Huis te Vraag Cemetery – Amsterdam, Netherlands - Atlas Obscura

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Huis te Vraag Cemetery

An overgrown and largely forgotten cemetery lies hidden within the outskirts of Amsterdam. 

When you wander among the ivy-clad graves that speckle this Victorian-era graveyard, thoughts of frock coats, velvet dresses, and unrequited love easily come to mind. As it’s a prime location for real estate development, it seems like a miracle that the graveyard still exists.

The land has a long human history. Huis te Vraag, which means House for Inquiry in Dutch, allegedly got its name because in 1489, Austrian emperor Maximilian I asked for directions to Amsterdam at the inn that was once located there. The inn and the mansion later built atop the land disappeared, but the name stuck.

In 1891, the place reopened as a private gravesite for the Dutch Reformed Church, thanks to the efforts of a local carpenter who had bought the land. At least 16,000 bodies were then buried there. Some of the anonymously interred were those whose bodies were found in the area during and after World War II.

Nowadays, the cemetery is maintained to preserve a precarious balance between the gray of the graves and the green of the foliage. It’s a peaceful, quiet place. Though it’s closed to the dead—the last burial took place in the 1960s—the cemetery is still open to the living.

Know Before You Go

Huis te Vraag is open for visitors during slightly erratic opening hours. As of October 2018, the cemetery can be visited Tuesday to Thursday from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., but this is subject to change.

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