Financial TimesFinancial Times

Dignitas founder Ludwig Minelli: ‘We should have the freedom to choose how we die’

By Henry Mance

08 May 2023 · 7 min read

Editor's Note

For 25 years, Ludwig Minelli has dedicated himself to helping people from around the world to die with dignity. This is an interview with the poster boy for an early death and a long life.

If you travel to Dignitas in earnest, you need various things: medical records, money, courage. Before I made the trip, I was given just one condition: do not reveal the address. Desperate people sometimes turn up at the offices unannounced. Dignitas seems worried Financial Times readers might head to Zurich, demanding immediate discharge. It prefers that those interested phone up — which they do, especially after weekends and holidays and, I’m told, full moons.

To many people in Britain and beyond, Dignitas is synonymous with assisted dying. This month marks 25 years since it opened its doors in Switzerland, the only country in the world that allows non-residents to seek help with suicide. It has facilitated the death of more than 3,700 people. On average, one Briton makes their final journey there every fortnight.

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