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Death

The funeral and cemetery office provides all services related to the burial of a deceased person and organises the memorial ceremony according to the wishes of the bereaved. A wide range of grave and cremation niche types including grave maintenance is available for the burial of the deceased in the municipal cemeteries.

What to do when someone dies

If a person dies at home

If someone dies at home, the family must first notify a physician. The deceased may not be taken to a mortuary before the physician pronounced death and issued a medical death certificate.

If a person dies in a hospital, retirement or nursing home

Nursing staff in hospitals, retirement and nursing homes are familiar with the procedure when a person dies. They will call a physician who pronounces the person’s death and issues a medical death certificate. The staff will send the original of the medical death certificate and the death notification to the civil registry office at the place of death. The family of the deceased usually receives a copy of both documents. The staff also informs the family about how long the deceased can remain in the room and whether the hospital, retirement or nursing home has a room in which the body can be laid out. As a rule, the staff also organises the transfer of the body to a mortuary where the family has time to bid farewell.

Accidental death and suicide

Accidental deaths or suicide must be reported to the police and a medical health officer will be consulted. In most cases, the deceased will be transferred to the Forensic Science Institute to clarify the time, cause, and manner of death. The postmortem examination can take several days. The deceased may not be buried or cremated before the Forensic Science Institute has performed the examination.

Register a death

All deaths occurring in the city of Zurich must be registered at the funeral and cemetery office within two days.

Deaths must be registered in person by a relative or a person with the power of attorney to act on the deceased’s behalf. Please bring the following documents (if available):

  • A copy of the medical death certificate; if the person died at home, the original is required
  • A copy of the death notification if the person died in a hospital, retirement or nursing home
  • Confirmation of registration (plus residence permit and passport if the deceased was a foreign national)
  •  Family certificate

Before making the journey to our offices in the city hall, please give some thought to the following questions:

  • Did the deceased express last wishes?
  • Is the deceased to be buried or cremated?
  • When and where is the funeral to take place?
  • What type of grave do you prefer?

Pre-arrange your funeral

If you are a resident of the city of Zurich, you can record your wishes in advance free of charge at the Funeral and Cemetery Office. The person(s) registering the death will be informed of your wishes regarding the funeral.

Undertaker Michael on the channel SRF Virus «True Life»

Michael, an undertaker with the funeral and cemetery office of the city of Zurich, is accompanied by the SRF Virus «True Life» team. He provides insight into his job and shares about the fascination behind it.

In an SRF 1 programme of January 9, 2017, employees of the funeral and cemetery office provide information about their work and the manifold available options for funerals.

In an SRF 1 programme of January 9, 2017, employees of the funeral and cemetery office provide information about their work and the manifold available options for funerals.

What is the most common cause of death in Zurich?

You can find informative mortality statistics here.

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