Euthanasia requests surged by 22 per cent last year at the Netherlands’ only assisted dying clinic, which revealed the number of people wanting to end their lives was ‘far more than expected’. The Hague-based Euthanasia Expertise Centre said its 3,122 requests were much higher than 2018.
The Netherlands is one of a handful of countries where euthanasia is legal and by law all Dutch people older than 12 are entitled to ask for it – but they first have to meet some criteria. Children up to 16 need the permission of their parents and guardians, while parents must be involved in the process for children aged 16 and 17. From 18, any Dutch citizen may ask for assisted death.
Last year came an announcement from prime minister Mark Rutte’s centre-left junior coalition partners, D66, that they plan to introduce draft legislation early next year to provide assisted suicide for elderly people “who consider their life is at an end” or, put more positively, that their lives “have been completed”.