Can You Legally Be 49, Forever?
In 2018, a 69-year old man in the Netherlands, Emile Ratelband, brought a lawsuit to change his birth date by 20 years to avoid, in his words, age discrimination. In TV and other press appearances prior to his legal hearing, Mr. Ratelband stated that he felt discriminated against in not only his employment, but also on the dating app he frequently used, Tinder. Mr. Ratelband argued that his life and his performance on dating apps would greatly improve if his legal age was changed to 49. He did concede that he would be willing to delay receiving a pension.
However, the Dutch Court disagreed, noting that may legal rights are dependent on an individual’s age and that arbitrarily changing same would create more problems than solutions. The Court noted: “Mr. Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly” but that legally changing his birthdate on official documents would have “undesirable legal and societal implications.” The Court did not accept Mr. Ratelband’s argument that a legal age change was akin to a legal change in ones’ registered name or gender, noting that “amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships.”
Since losing his case, Mr. Ratelband has advised numerous media outlets that he has plans to appeal. If he hopes to be successful in his potential, Mr. Ratelband will certainly need some further geria-tricks up his sleeve.