Tag Archives: Roermond

No Wall Shall Divide

In the 19th century, separation of Dutch society into groups by religion and associated political beliefs (known as pillars) meant that many people had little or no personal contact with people from another pillar. Within the graveyard of Roermond in the Netherlands is a dividing wall separating Protestant and Catholic burials.

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Married for 40 years Colonel J.W.C. van Gorkum was a Protestant, and noblewoman J.C.P.H. van Aefferden was a Roman Catholic. When the Colonel died in 1880 his wife knew that society would not allow her to be buried next to him. The solution was ingenious. Van Aefferden made arrangements for the Colonel to be buried near the wall, and she would be buried in the same location on the other side of the wall.

Two hands clasping across the divide symbolizes their love and union, and no doubt a visual rebuff against Dutch society at the time.

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COL Jacobus Warnerus Constantinus van Gorkum (10 Jan 1809–29 Aug 1880)

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Josephina Carlina Petronela Hubertina van Aefferden (28 Jun 1820–29 Nov 1888)

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