Former Dutch Prime Minister, Dries van Agt, and his wife Eugenie van Agt-Krekelberg, both aged 93, peacefully opted for euthanasia on Monday, as reported by The Rights Forum. This decision was made amidst their prolonged battle with deteriorating health conditions.
Van Agt, who suffered a brain hemorrhage during a speech in 2019, never fully recovered from the incident. The couple’s simultaneous passing reflects a poignant choice they made, leaving the world “hand in hand” at a moment of their choosing, as per The Rights Forum.
Van Agt’s Political Legacy: Van Agt’s political journey began in the late 1960s when he was invited to contribute to the electoral program of the Catholic People’s Party (KVP). Leading a coalition in the 1977 parliamentary election, he played a pivotal role in the formation of the socially conservative CDA party, which, along with the right-wing Liberal Party, governed the Netherlands from 1977-1981.
However, in 2021, Van Agt severed his ties with the CDA, citing disagreements over the party’s stance on Palestine. A vocal advocate for Palestinian rights, his shift towards left-wing causes intensified after a transformative visit to Israel in 1999.
Advocating for Justice: In 2009, Van Agt founded The Rights Forum, an organization dedicated to promoting a “just and sustainable Dutch and European policy” regarding the Palestine/Israel issue. His outspoken views were evident when he labeled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “war criminal” in 2016.
Last week, the Palestinian ambassador to the Netherlands expressed gratitude for Van Agt’s unwavering support and commitment to their cause.
Personal Touch: Beyond politics, Van Agt was known for his old-fashioned references, love for Italian culture, extensive vocabulary, and passion for cycling. Forced to abandon cycling after a fall in 2019, his personal life was filled with rich experiences. Married to Eugenie since 1958, the couple leaves behind three children and seven grandchildren, including professional cyclist Eva van Agt.
Euthanasia in the Netherlands: The Netherlands legalized euthanasia in April 2002, albeit under strict regulations outlined in the Dutch Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are permitted only when patients are suffering unbearably with no hope of recovery. Notably, patients do not possess an absolute right to euthanasia, and doctors are not obligated to perform it without meeting stringent criteria.