Swiss village to rule on nude cemetery statue

Swiss village to rule on nude cemetery statue
Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/File
Authorities in the canton of Neuchâtel are to bring in new regulations over the size of tombstones and memorials after a two-metre high statue of a naked woman erected in a cemetery in the spring ruffled feathers in the local community.

The white limestone statue stands in the cemetery of Vaumarcus at the grave of a 90-year-old woman who died in 2013.

It was sculpted by her husband and holds huge sentimental value for the family, the woman’s son explained to the Neuchâtel daily L’Express.

But the eye-catching memorial has divided opinion in the village to the extent of becoming a point of discussion at council meetings.

“A statue of a naked woman in such a place seems inappropriate,” one local resident told newspaper Le Matin.

“And I don’t understand the intention – to provoke?”



According to Olivier Bovey, president of the municipal council, the problem isn’t the form of the statue but its size.

“The nudity – which is normal for a statue – doesn’t matter, it’s the size which is unusual,” he told Le Matin.

“We would like the monument to be shortened. We feel it’s possible to shave 30-40 centimetres from the plinth without distorting the statue.”

The council is in contact with the family “and the dialogue is positive and calm,” said Bovey.

The fate of this particular statue will be difficult to dictate, however, given it hasn’t broken any current regulations.

But the authorities are now debating new rules to limit the size of such memorials in the future.

“Above all we want to avoid a sort of height competition,” said Bovey or, in the words of one local councillor, prevent the cemetery finding itself with “the Eiffel tower”.

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