A Dutch man who is 69 years of age has launched a legal battle to change his age to 49. Emile Ratelband who is a “positivity trainer” is suing his local authority after they refused to amend his age on official documents. He has taken his case to a court in the City of Arnhem in the eastern province of Gelderland.
Mr Ratelband was born on 11 March 1949 but says he feels at least 20 years younger and wants to change his date of birth to 11 March 1969. He said: “I have done a check up and what does it show? My biological age is 45 years”.
He argues that if you are able to change your name and change your gender then you should be able to change your birthdate. He has stated that: “Today we can choose our work, gender, political and sexual orientation. We even have the right to change our name. Why do we not have the right to change our age?” He further complained to the court that he felt “abused, aggrieved and discriminated against” in many situations such as buying a house, taking up work and driving a different car or looking for love on line.
Mr Ratelband further asserts that although his legal appeal is unprecedented in the Netherlands it was not so different to other transformations gaining official recognition around the world.
He is being represented by lawyer Jan-Hein Kuijpers who told a news agency that his client’s chances of success were “minimal, but we believe that the legislation must evolve with the times.”
The judge at the hearing did say he had some sympathy with Mr Ratelband as people could now change their gender which once would have been considered unthinkable. But the court also pointed out that there would be practical problems in allowing people to change their birth date, as it would mean legally deleting part of their lives. The judge asked Mr Ratelband about the status of his early years from 1949 to 1969 if his official birth date was put back “For whom did your parents care in those years? Who was that little boy back then?”
The court is due to deliver a written ruling in four weeks time. If Mr Ratelband’s bid fails, he intends to appeal. If he wins he intends to start his life over and has confirmed that he will be renouncing his pension until he reaches retirement age again.