Sixty-Nine-Year-Old Man Loses Lawsuit To Lower His Age By 20 Years

“We can make our own decisions if we want to change our name, or if we want to change our gender."

 Emile Ratelband wants his official age (69) to be adjusted with his 'emotional age' (49)
ROLAND HEITINK/AFP/Getty Images

A 69-year-old man from the Netherlands was told by a court that he could not legally lower his age by 20 years.

Emile Ratelband told The Washington Post that he feels his "feeling" about his body and mind is that he’s about 40 or 45 despite being born on March 11, 1949. He also claims he received a check-up from a doctor who told him his “biological age is 45 years.”

“We can make our own decisions if we want to change our name, or if we want to change our gender,” Ratelband said. “So I want to change my age.”

The court did not agree, citing that there was no legal basis for the change, according to a statement released by the court.

“The court did not find any reason in Mr Ratelband’s arguments to create new case law in line with the statutory provisions on changes to a person’s officially registered name or gender,” the statement says. “Its main reason was that, unlike the situation with respect to a change in registered name or gender, there are a variety of rights and duties related to 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 acknowledged that some people may feel younger than their age but did not “regard this as a valid argument for amending a person’s date of birth.”

Ratelband also claimed his age has limited him.

“When I’m 69, I am limited,” he said. “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.”

However, the court disagreed again, claiming Ratelband could not “sufficiently substantiate his claim that he suffers from age discrimination.”

“Mr Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly,” the court said in a statement, adding, “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 priority must be to ensure that the public registers contain accurate factual information.”

Ratelband is unfazed by the court’s decision and plans to appeal.

“This is great!” Ratelband said according to the New York Post. “The rejection of [the] court is great ... because they give all kinds of angles where we can connect when we go in appeal.”

“I say it’s comparable because it has to do with my feeling, with respect about who I think … I am, my identity,” he added.

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