Dutch Court Rejects 69-Year-Old Man's Bid To Legally Lower His Age By 20 Years

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Emile Ratelband

A dutch man will continue his life as a 69-year-old, after losing a legal bid to shave 20 years off his official age.  

Emile Ratelband, who describes himself as a motivational speaker, had his bid rejected by Arnhem court on Monday. 

In an official statement, the court said Ratelband is free to “feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly”, but cannot alter his legal date of birth. 

“Amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships,” the court said. “This would have a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications.”

Ratelband went to court last month arguing that he did not feel 69 and saying his request was consistent with other forms of personal transformation, such as the ability to change one’s name or gender.

But in a written ruling, the court said Dutch law assigns rights and obligations based on age “such as the right to vote and the duty to attend school”.

“If Mr Ratelband’s request was allowed, those age requirements would become meaningless,” it said. 

The court added it acknowledged “a trend in society for people to feel fit and healthy for longer, but did not regard that as a valid argument for amending a person’s date of birth”.

“There are other alternatives available for challenging age discrimination, rather than amending a person’s date of birth,” it concluded.

Some of Ratelband’s anxiety around turning 70 seemed to centre on the dating scene too, as he was previously quoted as saying: “When I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer.

“When I’m 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.”

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