Find out about funeral arrangements, funeral allowance and repatriation of remains...
After death, the deceased is brought to the mortuary or funeral home where a civil or religious ceremony will take place before interment. Embalming is generally not done in Luxembourg, therefore services are closed-casket.
If a body is to be transported outside of Luxembourg, the deceased's remains can be embalmed. The funeral home can make these arrangements and there is an additional fee for this service.
Wooden caskets are common in Luxembourg, however, zinc-lined, hermetically sealed caskets are required for transport of remains more than 350 Km or by airplane. The funeral home can assist with the purchase of a casket.
In Luxembourg, burial is much more common than cremation, although cremation is growing in popularity. Ashes may not be kept in a private residence and must either be deposited in a columbarium, scattered in a designated plot or garden, or taken outside of Luxembourg (the funeral home can arrange for shipment abroad). If a decision has not been made regarding how the ashes are to be dealt with, they can be left temporarily at a funeral home until arrangements are made.
Burial plots and family vaults are owned by the local commune and rented for 15 or 30 year periods. Only those with a valid licence (obtained from the commune) and their direct ascendants and descendants (and spouses) may be buried in Luxembourg. Burial in Luxembourg is not limited to residents. The commune maintains cemeteries however it is up to the families to maintain their family tomb.
The purchase of a memorial marker (gravestone) can be arranged through the commune or funeral home; they are relatively expensive (from several thousand Euros each).
In the event of the death of a person insured by Luxembourg Social Security (or a stillborn child) it is possible to claim a small state benefit. This is to cover burial costs, the coffin, flowers, transportation, cremation or burial, obituary and Town Hall taxes and expenses. The benefit is reduced to 20 percent of the funeral allowance in the event of the death of a still born child and 50 percent of the allowance for children under six. These benefits will be paid directly to the funeral home, with any leftover money paid to survivors who lived with the deceased. The benefits are capped and reviewed on a yearly basis.
- The Ministry of Social Security (Ministère de la Sécurité Sociale) have details on the funeral allowance (in French)
Repatriation of Remains
If burial or cremation is to take place outside of Luxembourg the funeral home will make many of the arrangements to transport the remains to the final resting place. A funeral home at the final destination must be secured and should coordinate with the Luxembourg funeral home.
If a coffin is to be transported, it must be zinc-lined, hermetically sealed and must be accompanied by the death certificate and a statement from the funeral home that the only contents are the remains of the deceased. If ashes in an urn are being transported, they must also be accompanied by the death certificate and a statement from the funeral home that the only contents are the ashes of the deceased.
If the death is a result of an accident, murder or suicide, repatriation of remains will take longer than if the death occurred due to natural causes.
The death must be registered (as outlined above) and whoever reports the death must state that the body is to be repatriated so that documentation can be prepared.
- For UK citizens, the GOV.UK has a detailed section on repatriation and can help British nationals
- US citizens can get information on the process for repatriation from the US Embassy
- Australian citizens can obtain information from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on repatriation