Former Dutch Prime Minister Dries Van Agt and his wife Eugenie, both 93, have now been buried together after deciding to take their own lives at the same time because they “couldn’t live without each other”
The former Dutch prime minister held his wife’s hand as the pair passed away peacefully in what is being called a double euthanasia.
Dries Van Agt, the head of state from 1977 to 1982, was buried beside his wife Eugenie, 93, after they made the unprecedented decision to die together. Both were gravely ill, with van Agt, also 93, having suffered a life-changing brain haemorrhage in 2019. The ultra-rare “duo euthanasia” was announced by the Rights Forum, a charity founded by van Agt.
A spokesperson for the non-profit 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’.” The couple met as art students and were married for an incredible 65 years.
Van Agt – who lead the centre-right Christian Democrats – was popular in the Netherlands for his sense of humour. He also gained support after riding along with Tour de France cyclists. In 2010, he stepped down from the Christian-Democrats after they joined forces with far-right politician Geert Wilders in an election pact.
Van Agt – who was a well-respected commentator on the Israel-Palestine conflict – launched his charity as a campaigning group trying to drive change in the war-battered region. Peter Bootsma, who wrote his biography, 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?”
The current Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, issued a heartfelt tribute to the man he described as 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 royals also issued a statement, saying: “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.” The couple are survived by their three children. They have been buried in Nijmegen, the city in which they met.
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