Usually, that person (whether or not on his or

Usually, ‘euthanasia’ is defined in a broad sense, encompassing all decisions (of doctors or others) intended to hasten or to bring about the death of a person (by act or omission) in order to prevent or to limit the suffering of that person (whether or not on his or her request). In The Netherlands, the word has a more limited meaning; it only refers to the deliberate termination of the life of a person on his request by another person (i.e. active, voluntary euthanasia)1 . This contribution deals with the regulation and practice of euthanasia in this limited sense. It is also in this sense that euthanasia in The Netherlands has attracted so much attention and raised so much controversy. This is not to say, of course, that euthanasia is necessarily the most important, let alone the only, issue as far as medical decisions relating to the end of life are concerned. Due to an aging population, sociocultural developments and the increasing potential of medical technology to prolong life, physicians (in The Netherlands and elsewhere) have increasingly to face difficult dilemmas, first of all on whether or not to withhold (or refrain from) treatment. Also in The Netherlands (as in Britain, the USA, and other countries) there is much discussion on nontreatment decisions, in particular when incompetent patients (severely handicapped newborns, comatose patients, patients with sever dementia, or others) are concerned. With regard to these decisions, however, the situation in The Netherlands would not seem to be basically at variance with accepted practice in most other countries. Therefore, this contribution will focus on (active, voluntary) euthanasia. It will deal first of all with the role of the courts and the profession in the regulation of euthanasia. Subsequently, medical practice will be discussed, with particular reference to recent empirical studies conducted in this field. Finally, an account will be given of the development of the notification procedure, of legislation and of prosecution policies