Annette Born presents ninth book: Where to, for what. Behind the scenes of death

Annette Born presents ninth book: Where to, for what. Behind the scenes of death
Annette Born presents ninth book: Where to, for what. Behind the scenes of death

April 1, 2024 at 4:59 PM

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ZEIST On March 1, Annette Born presented her ninth book: Where to, for what, with the subtitle: ‘behind the scenes of death’.

Annette explains how the book came about. “In addition to my work as an author, I have always had a fascination with death. I even considered a job in the funeral industry. But, death is also quite a bit scary. Still, the idea of ​​working in this special industry kept nagging at me. Scary or not, I wanted to experience it for myself. I applied for a job at a large funeral home and crematorium in Nieuwgein and was hired as a hostess. In this role, I was the center of the web together with my colleagues. Supervising funeral visits, assisting relatives, assisting the funeral directors, taking care of the coffee room. Everything you can imagine appears in this work. A job where you only get one chance to do more than well, where you perform at the cutting edge and where you have to deal with deep sadness. In this job I became acquainted with all the disciplines that come along during a funeral.”


“Not only my direct colleagues but also, for example, the team that does the final care. People who work for a company that offers all kinds of services in the field of death. Think of crimes, suicide, deaths that are discovered by chance. Funeral directors who specialize in children’s funerals, everything was discussed. I only had one question: How do you do that? How do you deal with your own emotions when you are hit?”

The author continues: “I continued this line in my mind. Because there are many more professions that demand a lot from a person. Think of a forensic detective. What does it do to him/her when you find a human remains? Children? How do we deal with deceased children? Something we all have to deal with in this profession.

During my work I conducted research and spoke to all these disciplines who visited our funeral home. It’s balancing on a thin line. Work where you can never give up, you cannot afford a single mistake, you are under time pressure and you also have your own emotions.

There is still the image that a funeral director takes care of the funeral cards and a funeral service. In this way we are doing the funeral director a disservice. Just as there is a lot of ignorance about the people who work with death. You are always on, live with the phone, make sure you are sometimes invisible and yet visible.”


In her book, Annette has portrayed twenty people who work with death. From the death attendant to the funeral director. From the funeral photographer to the forensic detective. From someone who provides extreme final care, i.e. making people who are no longer presentable, to a funeral director who only focuses on children’s funerals. Of course, more disciplines will be offered. She also interviewed two relatives of a suicide who openly and honestly talked about how important it was that they could say goodbye to their loved one. Annette: “The fact that they were able to physically say goodbye, which initially did not seem possible, has allowed them to experience their grieving process better. Saying goodbye to a closed coffin is very, very difficult.
Although I experienced a lot for my work, I spent a day with Rouwservice Nederland. This day made an unprecedented impression on me. In my book I describe everything I experienced during that day, because nothing is certain on a working day. One moment the employees are deployed to remove body parts from the track, the next moment they transport a deceased person to the funeral home chosen by the family. The only certainty you have on such a working day is that you drink coffee. Caffeine. The energy to keep going.”


“This book gives a face to all the people who are so important but in fact we see very little. I wanted to give them a platform without my book becoming a horror book. This book does not shy away from anything, but is written with great respect.

I ended the portraits with the question: ‘Are you afraid of death?’ The answers to this are very diverse. Death remains a great mystery to almost everyone.

While writing this book I was confronted with suicide myself. We had to deal with a very tragic event in our family. My niece lost her sons within three years. A drama that you cannot explain, let alone understand. Two boys who were both twenty-three years old. Died in the same month, in the same manner. With one difference, there was a three-year gap. My niece could not bear this horrible suffering. She decided to end her life after the death of her youngest son. This tragedy, with the grief fresh in my body, made me come very close to my feelings during the writing process. Maybe writing has even helped me sometimes. Although there were also days and nights when tears flowed on my keyboard.”

”I no longer work at the funeral home/crematorium. I have joined forces by combining my passions: writing, speaking, supporting relatives. I work as a funeral speaker, writing life stories that I recite during the funeral. I also assist the surviving relatives in this together with the funeral director.

There is always a lot to learn from writing. Something that I have often encountered in my previous books, with this book I touched the core of existence. I realize that not everyone is able to flutter through life. Life is quite complicated. Death is ultimately about life. What exactly is death? A transition? The road to paradise? To a God? Physical death is really death. Love each other. Don’t leave words unspoken. Don’t do anything you will regret later. Because it is pointless. Live!”

Annette’s book is available at all bookstores.

More information:

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Annette Born presents ninth book scenes death


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