Resomation, Saponification and Taxidermy

Still Life 02 - with Sabrina Franken, Amber Veel, Liza Witte and Susanne Duijvestein

26 Jun 2019

Looking for a more eco friendly alternative for burying or cremating a dead body? How about dissolving it? Alkaline hydrolysis – also known as water cremation, aquamation or resomation - was originally marketed as a way to rapidly decompose animal bodies and now in Canada, parts of the US and probably soon in the Netherlands it is also available for human bodies. Quiet, gentle, flameless and almost zero-emission.

Still Life is a programme series about death with curator Susanne Duijvestein.

Tickets / Facebook


26-06-2019 Susanne Duijvestein resomating a muskrat - During our Resomation, Saponification and Taxidermy presentations and Designing Death workshops we observed the meaning of death in our society and looked at sustainable scenarios for the future. With talks from Sabrina Franken, Amber Veel, Liza Witte and Susanne Duijvestein.     Anisa Xhomaqi

Alkaline hydrolysis is a process that uses water and potassium hydroxide under high pressure and high temperature to reduce the body to its basic elements, mainly amino acids. Bones and teeth will not dissolve and the remains will be returned to the relatives. Titanium hip joints and breast implants will remain intact.

This evening, hosted by funeral director and Still Life curator Susanne Duijvestein, we will deep dive into this resomation process. We invited Sabrina Franken, COO of funeral company Yarden, to introduce resomation and explain the advantages compared to the current options. Dutch taxidermic artist Amber Veel will share her research on skin, and present some ideas of protein-based coffins and shrouds. And again, we will start a small experiment to see how the alkaline hydrolysis process works.

Susanne Duijvestein

After eleven years in cooperative banking, Susanne Duijvestein switched into funeral business. Being young, progressive and independent, she reflects on the ethics and aesthetics in this world, but she also likes to reflect on how we relate to our own transience, what we eventually leave behind on this planet and how we can reclaim a non-commercial funeral culture again. Susanne is curator Pro Mortem at Mediamatic.

Sabrina Franken

Sabrina Franken is  Chief Operational Officer of Yarden, one of the biggest Dutch funeral companies. Yarden started investigating alkaline hydrolysis in 2011 as an alternative for burial and cremation and took a pioneering role, resulting in a proposed amendment in the law in January 2019.

Amber Veel

Amber Veel is an artist working on skinning, tanning and taxidermy. Before she went to the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, she worked as a district nurse and was always fascinated about skin, as an entrance to get a grip on to our existence in a complex world. The past years, Amber has specialized in plant-based tanning.

Liza Witte

Liza Witte is a product designer and "3D storyteller ." She uses traditional techniques and different materials to create a personal story. Witte gives soapmaking workshops at Mediamatic and will talk about transforming fat into soap.

Still Life: Resomation, Saponification and Taxidermy
Wednesday, the 26th of June
Start 20:30
Mediamatic Biotoop, Dijksgracht 6, Amsterdam
Tickets: Full price €7,50 | Discount €5,25* | +€2,50 at the door | (including €1 administration fee)

*We give a discount to students and artists. If this applies to you we will ask to see your kvk nr/portfolio or student card for this option. For questions please send an email to

You will receive a 25% discount on our 3-course menu at Mediamatic ETEN upon presentation of your ticket!
(only valid on day of event)


Illustration of the resomation process - Image by: Anta Marija  Antanaviciute


Taxidermic laboratory studies - Amber Veel


Susanne Duijvestein introducing the the presentation - Anisa Xhomaqi


Liza Witte speaking about the possibilities of turning fat into soap - Anisa Xhomaqi

With: Liza Witte

Guest touching human soap - Anisa Xhomaqi


Sabrina Franken from funeral company Yarden speaking on the pros of resomation - Anisa Xhomaqi


Visitors asking a question at Still Life: Resomation, Saponification and Taxidermy - Anisa Xhomaqi


Amber Veel speaking about her taxidermy practice - Anisa Xhomaqi


Visitors at Still Life listening to Liza Witte - Anisa Xhomaqi


Resomation of a muskrat - Anisa Xhomaqi


Public taking in the details of the Resomation process during Still Life -


A typical resomation chamber - Bio cremation or resomation is based on a process called alkaline hydrolysis. The corpse is placed in a chamber that is filled with 95% water and 5% alkali that is then heated to around 160°C or 320 °F. The water never reaches the boiling point and instead, breaks the body down into its chemical components. In other words, skin, muscle and tissue are dissolved, leaving only the bones. This process takes around 3 hours to complete. Once the process is complete, what is left is a greenish brown…