In what could truly be said as ' together in life and death' Dries van Agt, the Christian Democrat prime minister of the Netherlands from 1977 until 1982, has passed away through euthanasia alongside his wife, as confirmed by the human rights organization he established. Both aged 93, the couple's demise was disclosed by The Rights Forum on Friday, revealing that they died on Monday and are set to be privately laid to rest in Nijmegen.
The non-profit organization conveyed, "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.'" Van Agt had been battling fragile health for some time, exacerbated by a brain haemorrhage he suffered during a speech in 2019, from which he never fully recovered.
Despite his Christian Democrat background, Van Agt's stance evolved towards progressivism after exiting politics in 2017 due to ideological disparities with the center-right Christian Democratic Appeal's policies concerning Israel and the Palestinians. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who hailed Van Agt as his "great-great-grandfather in office," praised his contributions to Dutch politics, highlighting his eloquence, convictions, and impactful presence during a period of polarization and party reformation.
Acknowledging his role during turbulent times, the Dutch royal family, including King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima, and Princess Beatrix, commended Van Agt's administrative leadership and influential personality.
Known for his elaborate language and fondness for cycling, Van Agt was compelled to abandon his hobby in 2019 following an accident. He governed the Netherlands as prime minister alongside the right-wing Liberal Party from 1977 to 1981, later forming a coalition with the Labor Party and the centrist Democrats 66.
Following a pivotal visit to Israel in 1999, Van Agt emerged as a vocal advocate for the Palestinian cause, citing the trip as transformative. In 2009, he established The Rights Forum, dedicated to advocating for a just and sustainable Dutch and European policy on the Palestine/Israel issue.
Van Agt is survived by his three children.