'Hand in hand': Former Dutch PM ends his life with his wife of more than 70 years in assisted suicide death

11 February 2024, 23:56 | Updated: 12 February 2024, 07:27

Former Dutch PM Dries van Agt and his wife Eugenie has died by euthanasia hand-in-hand after years suffering from illnesses, both aged 93.
Former Dutch PM Dries van Agt and his wife Eugenie has died by euthanasia hand-in-hand after years suffering from illnesses, both aged 93. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Former Dutch PM Dries van Agt and his wife Eugenie died by euthanasia hand-in-hand after years suffering from illnesses, both aged 93.

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Their deaths come under laws in the Netherlands which allow those experiencing "unbearable suffering with no prospect of improvement" to end their life legally.

In 2019, Dries suffered brain haemorrhage while giving a speech at a commemoration event for Palestinians which he never recovered from.

Read More: New Zealand votes to legalise euthanasia for terminally ill people

Tributes have been paid to the Christian Democrat former PM who led the Netherlands from 1972 to 1982.

Human rights organisation The Rights Forum announced the double-euthanasia on Friday.

The couple, who are survived by their three children, and were buried in a small ceremony in the city of Nijmegen this week

A statement from The Rights Forum read: "He died hand in hand with his beloved wife Eugenie van Agt-Krekelberg, the support and anchor with whom he was together for more than 70 years and whom he always continued to refer to as 'my girl".

Van Agt's biographer, Peter Bootsma, said: "But the way his life ended is something that characterizes the man,' Mr Bootsma added, '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?"

Van Agt left the Christian Democrats and became increasingly progressive since he left office.

After leaving the party in 2017 over ideological differences with the centre-right Christian Democratic Appeal's approach to Israel and the Palestinians.

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