March 14, 2024

Euthanasia cases increased by 15% in Belgium in 2023

More than 3,400 Belgians were euthanised in 2023 – a 15% increase over 2022. Statistics released by the Federal Control and Evaluation Commission for Euthanasia reveal that there were 3,423 officially reported deaths — 3.1 % of all deaths in Belgium. However, the European Institute of Bioethics noted that “scientific studies estimate that about 25 to 35% of unreported cases of euthanasia should be added” to this figure. 

About 71% of patients were over 70 and 42% were over 80. The number of cases of euthanasia in patients younger than 40 years was only about 1%. 

There was only one euthanasia of a minor — a 16-year-old girl with a brain tumour who donated her organs after her death. There have only been five confirmed cases of euthanised minors since Belgium’s euthanasia law was amended in 2014. 

Most patients who chose euthanasia in 2023 had cancer (55%), a combination of various chronic and incurable conditions (23%) or neurological diseases such as ALS (10%). Euthanasia for psychiatric conditions increased slightly to about 1.4%. Dementia account for about 1.2%

Euthanasia was far more “popular” amongst Flemish speakers (70%) than amongst French speakers (29%). The Commission reported that 110 patients came from abroad – mostly from France – to be euthanised.