Dutch showman makes global headlines with ‘I’m 49 not 69’ court case

Emile Ratelband at a book launch in 2015. Photo: Fotopersburo Edwin Janssen via HH

Dutch showman and self-styled ‘motivational guru’ Emile Ratelband has hit headlines around the world with a court case to have his age officially cut by 20 years.

Ratelband was in court in Arnhem earlier this week in a bid to have the clock turned back on his official documents so that he is only 49.

‘We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can’t I decide my own age?’ Ratelband is quoted as saying. In particular, Ratelband, hopes being officially younger will enable him to attract more women.

‘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,’ he said. Ratelband has been married twice and has seven children.




The BBC, Daily Mail and Telegraph are among the foreign media outlets which have picked up the story, which has generated thousands of comments.

Ratelband, who converted to Buddhism earlier this year, told the Telegraaf that he is not suffering from the Peter Pan syndrome and has been checked out by a doctor to make sure he will ‘be able to deal with this major step.’

After all, he told the paper, there are some disadvantages to becoming younger. ‘For a start I’ll be missing out on my old age pension for 20 years,’ he said.

Judges will rule on the case later this month.

Ratelband has a history of outspoken comments and has described Osama bin Laden as a ‘freedom fighter with clear principles’. In 2003 he made an attempt to enter parliament on a populist platform. He received just under 10,000 votes.


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