An increasing number of Danes are planning for their last ride by prepaying for their funeral or creating a funeral savings account.
Elysium Begravelsesopsparing, a saving institution operated by Danske Bedemænd, the Danish funeral association, said that about 5500 people have established accounts to save for their funeral. Only about 1700 had done so as of the year 2000.
“We have seen a steady increase over the years,” Steen Kristensen, the president of Elysium Begravelsesopsparing told Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper. “People want to assure that things are in order.”
The average amount in the accounts is about 16,000 kroner. Kristensen said that couples that have reached retirement age like to have things planned out so they do not have to spend their golden years worrying about funerals, and single people like to assure that neither their families or the government will get stuck footing the bill for their funerals.
Begravelse Danmark is a burial firm that allows customers to pay in advance and plan their own funeral. About 2500 Danes have taken advantage of the opportunity since 2000.
Elof Westergaard, the Bishop of Ribe Diocese, said that while the practice may help remove some of the taboos surrounding death, it also points to the further isolation of the individual within society.
“It is another piece in the solo way of life,” Westergaard told Kristeligt Dagblad. “We are in a place where we not only have to take we responsibility for everything in our own lives, now we must plan our own death and our funeral. I actually think there's something sad about that.”