Dutchman, 69, asks court to change legal age to 49

A 69-year-old from the Netherlands has launched an unprecedented legal bid to shave 20 years off his age.

"If you are 69, you don't get as many connections (on dating apps) as when you're 49," Emile Ratelband told DW.

"If you are 55 or above, you can't get a job anymore in your life. If you want to have a mortgage and you're 69, it's impossible."

The self-styled positivity coach asked a Dutch court earlier this week to grant his request to shift his birthdate forward by two decades to make his official age 49.

The pensioner complained to the court that he felt "abused, aggrieved and discriminated against," in many situations — from buying a property to looking for love online.

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If gender, why not age?

The single father of seven argued that although his legal appeal was unprecedented in the Netherlands, it wasn't so different to other transformations gaining official recognition around the world.

"Today we can choose our work, gender, political and sexual orientation. We even have the right to change our name. Why do we not have the right to change our age?" Ratelband asked.

"I feel young and I want it legalized," he said. "I'm doing this for myself, and if people … think I'm crazy, that's ok because everybody has their own reality."

Ratelband said his doctor put his biological age at 40-42, but he decided that might be too young: "Forty-nine for me was a good age, and I wanted to stay a little bit realistic."

Read more: Age discrimination also affects young workers

'Minimal' chance of winning

The 69-year-old is being represented by criminal lawyer Jan-Hein Kuijpers, who told the AFP news agency his chances of winning the case were "minimal, but we believe that the legislation must evolve with the times."

The court in the central city of Arnhem is expected to deliver a verdict in about four weeks.

If his bid fails, Ratelband plans to appeal. But if he wins, he wants to start his life over.

"I can buy a new house, because I'll be able to get a mortgage. When I buy a house, I can marry a woman. I can have children again. It's just logical for me."

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