New eBook shows Danish Graves in Thailand

“Danish Graves in Thailand” is an eBook published by the Heritage Section of the Scandinavian Society Siam. It presents the status of the currently 68 Danish grave that have been selected for the ongoing maintenance and restoration project supported by EAC’s Public Fund, Asia House, India Quay, Copenhagen.

The book is authored by Flemming Winther Nielsen, Claus Gundersen and Gregers Møller.

While most people prefer books in their physical paper form, the eBook format offers in this case several advantages over traditional publishing. First of all active links: It means that for every grave, an interactive map is shown. The reader can click on this map and a Google map will open in a new window, showing you the location of the cemetery. From there you can ask for direction to go there yourself.

Another benefit of the eBook format is, that readers can click on each page and zoom in on the images by using the navigation tools over the page spread – then enjoy the very high-resolution close up details of each stone that makes it possible to read even the fine print.

The graves are sorted alphabetically by their residents’ last name. Biographical data – albeit in Danish – are available for many of the deceased if looked up in the book “Danske i Siam 1858 – 1942” by A. Kann Rasmussen (1986). If mentioned here, the reference number, that will lead you to the bio data is the year of arrival in Siam.

In most cases a single photo shows the current status (October 2012 – February 2013) of the grave. Some are in a condition that does not call for a renovation. Some have just been washed down to remove the soot and grime that comes from modern day smog in Bangkok. The regular flooding during the rainy season contributes to the deterioration.

In some cases, the work undertaken has been more substantial. If possible, these works have been documented with photos showing before, during and after the work. Examples are Consul Købke’s burial place in Bangkok, the young Knud Lyne Rahbek’s walled-in burial place in Muak Lek in Saraburi province and the two graves of Colonel Kolls and Captain Haurevitz’s at the Presbyterian Cemetery in Trang province in southern Thailand.

Outside Bangkok you also find the Graves of Dr Carl C. Hansen and his daughters at the Presbyterian cemetery in Lampang province and the grave of the most well-known Captain Hans Marqvard Jensen which is now to be found at ‘Chiang Mai Foreign Cemetery’ in Chiang Mai from its first location in Lampang.

The vast majority of the photos throughout the book are taken by Claus Gundersen. Some photos are by Flemming Winther Nielsen, Gregers Møller, Tinakorn Sirithawanakul, Pissiee Bunt, Pasu Saowo.

Many stones originally carried lettering in lead. Some of the letters have disappeared. But the small holes drilled in the headstones following the frame of the letters and then filled with lead, enable us still to read the names. Unfortunately the lead gives a grey coloring to the stones that can not be washed of.

According to the authors, the publication is a ‘half way’ status of sorts.

“There are still at least 20 graves not yet found (no registrant exists), but they are there – somewhere. We will register these too and decide possible renovation,” the foreword explains.

 

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