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Man, 69, to appeal after court rejects his request to be 49

Man, 69, to appeal after court rejects his request to be 49
Copyright Facebook/Emile Ratelband
Copyright Facebook/Emile Ratelband
By Emma Beswick
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Despite the ruling, the sexagenarian told Euronews he was feeling "great".


A sexagenarian has told Euronews he will appeal after a Dutch court rejected his request to legally reduce his age by 20 years.

Emile Ratelband, 69, asked a district court to make the amendment to match the age that he says he feels: 49. 

But the court found there was no scope in legislation or case law to allow such a ruling, it said in a statement.

“Mr Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly,” Arnhem court wrote. “But amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships. This would have a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications.”

Ratelband argued his request was consistent with other forms of personal transformation which are gaining acceptance in the Netherlands, such as the ability to change one’s name or gender.

But the court said it did not find any reason in his arguments to create new case law in line with the statutory provisions on changes to a person’s officially-registered name or gender.

"There are a variety of rights and duties related to age, such as the right to vote and the duty to attend school," it said in the statement.

"If Mr Ratelband’s request was allowed, those age requirements would become meaningless."

Despite the ruling, Ratelband told Euronews he was feeling "great".

"The judge gave us many things to prove that he made the wrong decision, so we will appeal," he said.

The motivational speaker told Euronews in November that he thinks if you can change your name or gender, you should be able to modify your age too. 

He identifies as 49.

"I try to get a mortgage, it's impossible. If I want to renew my driving licence at 69, it's difficult. If I put my age on Tinder, women say 'you're much too old'," he said.

Such is his belief in his cause, that he said he is willing to take it to the highest courts in Europe.

"I'm so convinced of myself and my reasons are well thought out," he said. "If I have to go to the EU court, I will."

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