Physically-healthy 28-year-old Dutch woman will die through euthanasia in May (2024)

The 28-year-old Zoraya ter Beek will die next month by voluntary assisted suicide.

On the surface, Ter Beek’s life looks ideal: she lives in the Netherlands in a nice house, she has money, two cats, and a boyfriend that she loves.

However, her heaviest weights are invisible: 10 years on a roundabout of mental healthcare treatment for crippling depression and autism.

While Ter Beek once dreamt of becoming a psychiatrist, she began her journey seeking assisted suicide after her psychologist told her she would never get better.

Years on a waiting list

Ter Beek spent two-and-a-half years waiting for conditional approval for her assisted suicide. When it happened, she and her boyfriend, Stein, crawled into each other’s arms on the couch and cried, reports de Gelderlander in 2023.

For Stein, his tears were from sadness. But he doesn’t want to be the one that makes her stay.

Ter Beek told the outlet at the time, “Of course I feel guilty. If I had known what I know now, the moment I met Stein… I think I would have run away fast. At least, I hope so. But it turned out differently. We love each other a lot.”

How it will happen

Next month, a doctor will arrive at Ter Beek’s home.

“The doctor really takes her time. It is not that they walk in and say, ‘Lay down, please!’ Most of the time, it is first a cup of coffee to settle the nerves and create a soft atmosphere,” Ter Beek told The Free Press in an article she has since discredited.

“Then she asks if I am ready. I will take my place on the couch. She will once again ask if I am sure, and she will start up the procedure and wish me a good journey. Or, in my case, a nice nap because I hate it if people say, ‘Safe journey.’ I’m not going anywhere.”

The doctor will administer Ter Beek a sedative first, then a drug to stop her heart.

After her death, a special committee will verify the circ*mstances of her death and formally declare (in most cases) the death to be legal.

Ter Beek does not have much family and so has requested no funeral. Instead, her boyfriend will scatter her ashes after her cremation.

The world in arms

Ter Beek’s decision has made world news since an article from The Free Press was released earlier this month.

Ter Beek, who was interviewed extensively in the article, blasted the author on X (formerly Twitter) after publication, claiming the journalist misrepresented the truth and omitted parts of her interview.

Zoraya ter Beek is one of a growing number of people across the West choosing to end their lives rather than live in pain. Pain that in many cases can be treated.

In 2022, euthanasia comprised 5% of deaths in the Netherlands. Read @rupasubramanya’s investigation:… pic.twitter.com/YHh2Sk6DbN

— The Free Press (@TheFP) April 2, 2024

“He rushed my story, took my words out of context, I don’t even have borderline personality disorder,” she wrote before deleting her X account.

The Free Press has since made TikToks claiming that the 28-year-old is being granted euthanasia despite having a “treatable illness”.

Dear @rupasubramanya, we believe in giving credit where it’s due. During our research for this story, we saw your piece too, but did not use any of it because Zoraya Ter Beek has accused you of twisting her words. Sharing her post here for reference. Best regards. pic.twitter.com/lLX0CmntiI

— Palki Sharma (@palkisu) April 4, 2024

Euthanasia for mental illness

In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to legalise assisted suicide.

The process has increasingly been accepted in the West as an option for terminally ill people. Mental illness has become included in that definition more and more.

In 2022, there were 8,720 deaths by assisted suicide in the Netherlands, comprising approximately 5% of all of the country’s deaths in the same year. Of these 8,720 assisted suicide cases, 115 were for people with a mental illness.

The 93-year-old former Dutch Prime Minister, Dries van Agt, and his wife died hand-in-hand by assisted suicide in February this year.

Criteria for Euthanasia in the Netherlands

The statutory due care criteria say that the physician must:

Source: Regional Euthanasia Review Committees

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, help is available. From the Netherlands, call 113 to access the Suicide Prevention Hotline. You can also chat at www.113.nl.

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Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺https://gallivantations.com

Sam has over six years experience writing about life in the Netherlands and leads the content team at DutchReview. She originally came to the Netherlands to study in 2016 and now holds a BA (Hons.) in Arts, a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and (almost) a Masters in Teaching. She loves to write about settling into life in the Netherlands, her city of Utrecht, learning Dutch, and jobs in the Netherlands — and she still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike (she's learning!).

Physically-healthy 28-year-old Dutch woman will die through euthanasia in May (2024)
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