skip to main content

27 maart 2013: Meertens Ethnology Lecture over herinneringsbomen

Plaats: Meertens Instituut
Tijd: 16.00 uur – 17.30 uur
Prof. dr. dr. Markus Walz zal in zijn lezing aandacht besteden aan herinneringsbomen, bomen die als metaforen voor leven, liefde of dood gekozen worden om personen en/of gebeurtenissen te herdenken. Hij zal de omgang met herinneringsbomen analyseren, het fenomeen in de sociale en religieuze context plaatsen en uitleggen hoe de herinneringsbomen als indicator kunnen worden gezien van een zich veranderende herinneringscultuur.
Hieronder vindt u de uitnodiging en een samenvatting in het Engels. 


Invitation for the 16th Meertens Ethnology Lecture, Wednesday March 27, 2013 

Prof. dr. Markus Walz  

Professor of Theoretical and Historical Museology at the University of Applied Science,
Leipzig, Germany

‘The Green Cenotaph’. Donation of Trees as a New Manifestation of Commemoration

One of the fundraising programmes, widely spread in Northern America and the UK, deals with the donation of public trees. The expressions “commemorative tree” or “tree of memory” indicate the proposition to dedicate such trees to the commemoration of a deceased person. The topic of this lecture are the first analogous programmes by local authorities for the donation of trees in Germany. I will deal with four case studies: a big town in Saxonia, a middle-range town in Westphalia, a small town in Holstein and a countryside village in Hesse. These cases constitute different social contexts and show local variations of this kind of fundraising campaigns. The empirical fieldwork is concentrated on the individual texts on donators’ plaques and on the indications of commemorative visits of those trees. Commemorative trees are chosen as a metaphor for life, love, home or death, and as well as a carrier of memorial materials.
Commemorative trees are also one of the various, replaceable options for expressing commemoration, mostly with idealized descriptions of personal relationships to the deceased. Commemorative trees at the cemeteries, urban places or within reafforestation, attract a comparable use by the surviving relatives and therefore the visuals of these different locations are changing: cemetery arrangements are entering town and forest, while inside the cemetery, typical memorial decorations shift from the exclusive use on graves to both graves and trees.
The analogy of this new cultural practice to cenotaphs accentuates its function as a memorial monument at distance from the burial place, permitted by the authorities if a fee is paid. Within this perspective, the commemorative tree represents an unintended additional element to the secularization of funeral services and burials, but exemplifies as well that individual commemoration is moving from the privacy of the traditional settings – church or cemetery – to the public sphere.
Time:  16:00 -17:30  (drinks after)
Place: Meertens Instituut, Joan Muyskenweg 25, Amsterdam 
Registration and information: Sophie Elpers, e-mail, tel. 020 – 4628531
The Meertens Institute for Research and Documentation of Language and Culture in the Netherlands organizes the Meertens Ethnology Lectures two or three times a year. Guest speakers are invited to present their recent research in the area of Ethnology or related disciplines.