The number of entrepreneurs active in the funeral industry is growing every year and also faster than the number of people who die. Many people choose to work in the industry at a later age and employees of funeral companies continue their careers as self-employed workers, the Branchevereniging Certified Dutch Funeral Companies (BGNU) told NU.nl.
Figures from the Chamber of Commerce (KVK) show on Tuesday that more than 2,770 entrepreneurs are active in the funeral sector at the beginning of this year. Five years ago there were about 2,180. “We don’t research it, but if people make a career switch and want to work more with people, they choose the funeral industry”, says director Heidi van Haastert of the BGNU.
According to the director of the trade association, a factor in this is that employees of funeral companies choose the “icing on the cake” and start for themselves. “She does not appeal to the administrative part of the profession, but arranging the farewell for the people, that is. That’s the beauty of the profession. The day of the funeral is like a wedding, but sad.”
There is always a need for a flexible shell in the funeral industry, Van Haastert knows. “The work cannot be planned.” The figures from the Chamber of Commerce show that the number of funeral directors is growing faster than the number of residents in the Netherlands. But according to the trade association you don’t become a funeral director to get rich.
“You have to have at least a hundred funerals a year to earn a living,” says the BGNU director. “Our sector is not about making money. There are also many non-profit cooperatives active.”
‘Families often choose smaller groups themselves’
The corona pandemic has resulted in more deaths and adjustments in the industry. “We have to make do with what we have. We look together with the next of kin to see what is possible,” says Van Haastert. “A follow-up is still allowed, but people are not allowed to literally sit down.” Where the group size for funerals was previously limited to thirty people, it is now a maximum of one hundred.
“Families often choose smaller groups themselves. Moreover, not every funeral home has room for a hundred people, because the 1.5 meters distance must of course be kept.”