17 year old rape victim Noa Pothoven ends her life (but it wasn’t state sanctioned euthanasia)

The reporting of the death of Noa Pothoven has surfaced around the world, as misinformation about her death circulates all over the internet and in prominent foreign newspapers. But what’s the real story?

You may have noticed the story of the young 17-year-old Dutch girl, Noa Pothoven. Her death was announced on Sunday and her story has surfaced on the internet all over the world. I noticed it pop up both on my Facebook and recommended on Google to me by British papers such as The Daily Mail and The Independent, but what they were publishing wasn’t the real story. It was literal fake news. Noa Pothoven wasn’t euthanised in the Netherlands at all.

Here’s my quick Google search:


From the UK, to India, to the USA…

What really happened with Noa Pothoven

Noa Pothoven, a young girl from the Netherlands, suffered from sexual violence. She then struggled with depression, anorexia and PTSD due to her trauma and wanted to end her life. As reported by the gelderlander.nl, at 16-years-old she approached the Levenseind clinic in The Hague last year without her parents knowing and asked if she was could be assisted with her suicide – they said no and they thought she was too young. She has been suffering from mental health problems for years.

She had been treated by these clinics due to her mental health and saw no way out. According to gelderlander.nl, she was in and out of the hospital due to her anorexia and had to be put into a coma to be fed artificially. She even wrote her own book Winning or Learning to tell people about her struggle and to shed light on the waiting lists for sufficient mental health help. In short, she struggled for a long time and was very ill.

Linda.nl reports that she decided that she could not go on any longer and starved herself with the aim to die. She wrote about this on her Instagram (which was later deleted). In the past, she had tried to kill herself many times. It was decided that they would stop trying to save her and let her rest in a hospital bed at her home. This was not through euthanasia.

Anger over ‘fake news’ about Noa Pothoven’s death

People have taken to Twitter to voice their anger about the misinformation in the media that has caused this story to circulate. Newspapers all over the world have reported on Noa dying via euthanasia – some even criticising the Netherlands for this decision. A decision which never even happened. Some of them have now finally made clarifications, but others are still wanting the clicks.

Mistakes can be made in journalism – hey, we even get the weather wrong sometimes (damn you NL). People have criticised the papers for not making basic fact checks. We’re with them on that one.

If you or anyone close to you is suffering from depression or considering suicide, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. If you’re in the Netherlands, you can call 0900-0113 or visit the official Dutch suicide prevention website.

Any thoughts about Noa Pothoven and her story? Let us know in the comments

Emma Brown
Emma Brown
A familiar face at DutchRevew. Emma arrived in Holland in 2016 for a few weeks, fell in love with the place and never left. Here she rekindled her love of writing and travelling. Now you'll find her eating stroopwafels in the DutchReview office since 2017.


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