SLU news

Eternal rest and mobility – a study of the largest relocation of human remains in Sweden

Published: 09 December 2020

With the on-going move of Kiruna, due to the mine expansion, comes the moving of a church and a cemetery. The Kiruna church, the Maria chapel with its columbarium and a memorial grove plus 5 000 deceased will be moved. It is the largest relocation of human remains in Sweden.

In a collaboration between Umeå University and SLU, two researchers will be studying this unique case as a part of the research project: ‟Mobile NecRopolis: The potential, effects and meaning of large scale move of human remains in Sweden”, that was recently granted funding by Formas, Swedish Reserarch Council for Sustainable Development . The researchers in the projects are Roger Marjavaara, Associate Professor at the Department of Geography, Umeå University and Carola Wingren, Professor at the Division of Landscape Architecture, SLU.

The researchers will be mapping forthcoming need for relocation of cemeteries. Climate changes – with rising sea levels and erosions – and increasing demands for exploitation due to growing cities, are future threats to many cemeteries. They will also study the Kiruna relocation. Through questionnaires, they will map the views of various groups of citizens and stakeholders, on the move of the human remains.

The purpose of the project is to contribute to strategies for future relocations to be carried through with respect for people’s need for continuity when it comes to place identity, personal memories and cultural heritage.

The project will be running 2021-2023.

You can read more on the project webpage: