Reading between the lines: a comparison of 480 German and Dutch obituaries

Susanne Barth, Joris Jasper van Hoof, Ardion Daroca Beldad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Obituaries do not only announce the death of a significant other but also provide insights into how a society deals with death according to the norms governing the rituals of individuals within that society. This study aimed at investigating possible differences between German and Dutch obituaries, specifically in terms of visual and textual elements, information about the deceased, and funeral ceremony-related information. Data used to address the research questions were the contents of 240 German and 240 Dutch obituaries published in 10 different newspapers (6 in Germany, 4 in the Netherlands). Results of this study show that statistically significant differences between German and Dutch obituaries exist. While German obituaries use illustrations more than Dutch ones, Dutch obituaries provide more information, in general, than their German counterparts. The types of deceased-related information on German and Dutch obituaries also vary significantly. Moreover, Dutch obituaries provide more funeral ceremony-related information than German obituaries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-181
JournalOmega: journal of death and dying
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • METIS-302436
  • IR-89426


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