One Man’s Quest to Turn Back Time Backfires in Dutch Court

When Dutch “positivity guru” Emile Ratelband petitioned to have his age legally changed, it made international headlines. The court denied his request to shave off 20 years from age, because that’s not how time works.

Emile Ratelband
NPR

Just a Number?

Ratelband wanted his date of birth to be legally altered. He argued that if people can change their name or gender on official documents, then he should be able to change his age. Claiming that he didn’t feel 69, he felt it was only fair that his birth certificate and driver’s license listed his age as 49 instead.

 “I say it’s comparable [to name or gender changes] because it has to do with my feeling, with respect who I think … I am, my identity,” Ratelband explained.

Again, time does not work that way. If it did, I’d “feel” like going back to 1970 and catching Led Zeppelin live at the Royal Albert Hall.

Legal Consequences

“Mr. Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly,” The court stated in a press release. “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.”

Because issues such as voting rights and retirement benefits are determined by age, Ratelband’s request would have serious legal consequences if approved. He claims that he’s willing to wait on his state-issued pension, but the court wasn’t interested.

Not Giving Up

Ratelband doesn’t see the court ruling as a setback. “”This is great!” he told reporters. “The rejection of (the) court is great … because they give all kinds of angles where we can connect when we go in appeal.”

He might be crazy and a massive attention hog, but I’m beginning to think he might be pretty good at his job as a positivity coach. Emile Ratelbrand really won’t take “no” for an answer.