FORMER Dutch prime minister Dries van Agt has died “hand in hand” with his wife in a double euthanasia – as they “couldn’t live without each other”.
Van Agt and his wife Eugenie, both 93, have been buried together after they chose to die on Monday.
Dries van Agt and his wife Eugenie have died in a rare double euthanasia[/caption]
Van Agt with Christine during his time as Dutch prime minister[/caption]
The couple were said to have been very ill, with van Agt never fully recovering from a brain haemorrhage in 2019.
The Rights Forum, a charity founded by van Agt, announced the rare “duo euthanasia”.
A spokesperson said: “He died hand in hand with his beloved wife Eugenie van Agt-Krekelberg.
“She was the support and anchor with whom he was together for more than 70 years.
“He always continued to refer to her as ‘my girl’.”
Eugenie and van Agt were married for 65 years after meeting as students.
He served as Dutch prime minister between 1977 and 1982, leading the centre-right Christian Democrats.
Van Agt was popular for his sense of humour and for riding along with Tour de France cyclists.
He left the Christian Democrats in 2010 following the party’s election pact with far-right politician Geert Wilders.
Van Agt wrote several books about the Israel-Palestine conflict, launching the Rights Forum to campaign for justice in the region.
His biographer Peter Bootsma said: “The way his life ended is something that characterises the man.
“Stubborn and autonomous, until the end.
“I sometimes thought: they have been married for 65 years, what if one of the two is no longer there?”
Dutch PM Mark Rutte paid tribute to his “political great-great-grandfather”.
Rutte said: “With his flowery and unique language, his clear convictions and his striking presentation, Dries van Agt gave colour and substance to Dutch politics in a time of polarization and party renewal.”
The Dutch royal family said: “We remember Dries van Agt with great respect.
“He served our country for many years as Prime Minister and Minister of Justice.
“He took administrative responsibility in a turbulent time and managed to inspire many with his striking personality and colorful style.
“His commitment to our country and to maintaining connections in our society deserves great appreciation.”
Dries van Agt and Eugenie are survived by their three children and buried together in the city of Nijmegen, where they met.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.
What is double euthanasia?
EUTHANASIA and assisted suicide have been legal in the Netherlands since 2002.
People can end their lives if they endure unbearable suffering with no prospect of relief, or have a long-held and independent wish to die.
In 2022 there were around 9,000 deaths by euthanasia in the Netherlands.
Double euthanasia is rare but on the rise, with recorded cases doubling from 26 in 2020 to 58 in 2022.
Expert Constance de Vries said: “Many people dread the prospect of having to continue on their own, especially when they are 80 and no longer so flexible.”
Both euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in the UK, with euthanasia carrying a maximum penalty of life in jail.