April 4, 2024

Former Dutch PM and his wife die together in ‘duo euthanasia’

They may have been the most publicised deaths in the history of euthanasia in the Netherlands. A former prime minister of the country and his wife, both aged 93, died together in a so-called “duo euthanasia” earlier this month. 

Dries van Agt served as prime minister from 1977 to 1982 and later became the European Union’s ambassador to Japan and the United States. He was a prominent leader of the Catholic People’s Party (KVP) and later its successor party, the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). In recent years he had actively supported the Palestinian cause, arguing that Benjamin Netanyahu should have been arraigned before the International Criminal Court over the settlements on the West Bank. 

He had a cerebral haemorrhage in 2019 from which he never recovered fully. His wife Eugenie’s medical issues were not made public. 

Duo euthanasia is a growing trend in the Netherlands. At least 29 couples — or 58 people — died together in 2022, according the most recent figures from the Regional Euthanasia Review Committees

“It is likely that this will happen more and more often,” Rob Edens, press officer for NVVE, a Dutch right to die lobby group, told the Washington Post. “We still see a reluctance among doctors to provide euthanasia based on an accumulation of age-related conditions. But it is permitted.”