Former Dutch PM and his wife die by euthanasia after 70 years of marriage

Dries Van Agt and his wife Eugene

New Delhi: Former Netherlands Prime Minister Dries Van Agt and his wife Eugene have passed away at the age of 93, following their joint decision to end their lives by euthanasia. The couple, who had been married for 70 years and had known each other since school days, were suffering from various ailments and chose to die together peacefully.

The Netherlands is the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia, which allows people to request for assisted dying under certain conditions. The person must be experiencing unbearable suffering with no prospect of improvement and must have a voluntary and well-considered wish to die. The request must also be assessed by at least two doctors, who must agree that there is no reasonable alternative.

Dries Van Agt and his wife Eugene met these criteria, as they had been battling with health issues for a long time. Dries Van Agt, who was the Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1977 to 1982, suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2019, which affected his speech and memory. He had also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and prostate cancer. Eugene, who had been his loyal companion and supporter throughout his political career, had developed dementia and osteoporosis. The couple, who had four children and 11 grandchildren, decided to say goodbye to the world together and were given a lethal injection simultaneously at their home in Nijmegen on Monday.

Dries Van Agt and his wife Eugene

Dries Van Agt was a prominent figure in Dutch politics, who led the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party and formed three coalition governments. He was known for his efforts to promote human rights, social justice, and environmental protection. He was also a vocal critic of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians and advocated for a two-state solution. He received several awards and honors for his contributions, including the Order of the Netherlands Lion and the Four Freedoms Award.