Coordinator Technical Table for the historical-artistic enhancement of the Italian cemeteries of Utilitalia-SEFIT
    • Chiara OTTAVIANO - President of Cliomedia Public History
    • Melissa LAMAIDA - Vice President of ASCE
    • Paola REDEMAGNI - author of "Una prece, una lacrima"

    Waiting for you to join us!

    WDEC 2021 at the Old Cemetery of Podgorze

    WDEC 2021 in Krakow (Poland)
    Join us on a guided walk entitled "Microcosm of grief – history of the Old Cemetery of Podgorze in the works of Wojciech Weiss."
    As part of the Week of Discovering European Cemeteries 2021, Association PODGORZE.PL and Podgorze Museum, would like to take you on an incredible guided walk entitled "Microcosm of grief – history of the Old Cemetery of Podgorze in the works of Wojciech Weiss.".

    It will be an interdisciplinary tour as we will talk about art, history and the present times. We will walk with images in our hands, trace the landscapes, reflect on the “topography of grief” so aptly noticed and tamed by Wojciech Weiss. We will find the very same path that was captured on one of his photographs depicting a lone woman carrying a child’s coffin. We will tell a story of the Old Cemetery of Podgorze: its past, present and plans for the future.

    Guides: Melania Tutak (Podgorze Museum), Paweł Kubisztal (Association PODGORZE.PL).
    Start: Podgorze Museum, ul. Limanowskiego 51, Krakow, Poland
    Date: 29.05.2021 at 10:00am

    "Letters to heaven" at Westerveld Cemetery & Crematorium

    "Letters to heaven" at Westerveld Cemetery & Crematorium
    A special letterbox has been installed at the entrance to Westerveld Cemetery & Crematorium. Family members can use it to send post containing personal messages to the loved ones they have lost.

    Initiative by Anita Meinema

    The letterbox for ‘letters to heaven’ is an initiative by Anita Meinema from Santpoort-Noord. Anita’s parents and husband were cremated at Westerveld, and their ashes were also scattered there. After regularly writing letters to her husband after his death, Anita realised that this helped her a great deal in coping with her loss. Her next thought was that if it helped her, it might also help other people to send a ‘letter to heaven’. She approached Westerveld Cemetery & Crematorium with her idea, and they have since installed a special letterbox at the entrance to the park. On posting her ‘letter to heaven’ on 18 May, Anita Meinema’s wish was granted.

    Anita Meinema explains: “I love walking around Westerveld Park because it’s beautiful. Luckily, Westerveld immediately welcomed my idea. I’m delighted that there is now a letterbox for anyone wanting to write a letter, whether it’s personal or anonymous. Who knows what people may write; a poem, a final goodbye or simply a ‘chat’.”

    Offering comfort

    “We are delighted and proud to have been able to become part of this beautiful initiative,” says Jessica Hof of Westerveld Cemetery & Crematorium. “I truly hope that writing letters can help comfort family and friends in their time of loss, just as it did Anita Meinema.”

    Walks during Weekend of the Cemetery in the Netherlands

    Crossroads of diversity
    Discover impotant monuments and graves full of love at the Westerveld Cemetery & Crematorium and the Moscowa Cemetery & Crematorium.

    Individual walks

    During the national Weekend of the Cemetery, whose theme this year is "Cemeteries: full of love", Westerveld Cemetery & Crematorium (Driehuis, Netherlands) and Moscowa Cemetery & Crematorium (Arnhem, Netherlands) are offering very special walks.

    “As group walks and activities are currently not allowed because of Covid-19 measures, we are pleased to welcome visitors in a different manner,” explains Carla Bosua, director of the two locations. “After all, our beautiful memorial parks are very suitable for a walk, either alone or in a small group. We provide a map and description so that everyone can discover for themselves that our cemeteries are also ‘full of love’.”


    On Sunday, May 30th, 2021, Westerveld Cemetery & Crematorium is offering a very special countryside walk which covers a number of important monuments. A route description is available at the Petit Café Westerveld. Staff will be pleased to welcome walkers to the café patio where food and drinks are available.


    A special route has been set out in Moscowa Memorial Park, to discover graves which are "full of love". - love for the loved ones, love for a hobby, pet or profession. The walk is extremely suitable for a solo trip or for a small group that wants to explore Moscowa Cemetery & Crematorium. Maps with the route description are available at the Moscowa tearoom. 

    Additional information

    First Hungarian city to join ASCE

    The Cemetery of Père Lachaise (Paris, France)
    We are happy to announce that Budapest (Hungary) will be joining ASCE.
    On Friday, May 14th, 2021, the General Director of Cemeteries in Budapest, Móczár Gábor Attila, visited Maribor (Slovenia) and met with ASCE President, Lidija Pliberšek. Among other things, they discussed Budapest's accession in ASCE, current and future ASCE projects and some of the ways in which Budapest could contribute to the realization of ASCE goals and mission with its fresh ideas and positive energy.

    We are looking forward to discovering Hungary's culture and the significant cemeteries of Budapest.

    WDEC 2021: Crossroads of diversity

    The Cemetery of Père Lachaise (Paris, France)
    As part of this year's WDEC, we invite you to participate in the creation of a new photo book entitled "Crossroads of diversity".

    20 years of ASCE, 20 days of WDEC

    For 20 years already the Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe is preserving, protecting and promoting cultural heritage, resting in cemeteries. As a tribute to this important anniversary, this year's Week of Discovering European Cemeteries will last for 20 days, starting on May 28th.

    As usual, members will prepare their own activities for the occasion. In addition, we would like to invite you to take part in a joint WDEC project - an online photo book that will emphasize the connection, unity and at the same time diversity of cemeteries that are part of the association.

    Crossroads of diversity

    European cemeteries are all about diversity. We can see it in religions, nationalities, languages, nature, art and architecture present at the cemeteries. In a way, cemeteries are like crossroads where all these aspects of diversity are combined and united in one place. Furthermore, in a symbolic way, working with cemeteries has put us in front of many crossroads through the years, making us choose which path to take and in which direction to go next to fulfill our mission.

    And since cemeteries are full of actual crossroads as well, the theme of this year's photo book will be “Crossroads of diversity”.

    How to participate?

    If you want to be a part of this photo book send us at least one photo of an interesting crossroad located at your cemetery to our email address

    It can be a photo of one or more crossroads, with or without people, taken by day or by night, from the air or from the ground, with or without important monuments near it. The options are limitless. Be creative and show us the diversity of your cemetery reflected in these crossroads.

    Deadline: May 10th, 2021

    Based on the materials collected for the photo book, other parallel activities are planned to be carried out, so in addition to the photos, please send us as well:
    • the name of the cemetery where the photo was taken
    • the exact coordinates of the crossroad on the photo
    • briefly complete the following sentence: “This crossroad illustrates the diversity of our cemetery because / with / in its…”


    Cemetery name: The Cemetery of Père Lachaise (Paris, France)
    Crossroad coordinates:  48.861667, 2.391139

    This crossroad illustrates the diversity of our cemetery with the contrast between the simplicity of nature and the thoughtfulness of the works of art, which complement each other into a beautiful whole.


    Incomplete materials will not be used in the photo book.
    All photos must be provided under license CC0 and will be available to the members of ASCE for download and reprint.

    For additional information or any questions, please contact us at

    AGM 2021 announcement

    AGM 2019
    This year's AGM and Conference is expected to take place in November 2021.
    We are glad to announce that the Steering Committee of ASCE decided that the Annual General Meeting and Conference 2021 will take place in November 2021 in an online format.

    If the constantly changing situation will allow it, there is an open possibility to hold a limited live meeting and conference in addition to the virtual one as well. Since the execution will be conditioned by the circumstances and security measures at that time, the exact date, location and all the other information will be released later on.

    Scientific representatives are working on the theme for the conference and will release a call for papers in the following weeks.

    We greet you warmly and look forward to the AGM 2021.

    ASCE presidency