12. April 2008 – 25. May 2008
In memoriam cards are a traditional part of the mourning tradition, which can be traced back to the 17th century. They originated in the Netherlands, where they are called Bidprentjes. They experienced their great heyday with the advent of modern and inexpensive printing methods in the 19th century. In memoriam cards bear the name of the deceased and sometimes a portrait as well as a religious aphorism, a religious motif and an invitation to pray for the soul of the deceased. They were most widespread in the Catholic world, where intercession for the "poor soul" in purgatory played an important role.
Today, such in memoriam cards are mostly offered by funeral directors with the pure function of remembrance.
In the meantime, however, in memoriam cards became a popular collector's item. There are extensive museum and private collections. Especially private collectors are interested in in memoriam cards of prominent persons and particularly those that are old or contain unusual sayings or motives. Other collectors are genealogically or regionally oriented. Some concentrate on in memoriam cards of fallen soldiers.
The Central Bureau for Genealogy in The Hague owns the largest collection with over 1 million pieces. Other extensive collections are located in Nijmegen (Albertinum) and Amsterdam (Museum Amstelkring) with 300,000 copies each.
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.
Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur
Museum für Sepulkralkultur
D-34117 Kassel | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)561 918 93-0