Former Dutch Prime Minister Dries van Agt and his wife Eugenie have left this world together, hand in hand, in a move that has stirred both admiration and controversy. The couple, aged 93, chose to end their lives through legal euthanasia, reigniting the debate on the moral complexities surrounding the practice.

Their passing, orchestrated by what is being termed as “duo euthanasia,” occurred on February 5, 2024, in their hometown of Nijmegen. The Rights Forum, an organization founded by van Agt himself, solemnly announced their departure, highlighting their enduring bond of over seventy years.

Both van Agt and his wife had been battling declining health, with the former prime minister never fully recovering from a brain hemorrhage suffered in 2019 during a speech advocating for Palestinian rights. Despite their ailments, the couple remained inseparable, with their decision to pursue euthanasia stemming from their inability to imagine life without each other.

While duo euthanasia remains relatively uncommon in the Netherlands, its acceptance appears to be growing, with an increasing number of couples opting for this simultaneous departure. In 2022 alone, twenty-nine couples followed a similar path, underscoring the shifting attitudes toward end-of-life choices in Dutch society.

Van Agt’s legacy extends beyond his political career, which saw him serve as prime minister from 1977 to 1982. He was a staunch advocate for the Palestinian cause, a stance that drew both admiration and criticism. His unwavering support led to the founding of The Rights Forum in 2009, an organization dedicated to advocating for a just resolution to the Palestine-Israel conflict.

Tributes poured in following the news of his passing, with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte acknowledging van Agt as a colorful figure who brought depth and conviction to Dutch politics during times of polarization. Even the Dutch royal family expressed their appreciation for van Agt’s leadership during tumultuous periods.

However, the choice of euthanasia, particularly in the context of duo euthanasia, has sparked debate and reflection. For some, it symbolizes a peaceful and dignified end to a life well-lived, while for others, it raises ethical concerns about the sanctity of life and the role of medical intervention in determining its course.

Regardless of one’s stance, the passing of Dries van Agt and Eugenie van Agt-Krekelberg serves as a poignant reminder of the complexities surrounding end-of-life decisions and the enduring power of love and companionship. In their final act, they chose to depart from this world as they had lived it: together.