NRL News

Is the Netherlands government concerned about “Euthanasia Tourism?”

by | Apr 13, 2012

By Alex Schadenberg, executive director
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alexander Schadenberg, executive director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An article that was written by Cecilia Rodriguez and published in Forbes Magazine last week entitled: Holland Targets its Drugs and Death Tourism is suggesting that the Netherlands government is concerned about “euthanasia tourism.”

Switzerland has been concerned about the issue of “Suicide Tourism” for quite some time. The Dignitas Suicide Centre focuses on a profitable business of providing suicide for foreign tourists.

After referring to new controls that have been put on the drug tourism in the Netherlands the Forbes article states:

“As for the other tourism on the ropes, officially only Dutch residents should receive medical assistance to commit suicide. But the law doesn’t prohibit doctors from administering euthanasia to non-residents. The Netherlands was the first country to legalize euthanasia and its legislation on the right to die is considered the most liberal in the world, although it applies  only to cases of ‘hopeless and unbearable’ suffering. (That said, the Netherlands is not the only destination for legal euthanasia. First and foremost is Zurich, Switzerland, where hundreds of tourists, mostly British, make the journey to end their lives.)

“It’s not the existence of assisted-suicide tourism that’s behind the latest controversy but, rather, the implicit danger that it could spin out of control, ‘a la coffeeshops’, thanks to two new initiatives pushed by the organization Right to Die: To make euthanasia widely available by creating  mobile teams to assist patients to die at  home, and by proposing legislation to give the right to die to everybody over 70 years old.

“Conservative members of the government and various religious organizations fear that such measures could trigger a wave of euthanasia tourism. Right or not, the country’s longstanding reputation as a haven for live-and-let-live — or die-and-let-die — is under assault as never before.”

When I wrote about the “mobile euthanasia teams” in the Netherlands I connected the euthanasia teams to ending the lives of people who have been denied euthanasia by their doctors, to people with disabilities or people with chronic conditions who are not mobile and not terminally ill, and to people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but I did not recognize how the mobile euthanasia teams may also open up the option of “euthanasia tourism.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at

Categories: Euthanasia