Guus Sanstra & Sylvia Berends

Monulights | Guus Sanstra & Sylvia Berends



In 2014, entrepreneurs Guus Sanstra and Sylvia Berends saw the Dutch television programme ‘Het beste idee van Nederland’ (the Netherlands’ best idea). In the programme, a father was telling the story of how he had lost his daughter. Every time the parents visited their daughter’s grave, they would leave behind a lantern with a burning candle, so she wouldn’t be left alone in the dark after they had left. The story touched them.  Guus, who had a background in the illuminated advertising industry, thought: ‘What if I could design a funerary monument that emitted a subtle light? Would that be possible?’

Today in 2021, that possibility has become a reality: a light that always burns bright and makes sure that your loved one is not left alone in the dark. It took seven years of designing, testing, researching, asking for help, and above all, persevering. It is a unique product that has to be perfect in every way. The light is carbon neutral, thanks to the solar panel placed on top. With the help of TU Delft, they developed a sustainable design with a long lifespan. And the light must exude tranquillity; you don’t want to turn the cemetery into a funfair. The grief of leaving a loved one behind in the dark is not what you want for those dear to you.


And now that light is here, a hand-made, subtly lit monument made by passionate craftsmen who are honoured to create such a beautiful gesture. Thanks to the unique laser machine that can imprint images such as photos in crisp and clear detail, any design is possible.

Guus and Sylvia’s first step after setting up Monulights was to search for the family from the  2014 television programme with their solution. They managed to find them, and the family’s reaction was heartwarming. Guus: ‘Our product in this form can’t be found anywhere else, and when you see how these parents and other people react to it, you realise that you’re working with something truly unique.’

Soon afterwards, an article in the Dutch newspaper De Stentor was published, and the business took off from there. Reactions came pouring in from all over the country. Today, Monulights has a dealership with three stonemasons that sell the Monulights monuments with glasswork or ornamentation. The first orders are coming from abroad as well.

 Export country: Belgium