- Title: NETHERLANDS: Dutch entrepreneur to preserve tattoos of the dead
- Date: 26th December 2013
- Summary: PHOTO OF HIRSCHFELD HOLDING A CONTRACT
- Embargoed: 10th January 2014 12:00
- Location: Netherlands
- Country: Netherlands
- Topics: Business,Quirky,People,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA58UG0389MFLRJX4J88ZSECE85
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: When Floris Hirschfeld's mother died two years ago, he had her portrait tattooed on his back to honour her memory. One day he hopes the image, skin and all, will adorn the wall of an art collector's home.
It might sound like a macabre Roald Dahl story, but could soon be reality with the help of a Dutch entrepreneur who has set up a business to preserve the tattoos of the dead.
"It's not that new idea, Johnny Depp always says like "when I die, I want to be in a museum with my tattoos", so we thought, let's find the way to see if we can really make that possible, so, everybody with tattoos has that idea, it's not a new idea, so we just found the way to actually do it," Peter Van Der Helm, the tattoo shop owner behind the concept, said.
Hirschfeld and about 30 other clients of the "Walls and Skin" tattoo parlour, which is tucked away in a canal house in the Dutch capital, have donated their skin to the company in a will and paid a few hundred euros.
Hirschfeld, an only child with no children of his own, does not yet know who will inherit his tattoo, but he knows he wants it saved.
"There are people who have stuffed animals in their homes, so why not skin, and if you look in certain old tattoo shops, there is always a jar with special water with a piece of skin in it and it just looks terrible, and this way it looks much better so I would say, if I can be preserved like this, yes, please," he said.
Hirschfeld's tattoos cover his body from the neck down.
To have their tattoos survive their death, clients interested just have to write a will and donate it to the tattoo shop.
"You need to write a will, last will and you need to agree that you donate your tattoo to us, or your skin actually, with the tattoo in it. At the time you die, the pathologist will check your body and he will be asked to remove the skin with the tattoo and put it in formaldehyde, or to put it in the freezer," said Van Der Helm.
Ideally, it must be done within 48 hours. The tattoo will then be sent to a laboratory outside the Netherlands, where a 12-week procedure extracts water and replaces it with silicone, leaving a rubbery substance.
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