Netherlands university offers grave for students to lie in and think about life

Claire Roberts
Students can book sessions from 30 minutes to 3 hours. — Picture via Facebook/University Radboud

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — A university in The Netherlands has come up with a unique way for students to contemplate life and death.

Lie in a grave.

Located at Radboud University, its latest offering has been reported by various news outlets.

The purpose-built grave is located behind the school’s chapel and students can book sessions to lie it in and meditate.

In asking students to sign up for the experience, the university’s website said that one can lie in it to reflect about life and what was important.

“A modern form of memento mori, which means that you are aware that you are mortal,” it added.

“So it’s an invitation along the lines of: make something out of your life.”

The university had earlier carried out a similar project from 2009 to 2011.

Telephones and books are prohibited.

A pillow and mat are provided to the user while it has been reported that you can use it for between 30 minutes and three hours.

The project was started by school chaplain John Hacking who told news outlet Ruptly that it was an opportunity for students to explore and appreciate life.

“The end of life, death, is a taboo, difficult for students death is very difficult to talk about. Especially when you are 18, 19, 20, years old.”

Vice reported in October that first phase only drew 39 people in the two years it was operational.

Response this time around, however, has been more encouraging with a few people using it every week.

Hacking said about 30 students have emailed asking to spend time in the grave since the beginning of the school year.

So far, 15 students have used it.

“When you are in the grave, you are not dead!” Hacking was reported as saying in Vice.

“Pretending to be dead, wanting to be dead — that’s not the intention of the grave at all. It’s only an invitation to make something of your life.”

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