Former Dutch prime minister and wife die hand-in-hand in double euthanasia


Former Dutch prime minister and wife die hand-in-hand in double euthanasia

By James Jackson

A former Dutch prime minister and his wife have died hand in hand in a rare double euthanasia.

Dries van Agt and his wife, Eugenie, were both 93 and were buried together on Thursday, Amsterdam-time.

“He died hand in hand with his beloved wife Eugenie van Agt-Krekelberg, the support and anchor with whom he was together for more than 70 years and whom he always continued to refer to as ‘my girl’,” The Rights Forum, a human rights charity he founded, said on Friday.

Dries van Agt and wife Eugenie.Credit: Radboud Universiteit via Nine.

The couple met as students at Nijmegen.

The Rights Forum described him as “idiosyncratic” and said that Van Agt and his wife were very ill, but “couldn’t live without each other”.

A Dutchman of Catholic stock, van Agt served as prime minister between 1977 and 1982. He was popular for his humour and for riding with Tour de France cyclists. He was branded a “Jesuit” and a “mystic” by political rivals.

The former Christian Democrat adopted increasingly Left-wing views later in life, opposing his party’s electoral agreement with Gert Wilders’ PVV in 2010.

Van Agt was especially vocal on the Israel-Palestine conflict, writing books on the topic and branding Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, “a war criminal” in 2016.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide have been legal in the Netherlands since 2002 under specific conditions.

Double euthanasia is rare but has been on the rise there with 26 in 2020 and 58 in 2022 out of a total of 9,000 euthanasia cases.

Jozef van der Heijden, a former MP from van Agt’s party, and his wife Gonnie died in a double euthanasia in 2016.

Constance de Vries of the Euthanasia Expertise Centre told De Volkskraant, a broadsheet newspaper: “Many people dread the prospect of having to continue on their own, especially when they are 80 and no longer so flexible.”

Telegraph, London

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