> Even though the whole world is burning

Aurelia’s Last 26 Days

Sandra Hoyn, Germany

Aurelia is 29 and will die soon. Because it is her decision. In the Netherlands, where she lives, euthanasia is allowed since 2002. Every year several thousand people end their lives there legally with help of a doctor, because their pain is unbearable and there is no chance for recovery. When is the suffering too much to live on? Aurelia suffers from a serious mental illness. She made all possible treatments and therapies. She says, “I want to end my suffering, I just want to die in dignity. I want finally peace!”

Although euthanasia is legal for mentally ill people in the Netherlands, doctors allow it just in a few cases. On the 31th of December 2017 a phone call comes from the end-of-life-clinic: Aurelia is allowed to die, in 26 days.

I accompanied Aurelia through this time.


Sandra Hoyn (b. 1976) is an independent photojournalist based in Hamburg, Germany. She studied photography at the University of Applied Sciences Hamburg, graduating in 2005. She started working for magazines, NGOs and on her personal photo projects, focusing on social, environmental and human rights issues.

2017 she received the first prize of the Sony World Photography Awards in category daily life and POYi – Pictures of the Year International third place category portrait. In 2016 she received the Magnum Photography Award in category photojournalism, 2015 World Press Photo Award third prize, category nature singles.