A former Dutch prime minister, Dries van Agt, has died holding hands with his wife Eugenie. They both died by euthanasia aged 93.
Van Agt, prime minister between 1977 and 1982 and the first leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal party, may have been a Catholic but always chose his own path, along with his wife of 70 years, whom he always called “my girl”.
Their deaths last Monday are seen as part of a growing trend in the Netherlands for “duo euthanasia”.
Although rare, euthanasia of couples was first noted in a review of all cases in 2020, when 26 people were granted euthanasia at the same time as their partners. The numbers grew to 32 the following year and 58 in 2022.
Elke Swart, spokesperson for the ‘Expertisecentrum Euthanasie’, which grants the euthanasia wish of about 1,000 people a year in the Netherlands, said any couple’s requests for assisted death were tested against strict requirements individually rather than together.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide have been legal in the Netherlands since 2002 for six conditions, including unbearable suffering, no prospect of relief and a long-held, independent wish for death.