Photograph of Gerhard Armauer Hansen’s urn 

Photograph of Armauer Hansen’s urn. Leprosy Museum St. Jørgen's Hospital.

This photograph of an urn, with Armauer Hansen’s name written in ink, is part of the museum’s collection. We know almost nothing about it, other than that it in all probability contained Hansen’s ashes, and that it is said to have been interred under the plinth of the bust in the garden outside Bergens Museum.

Both Armauer Hansen and senior consultant Daniel C. Danielssen advocated the introduction of cremation in Norway, and they were key members of the cremation society, Bergen likbrendingsforening, which was founded in 1890. The arguments for the introduction of crematoria were lack of space in rapidly growing cities, sanitary conditions and infection risk. Cremation was first permitted in 1897, and 10 years later the country’s first crematorium opened in the chapel at Møllendal in Bergen. When Hansen was cremated in 1912, it had been in use for five years. 

When Danielssen died in 1894, cremation was still not allowed in Norway. Since he had a strong desire to be cremated after his death, Hansen embarked on a journey with another of Danielssen’s closest associates. They transported Danielssen’s body by steamship to the nearest crematorium – in Gothenburg.

Møllendal chapel. From the book "Norges kirker".
Møllendal Chapel, where Norway’s first crematorium was established in 1907.
Photo: Norges Kirker

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