THE HAGUE: Dries van Agt, the Christian Democrat prime minister of the Netherlands from 1977 until 1982, has died by euthanasia, “hand in hand” together with his wife, according to the human rights organisation he founded. They both were 93.
The news was made public on Friday by The Rights Forum, which said the couple died Monday and and would be buried in a private ceremony in the eastern city of Nijmegen. “He died hand in hand with his beloved wife Eugenie van Agt-Krekelberg, the support and anchor with whom he was together for more than 70 years and whom he always continued to refer to as ‘my girl,'” the non-profit organisation said in a statement.
The two both had been in fragile health for some time. In 2019, Van Agt suffered a brain haemorrhage while giving a speech at a commemoration event for Palestinians and never fully recovered.
A Christian Democrat from traditional Dutch stock, Van Agt became increasingly progressive after he departed politics, ultimately leaving his party in 2017 over ideological differences with the center-right Christian Democratic Appeal’s approach to Israel and the Palestinians.
Dutch PM Mark Rutte, who referred to Van Agt as his “great-great-grandfather in office,” spoke highly of the former politician. “With his flowery and unique language, his clear convictions and his striking presentation, Dries van Agt gave color and substance to Dutch politics in a time of polarization and party renewal,” Rutte said.
Van Agt was known for his archaic references and grandiose language, as well as his passion for cycling. He was forced to quit that hobby in 2019 after a fall.