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Dutch man begins legal battle to change his age from 69 to 49

by Edaein OConnell
08th Nov 2018

A 69-year old motivational speaker from the Netherlands has begun a legal battle to change his age.

Emile Ratelband claims he does not feel ‘comfortable’ with his date of birth and wishes to change it from 11 March 1949 to 11 March 1969, making him 20 years younger. He is taking the case on the grounds that he is being discriminated against on a dating app, saying “When I’m 69, I am limited. If I’m 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car. I can take up more work – when I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer. When I’m 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.”

He also compared changing his age to that of changing gender, “We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can’t I decide my own age?”

The judge in the case agreed that legally changing one’s gender has been a significant development in the law over the years, but expressed concerns at how Ratelband’s parents would feel about him changing a significant record of his life, saying “Who were your parents looking after then? Who was that little boy?”

Ratelband told the judge that his parents were dead and that he made the decision when he was looking in the mirror one day and realised he wanted to make the most out of his life for as long as he could. He also stated that he would renounce his pension if the legal challenge was to pass and that the matter was one of free will.

However, local reports say that officials believe there are no legal mechanisms in place that will allow Ratelband to legally change his birth date. The public prosecutor in the case also acknowledged that if there was to be a legal change afforded to Ratelband, health inspections would have to take place to decipher his “emotional age”.