It’s rare these days that two people getting married would cause a scandal. We’re of the mind that if two adults love one another, then we wish them good luck.
That’s not always the way things were, though. All kinds of things — sometimes things we don’t even consider anymore — used to keep people apart. In the Netherlands in nineteenth century, it was primarily class and religion that kept people sticking with their own kind.
But in 1842, without a care for what society might think, a 22-year-old woman married a 33-year-old colonel in the Dutch cavalry. But the age difference wasn’t the reason for the shock.
She was Jonkvroure J.C.P.H van Aefferden, a Catholic woman and member of the Dutch aristocracy. Her husband, Colonel J.W.C. van Gorcum, was a commoner, and a Protestant. Their marriage caused a stir in the town of Roermond, but the couple didn’t care.
They remained married for 38 years until van Gorcum passed away in 1880. As was custom, he was buried in the Protestant section of the local cemetery, which divided its occupants by faith. Different sections were allotted for Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, and each section was divided by a thick brick wall.
And if you were of a certain faith, you couldn’t be buried in an other section, which meant that van Aefferden wouldn’t be able to be buried next to her husband.
So she came up with a clever plan that’s still charming people today, and proving that space, death, and difference have nothing on love.
[H/T: Visual News]