Former Dutch Prime Minister Dries van Agt and his wife Eugenie van Agt-Krekelberg, both 93, died together using couple euthanasia. This was announced by the association The Rights Forum, founded by the former prime minister, specifying that the two were seriously ill and died “together, hand in hand”. Euthanasia and assisted suicide, in which the person requesting it self-administers a lethal drug, have been legal in the Netherlands since 2002. An option chosen by 8,720 people in 2022, or 5.1% of all the deaths recorded in the Netherlands two years ago. However, couple euthanasia, or the desire to die together, is rare, although growing.
The statistics recorded 13 couples for the first time in 2020, a figure that rose to 29 – therefore 58 people – in 2022, therefore less than one percent of the total. The request of the two people is analyzed separately by two independent specialists, in which both must meet the criteria that suffering is unbearable without prospects of improvement and a constant desire to die. This is how the former prime minister, born Andreas Antonius Maria van Agt (known as Dries) and his wife passed away: despite being Catholics, they preferred the “sweet death” to a slow agony.
The Rights Forum, an Amsterdam-based human rights NGO, added that the death dates back to February 5 and that the couple has already been buried in a private ceremony in the city of Nijmegen. “He died hand in hand with his beloved wife, the support and anchor with whom he was for more than 70 years and who he always continued to call ‘my girl,'” the NGO wrote in the statement. who gives the sad announcement.
The Dutch royal house also mourns him: «Van Agt took on important responsibilities in a turbulent period and managed to inspire many with his surprising personality and his unique style», wrote King William. In fact, Van Agt was known for his refined language and his always highly cultured quotations. The current Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte dedicated a thought to him: «With his flowery and unique language, his clear beliefs with an always surprising presentation, he gave color and substance to Dutch politics in a moment of polarization and renewal of the party». Van Agt governed with the right-wing liberals between 1977 and 1981.
At the time, it was he who conceived the cannabis tolerance policy still in force which has characterized the Netherlands so much. He was prime minister again for a year in coalition with the Labor Party and the centrist Democrats. After visiting Israel in 1999, he began to openly express his support for the Palestinians, calling that trip to the Middle East a sort of “conversion.” Then, in 2009, he founded The Rights Forum, to support a “just and sustainable Dutch and European policy regarding the Palestine/Israel issue”.
Of a Christian-Democratic ideological background, he resigned from his party in 2017, the culmination of a path that had seen him take increasingly progressive positions, which he developed after leaving institutional politics. His support for the Palestinian cause had in fact led to irreconcilable differences. In 2019, Van Agt suffered a brain hemorrhage while giving a speech at an event supporting the Palestinian cause and from then on he never fully recovered.