Radboud Universiteit

School Digs Grave For Students To Lie In And ‘Think About Death’

University is supposed to be a time of fun, excitement, wonder, and occasionally drinking a little too much from time to time. So, it's no wonder that one school in the Netherlands embraced this by digging their students a grave!

The morbid school in question is Radboud University located in the Netherlands.

YouTube | Studentenkerk Nijmegen

The art project was set up by the school's chapel in an attempt to get students to think about death, their life, and the impact that they can make during their time here on Earth.

Just what you want to think about on a Friday morning when you're hungover as hell stumbling into a lecture.

The posters for the "Purification grave" read, "Memento Mori".

Radboud Universiteit

Memento Mori is Latin for "Remember you will die," and the posters specifically state that no phones or books are allowed in the grave.

The purpose of this is to completely isolate you from your surroundings, leaving you with what you will ultimately be left with — just yourself, and the ground.

The grave was meant to be a temporary exhibition back in 2011.

YouTube | Studentenkerk Nijmegen

However, after its initial run, the grave was kept open permanently.

Students who wish to lie in the grave can book in via email, and leave all of their belongings at a locker in the school chapel for their relaxing time in the grave.

This form of therapy has some people divided.

Radboud Universiteit

Registered psychotherapist Gayle Hammill explained their positive and negative thoughts on this form of therapy as such, in an interview with The Tab:

"In my opinion this form of self care brings up many schools of thought. Firstly switching off from the sensory overload of everyday life can be hugely beneficial as our brains have not yet fully evolved to deal with 24/7 stimulus [...]

"On the negative side this form of self care would most definitely need to be closely screened to ensure psychological safety for example, avoid this if you have been recently bereaved and are in a traumatic grief process or if you experienced any historical abuse or trauma, this could be potentially a harmful trigger."

However, some students would have preferred a therapy dog to a grave.

Facebook | Radboud Universiteit

Radboud University has a roster of somewhere around 22,000 students, and some of them were a little uneasy about the grave, with one student taking to Twitter to write:

"you might think UK unis offering therapy dogs instead of counseling is bad, but at my uni they have this thing where they will let you lie in a grave for a while and think about life." — @SPYKIDS2

There is also apparently a minimum and maximum time that can be spent in the grave.

According to one student who took to Twitter about the grave, there is "a maximum time of three hours and a minimum of thirty minutes."

This does beg the question of what happens if you stray either side of these boundaries? Do angered chapel workers drag you out like grave-robbers, or push you back in if you haven't spent sufficient time in the grave?

This is not the only death-centred activity that the university offers, either.

Facebook | Bildung Nijmegen

The university's website also advertises a "Death Cafe."

The death cafe is an occasional workshopping-style meeting during which students are invited to come down and share their own personal experiences with death — which does seem like a more straightforward way of dealing with death than lying in a grave.

It is very important for people to talk more about death.

YouTube | Studentenkerk Nijmegen

While it may seem like this university has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with death, the figures show an unsettling high proportion of people in the Netherlands do not think about their own death.

According to a recent study, only one third of people in the Netherlands will talk about their own mortality.

However, this is far from just a problem confined to the Netherlands.

Statistics show that Americans are similarly uncomfortable with this topic.

YouTube | Studentenkerk Nijmegen

According to an article by the Huffington Post, 27% of American adults have not given any thought to planning for the end of their life. However, a staggering 90% believe that planning for your death is important.

As the elderly population is on the rise, the importance of preparing for your death cannot be understated.

Would you consider getting in the grave?

YouTube | Studentenkerk Nijmegen

I'm very torn about whether or not I think I could spend half an hour in here. It does actually seem like a good idea for certain reasons; however, my brain simply struggles to allow thoughts of lying in a grave to enter my head without causing a severe amount of anxiety.

Perhaps we all do need to think more about our own mortality, but the manner in which we do it must be something that we are comfortable with. Talking to family and friends about it seems like a more comfortable manner to approach this topic — although who really wants to be that guy bringing everyone down in the pub?

h/t: Vice, The Tab