Foust Law - September 2020

WHAT IS AGE BUT A NUMBER? A Dutch Man’s Quest to Change His Legal Age

judge found merit in the argument and said that people desire to change things about themselves all the time, adding that maybe age was one of those things we should consider —“maybe”being the operative word. The court ultimately decided that “Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly.” But the judge added that changing his legal documents would have “undesirable legal and societal implications.”The court added “[T]here are a variety of rights and duties related to 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.” Today, Ratelband is 71 and continues his battle to change his age. While he may have lost in his initial quest to legally change his age, according to NPR, he intends to appeal the decision.

In 2018, Dutch native Emile Ratelband was 69 years old. The thing was that the motivational speaker and founder of the Ratelband Research Institute didn’t want to be 69. So, he went to a Dutch court and petitioned for the right to change his legal age. His intention was to change the year of birth on his birth certificate — bumping it up by 20 years. As a result, all records would show him as 49.

with being 69. Ratelband even went as far as to say he would be willing to delay his pension benefits another 20 years if need be. In an interview with Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, Ratelband said, “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.”

Why did Ratelband want to change his age?

He told the court he didn’t feel like a man who was going on 70. He said he felt good — he felt like a man 20 years younger. He even said his doctors agreed and that they’d told him he had the body of someone younger. But there was another major reason Ratelband wanted to change his age. He said doing so would increase his overall happiness and would be helpful on dating apps. He would no longer have to deal with the ageism that came

Interestingly enough, Ratelband’s request wasn’t dismissed outright by the court. The

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