Amsterdam hospital set to research decomposing bodies in its courtyard

The AMC in Amsterdam

The Amsterdam Academic Medical Center (AMC) got authorization to bury bodies in their own small cemetery in order to study decomposition. According to the hospital, this study will be of great value to forensic investigators, the Volkskrant reports.

The scientists will bury bodies donated to science in this cemetery, which will be able to hold several dozen bodies. The bodies will be buried at a depth of up to 1 meter, with measuring apparatus to follow the decomposition. "We want to start the research mid this year and bury the first body." Roelof Jan Oostra, professor of anatomy at AMC, said to the newspaper.

The scientific cemetery will be located at a corner of the AMC grounds and will be circled with a 3 meter high fence of green cloth, so that nothing is visible to the public.  

For this study, AMC is working with researchers from the University of Amsterdam, the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands Forensic Institute and a team from the National Police. The expectation is that the study will be of great value in crime fighting - detectives regularly encounter bodies buried somewhere by criminals. Knowledge of the decomposition process can help determine how long someone has been deceased and under what circumstances the victim died.