Gibson Law Group - October 2022

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Age Is Just a Number


Wanted to Legally Change His Age The Man Who Felt 20 Years Younger

He alleged that he experienced age discrimination because, being 69, he is limited in what he can do. If he were 49, he could buy a house and car and work more hours, and his chances on the dating app Tinder would improve if he were younger. What was the court’s decision? Ratelband’s argument did not convince the district court in the Dutch city of Arnhem. The court said there was no evidence that Ratelband had experienced age discrimination. It stated that, unlike legally changing your name or gender, changing your age causes many problems such as the many rights and duties related to age, such as voting, attending school, military obligations, and pension. Although Ratelband has the freedom to feel 20 years younger, mentally and physically, he cannot legally change his age because of the legal and societal implications that would follow, the court added.

We’ve all heard about people legally changing their name or gender, but have you ever heard about someone trying to change their legal age? In 2018, a 69-year-old Dutch man named Emile Ratelband petitioned a court for permission to change his age. He wanted to alter the year he was born on his birth certificate by 20 years so he could be 49 years old. So, how did this case end? Let’s find out. What was his reasoning? Ratelband wanted to change his age because he argued that he felt 20 years younger. He said his doctors told him that he had the body of a younger man, and his health was far better than most men his age.

The district court rejected Ratelband’s request, but he plans to appeal.

In the Netherlands, the public doesn’t take Ratelband’s claims seriously. They even make fun of his international exposure and willingness to provide interviews worldwide to justify his wishes. So what do you think of this legal case? Is age just a number? Let us know your thoughts!


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