After a death, the remains can be cremated. With cremation, the remains are burnt in a crematorium.Your Europe

You can organise the cremation yourself or hire a funeral director. Funeral directors take care of the entire organisation of the cremation, as well as the administrative side. You can find all the information you need about funeral directors in Belgium at

Request for cremation

To cremate a deceased person, you need authorisation from the civil registrar in the municipality where the person died.

The funeral director usually handles this request and arranges transport of the remains to the crematorium.

The following documents must be attached to the request for cremation:

  • A certificate from the doctor who certified the death, specifying whether it was a natural, violent or suspicious death. 
  • In the event of a natural death, you will need a second report drawn up by a doctor appointed by the local authority. 
  • If the report indicates a violent or suspicious death, you will need a cremation permit from the public prosecutor.

The ashes of the mortal remains

In accordance with the law, relatives may dispose of the ashes of the mortal remains in various ways. They may :

  • deposit them in an urn, which will be buried at the cemetery or placed in the cemetery columbarium 
  • scatter them on a cemetery lawn 
  • scatter them in the territorial sea adjacent to Belgian territory 
  • transferred abroad

The deceased may also have made written arrangements during their lifetime for their ashes to be buried, preserved or scattered elsewhere. The deceased may have indicated this in a will or made a request to the local authority.

Relatives may also choose to bury, preserve or scatter the ashes elsewhere. In this case, a joint written request is required from :

  • the spouse or person with whom the deceased was living in a common-law relationship 
  • parents or first-degree relatives
  • In the case of a minor, a written request from the parents or guardians is required.

Such a written request must be submitted to the Commune prior to cremation.


If you wish the ashes of a body to be buried or placed in a columbarium niche in the cemetery for a specific period, you must apply for a plot. The municipality determines the duration of the plot, up to a maximum of 50 years.

If you do not request a plot, the grave may be removed or the niche emptied after a period of 10 years.

You must apply for a plot with the local authority in the commune where the mortal remains are to be buried. Once you have paid the commune for the plot, the plot will be granted to you. The cost varies by municipality. 

When the plot expires, the grave will be removed. Renewals are possible.

For more information, contact the registry office of the commune where the body is to be buried or a funeral director.


For more information, contact the civil registry department of your municipality or visit these websites:


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Updated on 18 August 2023

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