Pensioner who feels 20 years younger cannot change age, court rules

A pensioner who wanted to take 20 years off his official age to improve his job prospects and luck on Tinder has had his request refused.

Emile Ratelband, 69, said he felt two decades younger than he is so went to court last month to change his age, in a case which drew worldwide attention.

On Monday a Netherlands court rejected the motivational speaker's request, saying: "Mr Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly.

"But amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships.

"This would have a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications."

The Dutchman had argued his request was consistent with other forms of personal transformation which are gaining acceptance in the Netherlands and around the world, such as changing one's name or gender.

He said he wanted to change his birth date from 11 March 1949 to 11 March 1969 after his doctors told him he had the body of someone 20 years younger.

The entrepreneur said his legal age affected his employment opportunities as well as his love life.

He 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."

He had said he would give up his pension if the court ruled in his favour.

But the court in Arnhmen, Gelderland, said Dutch law assigns rights and obligations based on 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," the court said.

The judge acknowledged "a trend in society for people to feel fit and healthy for longer, but did not regard that as a valid argument for amending a person's date of birth".

Mr Ratelband failed to convince the court that he suffers from age discrimination, the ruling said.

It added: "There are other alternatives available for challenging age discrimination, rather than amending a person's date of birth."

Sky News

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