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Emile Ratelband at DWDD in 2018.

Dutch court rules man can’t lower his age

A Dutch court has rejected the request of a self-styled positivity guru to shave 20 years off his age, in a case that drew worldwide attention.

Emile Ratelband last month asked the court in Arnhem to formally change his date of birth to make him 49, instead of his real age of 69.

He claimed he did not feel 69 and argued his request was consistent with other forms of personal transformation which are gaining acceptance in the Netherlands and around the world, such as the ability to change one’s name or gender.

Ratelband also complained of feeling “abused, aggrieved and discriminated against,” in many situations because of his age – from buying a property to looking for love online.

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.”

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