On Monday, Dutch motivational speaker, Emile Ratelband, who wanted to change his date of birth to help increase his chances of finding dates, had his case rejected by a Dutch court.

The 69-year-old felt that he was really 49-years-old and requested to chop off 20 years of his real age in a case that drew worldwide attention. Ratelband believed that there shouldn’t be a problem with changing your age since you’re allowed to change your name and gender.

“We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can’t I decide my own age?” he said.

But the court thought otherwise and said that changing a person’s age could cause problems.

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

In response to Ratelband’s argument about name or gender change cases, the court said that unlike those cases, Dutch laws assigned 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.”

Unfazed by the court’s rejection, Ratelband vowed to appeal. “This is great!” he said. “The rejection of (the) court is great because they give all kinds of angles where we can connect when we go in appeal.”

Ratelband said he was the first of “thousands of people who want to change their age,” and made headlines around the world following his surprising request.

Before his hearing, he made several TV and other press appearances to explain his reasoning for wanting to change his name. The “positivity trainer” explained that he felt he was being discriminated against in both employment and on the popular dating app Tinder. He also noted that his doctor had told him that he looked like he was in his 40s. 

“If I’m 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car. I can take up more work,” he said. “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.”


The court said that Ratelband failed to convince the judges that such age discrimination exists and added that “there are other alternatives available for challenging age discrimination, rather than amending a person’s date of birth.”

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