Dries van Agt, the ex-Prime Minister of the Netherlands, passed away “hand in hand” with his wife in a tragic double euthanasia, because they “couldn’t live without each other”. Van Agt and his wife Eugenie, both aged 93, were laid to rest together after deciding to end their lives on Monday.
The couple, who had been married for 70 years, were reportedly in poor health, with Van Agt still suffering from the effects of a brain hemorrhage he experienced 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 tied the knot 65 years ago after crossing paths as students. During his tenure between 1977 and 1982, he held the position of Dutch prime minister, guiding the center-right Christian Democrats.
Van Agt was well-liked for his wit and for participating in rides alongside Tour de France cyclists. In 2010, he parted ways with the Christian Democrats over the party’s electoral alliance with far-right figure 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.
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