Old Cemetery with Chapel 

In the years  1810 to 1813 the first municipal cemetery in the North was built on the Western Heights in Flensburg according to the plans of the architect Axel Bundsen (1768 - 1832). At that time, it was still outside the city gates, in the immediate vicinity of the English landscape gardens of the merchant Peter Clausen Stuhr (died 1820) and the merchants Andreas Christiansen sen. (1743 -1811) and junior (1780 - 1831). The old Cemetery, which has remained almost unchanged to this day, is one of the most important monuments of classicism in Schleswig-Holstein.

Idea of a communal burial place - implementation of a world view

Until the 18th century, it was customary to bury the death in inner-city graveyards right next to the church. But with the growing number of inhabitans, which had more than doubled in Flensburg in the 18th century, the need for burial places also grew. The churchyards were hopelessly overcrowded and, in the context of the Enlightenment with its new ideas of health and hygiene, the relocation of the cemeteries outside the city gates was one of the most urgent postulates.

Death was now unerstood as a natural part of life and thus of nature itself. It was the transition to the infinity of nature aund its creator. The view of nature as God`s creation puts free nature on an equal footing with the central space of the church. Only through this new relationship to death can the immediate vicinity of the cemetery and the gardens of Stuhr and Christiansen be explained.

Planning / Constuction

Following a decree of the Danish king in 1807 to mowe the cremeteries to the outskirts of cities for hygienic reasons, corresponding ideas for Flensburg were taken up again. A commission, which included P. Stuhr and A. Christiansen jr., dealt with the plans for an out-ot-town cemetery, which received the full approval of the government. In the end, the decision was made in favor of the uneven rampart area between Stuhr*s an Christiansen's gardens.

Construction of the cemetery began in 1810. The architect Axel Bundsen, who had been trained in Copenhagen, was responsible for the overall management; the new cemerety was ceremonially inaugurated on 25th June 1813. The head gardener and warden of the new Flensburg Cremetery was V. H. Munderloh, who was in charge of the cremetery from 1813 until his death in 1872.

The northern part of the cremetery and the southern end were designed as "garden sections", between which were the strictly geometrically arrranged grave fields, around which wound a wide driveway. In the east and north the cremetery was supportet by a cyclopean wall based an ancient models.


The chapel was built according to the plans by Axel Bundsen at the northern end of cemetery as a symbolic gateway from this word to the next.

On a square floor plan, Bundsen biult a 1 1/2 story central building with a dome and two single-story side extensions. In doing so, he combines architectural styles from Egypt, Greek antiquity and the Italian Renaissance in one building.

By passing through the large entrance gate, one leaves the level of this world and is prepared by the funeral service in the chapel for the afterlife, which one subsequently enters when the rear gate is opened. The benches for the mourners and the pulpit are arranged in a circle, which can be completely closed by two semi-circular sliding grids during the funeral service, thus symbolizing the ring of the life. The stucco work in the chapel interior was made by the Tadei workshop and symbolizes the idea of rebirth.

The chapel in the only building in the cemetery and the core of the complex. All necessary funktions, such as chapel room, mortuary, equipment room, carriage shed and appartment for the cemetery caretaker wehe combined here in one building.

Design - Ground plane

The Old Cremetery with its elongated drop-shaped ground plan has the outline of an ancient sarcophagus. In Flensburg we find the model only a few steps away in today's Christiansenpark. Here there is a grotto with an ancient human sacophagus from around 400 B.C., which has this elongated drop shape.

The function of the cemetery is expressed by this layout. Due to this symbolic-aesthetic conception of the building, the Flensburg Cemetery belongs to a series of rare and expressive revolutionary architectures that have their origin in France.


Tombs reflect the social structure of a community; they show the personal fates and social conditions of the deceased, and bear witness to the way death and the death were dealt with at differend times - here in Flensburg from 1813 to 1853.

No other cemetery has preserved as many classicist and neo-gothic graves as the Old Cemetery. Particulary notewhorthy are the cast-iron tomb of the Christiansen family from 1829, designed by the Berlin master builder K. F. Schinkel (1781 to 1841), or the burial plot from 1825 of the Görrissen family, with a sphinx that is said to habe been made by the Berlin sculptor C. D. Rauch (1777 to 1857).

The graves in the southern part were raised araund the middle of the 19th century and replaced by a military cemetery for the soldiers who died in the Schleswig Wars.