Munich Waldfriedhof

The Munich Waldfriedhof is one of 29 cemeteries of Munich in Bavaria, Germany. It is one of the larger and more famous burial sites of the city, known for its park-like design and tombs of notable personalities. The Waldfriedhof is considered the first woodland cemetery.

Munich Waldfriedhof
Location of Munich Waldfriedhof
Details
Established1907
Location
CountryGermany
Coordinates48.102778°N 11.493611°E / 48.102778; 11.493611
TypeWoodland cemetery
Public
No. of graves60,000

Description

The Munich Waldfriedhof is located in the southwest and borders several city districts today. It is separated in two sections, the old part and the new part (Alter Teil und Neuer Teil). It holds almost 60,000 graves. The Waldfriedhof is open every day from 8am and closes between 5pm and 8pm depending on the season. During the warmer months of the year the city arranges guided tours. The cemetery is connected to the public transport system MVV by several bus lines. Access to the graves by car is very limited. The cemetery borders the beginning Autobahn A95 in the south as well as other large roads in the north and east.

History

The Münchner Waldfriedhof as it is called in German was planned by the architect Hans Grässel and opened in 1907. From 1963 to 1966 the cemetery was enlarged by the architect Prof. Ludwig Römer.

The cemetery is one of a series of cemeteries in Munich planned by Grässel at about the same timepoint. The leaders of the city had not been fond of the idea of one huge main cemetery when the old burial sites became too small. Thus Grässel was instructed to plan four new cemeteries, one in each cardinal direction. The Waldfriedhof was created at a time when most cemeteries were designed as city parks or recreational parks. Typical themes of such cemeteries were "the City of the Dead" or "the Paradise Garden". As the new cemeteries were mostly located in the outskirts of cities rather than in churchyards, and the importance of the church was diminishing, they were relatively profane in character. To regain some symbolic strength, Grässel used influences from early Christian and Byzantine architecture in his funeral chapels and other buildings on the cemetery. He also put the burial chapel in the forest, rather than displaying it at the side of the avenue. Grässel kept the trees growing in the area, letting the woods cover tombs in order to create a feeling of connection between nature and death rather than letting the individual monuments be the main feature of the cemetery.

The themes and ideas from the Munich Waldfriedhof became popular in Germany in the upcoming decades and were used in several similar Waldfriedhöfe (woodland cemeteries) elsewhere. The Munich Waldfriedhof was also a very important predecessor of Skogskyrkogården outside Stockholm, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Selection of interred people

Notable burials include:[1][2]

References

  • Official Homepage of the Waldfriedhof (in German)
  • Constant, Caroline, 1994: The Woodland Cemetery (chapter 1). Byggförlaget 1994, ISBN 91-7988-060-6
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