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Roermond, Netherlands

The Linked Headstones of Het Oude Kerkhof

Two gravestones clasp hands over the religious divide. 

Despite the religious divide of the lives and cemeteries, the gravestones of Colonel J.C.P.H. of Aeffderson and noblewoman J.W.C. Van Gorkum clasp hands across the divide. 

In the 19th century, the Dutch lived with Pillarisation, a policy which seperated public establishments by religious and political affiliations. Yet Colonel Aeffderson was a Protestant, and Van Gorkum was a Catholic. They were married for 40 years, a union that likely caused some scandal in the 19th-century Netherlands. 

The Protestant husband died first, and then Van Gorkum. They wanted to be buried alongside each other, but the policies of Pillarisation made that impossible. Instead, two stone hands were added to the back of their gravestones, clasping across the wall that separates them.