This university lets students lie in a “purification grave” to reconcile with death (video)

While some universities including the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology are making news headlines for good reputation and excellence, others are getting famous for weird things.

This university lets students lie in “purification grave to reconcile with death (video)

Radboud University, in the Dutch city of Nijmegen, has gone viral for letting its students lie in graves for between 30 minutes and 3 hours, which it claims would make the students reflect on their lives and what matters to them.


According to a report by, the “purification grave” at Radboud University is at the same time a modern form of memento mori and an invitation to think about what is important in life.

The grave was reportedly dug in 2009 as part of a two-year project that ended in 2011 but it has been reintroduced.

Students at the university, and well as those at the neighbouring HAN University of Applied Science can sign up to lay in the several feet-deep holes in the ground for 30 minutes up to three hours. They are not allowed to take their phones or any books with them in the grave, allowing them to focus on their surroundings and their inevitable demise, reports.


Information about the practice on the Radboud University website reads: “Since the theme of mortality and thinking about your life remains a current topic, we have dug another grave in the garden where you can lie down. You can decide for yourself how long you want to do this for. Telephones and books in the grave are prohibited. You can also see it as a special place of meditation: below you the earth, above you the sky. You will then automatically notice what is going through your mind. Are you willing to take on that challenge? If you do not want to lie in the grave, you can also sit on the bench near the grave.”

It is reported that between 2009 and 2011 when the “purification grave” project was in session, only 39 students lay in it but since then, some other people have been patronizing the grave every week.

“There are no distractions. You do have to just lie there and think about stuff. You know when people say they have epiphanies when they’ve been on the toilet and forgot to bring their phone, or whatever? It’s like that, but on purpose,” a student Feona Kane justified the practice. 


Further justifying it was John Hacking, a chaplain at the student church and the man who dug the “purification grave”. According to him, death is inevitable, so students lying in the grave does not mean they are dead or calling for it.

Well, good luck to both the university and its students.

Watch the video below:



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