About the Study Group
© Museum für Sepulkralkultur, Kassel, Bildarchiv
Photo: Maja Wirkus

About the Study Group

Since its foundation in 1951, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e. V. (Study Group Cemetery and Monument) has been the leading cultural institution in the field of cemetery and funeral culture in Germany. With nearly 70 years of experience and a membership structure that includes a wide range of professions, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft has become a unique international network with outstanding expertise.

The members of the Study Group are active in research and science, garden and landscape planning, grave and tomb design, funeral services, cemetery administration, social services and palliative and hospice work. Therefore, the Study Group is a competent partner in all questions of cemetery, funeral and mourning culture.

The Study Group sees itself as a forum for the discussion of current developments and as a platform for the presentation of future-oriented projects. It is committed to the preservation and protection of traditional forms of cemetery and funeral culture, where they are integrated into social life as a component of cultural identity. The Study Group focuses on the professional groups that are confronted with dying, death, mourning and remembrance in their daily work. For people from these occupational groups, the working group offers counselling and further training in various formats.

These include advice on the planning and design of cemeteries, the design of gravestones and questions of cemetery law. The seminars and advanced training courses include, for example, offers for people from the helping professions, on the practice of burial and a customer-oriented approach to relatives, on the design of cemeteries and graves and on the conception of cemetery tours. Extensive conferences on topics from the field of cemetery and burial culture take place regularly.

The members of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e. V. are united by their interest in the manifold aspects of sepulchral culture. Motivation for a membership in the society is, for example, the commitment to the preservation and care of cultural-historical evidence of the sepulchral culture, the work on new design concepts or the intention to integrate the cultural values of the association into the professional field of activity as well as scientific research.



Annual Activity Reports


(available in German language only)

annual activity reports 2020 as PDF

annual activity reports 20219 as PDF

annual activity reports 2018 as PDF

annual activity reports 2017 as PDF

annual activity reports 2016 as PDF

annual activity reports 2015 as PDF

annual activity reports 2014 as PDF

annual activity reports 2013 as PDF

annual activity reports 2012 as PDF



Founded in 1951, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal (Study Group Cemetery and Monument) advocates the preservation of traditional cemetery culture, primarily where it is locally recognised and integrated into social life. In particular, the Study Group seeks to promote regional characteristics in this area, because they express part of the cultural diversity in our country. At the same time, the Study Group has recognized the need to give space to new and innovative forms of burial and cemetery. It therefore sees itself as a forum for the presentation and discussion of new ideas. Furthermore, it wants to support efforts that it has recognized as groundbreaking in order to promote the interest of citizens in funeral and cemetery culture. New conceptions and ideas are to be actively sought, collected, publicly communicated and, if necessary, the legal prerequisites created so that they can be put into practice.

As a cultural institution for the promotion of humane values in funeral and cemetery culture, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal derives its identity and the criteria for its actions from the objective of placing people at the centre of all considerations. The mourners and surviving dependants as well as those persons who have already taken care of their own burial and burial place during their lifetime are the real bearers of the funeral and cemetery culture, and therefore their needs have priority. All impulses and guidelines for cemetery culture must be measured by whether they serve people.

The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V., together with its institutions, is ideologically neutral, but is committed to the cultural heritage of the Christian Western tradition. It sees itself as an institution to ensure the research of the burial and cemetery culture as well as the corresponding dissemination of assured knowledge and to enable advice oriented towards this. The interest in current questions about sepulchral culture must be kept awake or awakened. The Museum for Sepulchral Culture makes an essential contribution to this. On the other hand, the working group sees itself as an association of people professionally connected with funeral and cemetery culture as well as interested laymen who investigate factual questions and help to implement the results of the research.

The office of the Study Group as well as the Central Institute and Museum for Sepulchral Culture see themselves as service providers for a multicultural society. With the knowledge and expertise of the staff, the facilities "Library" and "Archives" as well as the existing network with other professional and scientific institutions, they can research the questions and problems of their members and beyond that scientifically and mediate neutrally. With the help of the continuous support of the institutional sponsors (Federal Government, State of Hesse, Protestant Church of Germany, Association of German Dioceses, City of Kassel, State of Berlin) and numerous private donors, the working group maintains the Museum for Sepulchral Culture as a special place of communication for the general public. It thus fulfils its self-imposed task of informing the public about current developments in personal and social dealings with dying, death, mourning and commemoration. It does this on the basis of scientific research of the past and present.

Three decades after the opening of the Museum for Sepulchral Culture, both the presentation of the collection and the two parts of the museum building require a fundamental redesign and renovation. Due to the profound social changes that have changed the sepulchral culture over the last two decades, thematic gaps in the permanent exhibition must be filled. In addition, cooperation with clubs and associations and the events associated with them have increased in recent years in a way that could not have been foreseen when the museum was conceived in the late 1980s. The structural conditions are now to be created for this as well, so that the success story of a museum that was "unimaginable" for a long time can be continued in the coming decades in a multi-faceted way.

The board of directors of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V., Kassel, in September 2018

Association statutes

The statutes are currently being revised.

Here you can view the current statutes of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e. V. (PDF, German)

Here you can find the statute with proposed changes for the general meeting on May 20, 2022. (PDF, German)



The federal government approves 7 million for the renovation and redesign of the museum.


Dr. Dirk Pörschmann is the new managing director of the Study Group Cemetery and Monument e.V. and director of the Museum and Central Institute for Sepulchral Culture.


With the departure of Professor Dr. Reiner Sörries, the long-standing managing director and director, Gerold Eppler, deputy director and museum educator, takes over the provisional management of the institution.


The founding director of the Museum for Sepulchral Culture, Dr. Hans-Kurt Boehlke, dies at the age of 85.


The first volume of the "Large encyclopaedia on funeral and cemetery cultur" is published.


Opening of the Museum for Sepulchral Culture. Professor Dr. Reiner Sörries becomes director of the Museum for Sepulchral Culture and managing director of the Study Group Cemetery and Monument e.V.


Laying of the foundation stone of the Museum for Sepulchral Culture on the vineyard in Kassel with founding director Hans-Kurt Boehlke.


Architectural competition for the design of the new location for the museum, central institute and study group. The model of the Munich architect Wilhelm Kücker wins.


The general meeting of the Study Group Cemetery and Monument decides to establish the "Foundation Central Institute and Museum for Sepulchral Culture".


Foundation of the Central Institute for Sepulchral Culture for basic research in sepulchral culture.

In the same year, the first, highly regarded exhibition of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e. V. "Wie die Alten den Tod gebildet – Wandlungen der Sepulkralkultur 1750-1850" (How the ancients formed death – transformations of the sepulchral culture 1750-1850) is opened in Bonn.

The exhibition catalogue establishes the series of "Kassel Studies on Sepulchral Culture".


The Kassel branch of the study group is established in Haus Boehlkes at Cauerstraße 14.

The journal "Friedhof und Denkmal" (Cemetery and Monument) is published in its 1st year.


Dr. Hans-Kurt Boehlke becomes the first full-time employee of the study group.


Reestablishment of the association as "Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e. V." (Study Group Cemetery and Monument e. V.) under Werner Lindner, who is managing director until 1959.


The Reich Committee for Cemetery and Monuments is founded in Dresden in the course of the cemetery and grave reform.


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Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.

Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur

Museum für Sepulkralkultur

Weinbergstraße 25–27
D-34117 Kassel | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)561 918 93-0