Mon | Mar 30, 2020

Dutch court rejects man’s request to be 20 years younger

Published:Monday | December 3, 2018 | 12:02 PM
In this Thursday, November 8, 2018 file photo, self-styled Dutch positivity guru Emile Ratelband answers questions during an interview in Utrecht, Netherlands. A Dutch court on Monday, December 3, 2018, has rejected the request of Emile Ratelband to shave 20 years off his age, in a case that drew worldwide attention. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch motivational speaker Emile Ratelband may feel like a 49-year-old but according to Dutch law he is still 69.

A Dutch court on Monday rejected Ratelband’s request to shave 20 years off his age in a case that drew worldwide attention.

“Mr Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly,” Arnhem court said in a press statement.

“But amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships. This would have a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications.”

Ratelband went to court last month, arguing that he didn’t feel 69 and saying his request was consistent with other forms of personal transformation which are gaining acceptance in the Netherlands and around the world, such as the ability to change one’s name or gender.

The court rejected that argument, saying that unlike in the case of a name or gender, Dutch law assigns rights and obligations based on age “such as the right to vote and the duty to attend school. If Mr Ratelband’s request was allowed, those age requirements would become meaningless.”

Ratelband, perhaps unsurprisingly given his background as a self-described advocate of positive thinking, was undeterred by the court’s rejection and vowed to appeal.

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