This document answers questions regarding Dutch policy on euthanasia.
In the Netherlands, euthanasia is understood to mean termination of life by a doctor, at the express request of a patient. The objective is to end unbearable suffering with no prospect of improvement. The term also includes physician-assisted suicide.
A doctor who performs euthanasia is not committing an offence as long as he meets the due care criteria specified in the Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act and notifies the regional review committee on euthanasia. These statutory criteria include that the doctor is satisfied that the patient has made a voluntary and carefully considered request and that the patient’s suffering is unbearable with no prospect of improvement. Euthanasia can only take place at the request of the patient concerned and following consultation with at least one other, independent physician.
The Ministry of Security and Justice and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport are responsible for policy on euthanasia.
Communications Department (COM)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs