Long waits for funerals cause freezer shortage

Sweden has the longest waiting periods in the world from death to burial, resulting in a major space shortage at crematoriums. As a result, a crematorium has been forced to expand the freezers to make more room for the dead.

“Before, people used to prioritise funerals,” cemetery manager Kalle Hansson told newspaper Norrköpings Tidningar in southeastern Sweden. “Now, people unfortunately prioritise their calendars more. This is evident especially around major holidays and vacations.”

On average, 23 days elapses before a funeral ceremony takes place for the dead in Sweden. For the 80 percent of Swedes who are cremated, it takes an average of another 64 days before they are buried, according to figures from newspaper Fonus Nyheter.

Last year, a government report proposed setting the maximum time between death and burial at one month instead of the current two months. However, Hansson does not believe this will help significantly.

“They should have embraced this long ago,” he said. “The government and Sweden’s parliament, the Riksdag, must legislate it,” he told Norrköpings Tidningar.

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