Saturday, November 6, 2010

Funny Dutch Names

The Dutch have funny names.
Many Dutch names are of the form:
van ("of/from"), de/het/'t ("the"), der ("of the"), van de ("of the/from the"), and in het ("in the") or simply de ("the").
All but the latter denote a place of origin or residence, and the latter an occupation or attribute. Many names indicate where the family lived "Van de Veld - from the field". Van de names (from the) were obvious "You know...John from down the Road *points*" became Jan Van de Weg.
In 1811, the French under Napoleon occupied the Netherlands. They started having a census for the purpose of taxation, and forced everyone to have a family name, which was not a common practice for the Dutch.
The Dutch thought this would be a temporary measure, and took on comical or offensive sounding names as a practical joke on their French occupiers.
Some examples are:
  • Suikerbuik (Sugarbelly)
  • Spring in t Veld (Jump in the Field)
  • Uiekruier (Onion-crier)
  • Naaktgeboren (Born naked)
  • Poepjes (Little shit)
  • Schooier (Beggar)
  • Scheefnek (Crooked-neck)
  • Rotmensen (Rotten people)
  • Zeldenthuis (Rarely at home)
  • Zondervan (without a surname)
  • Borst (breast)
  • Piest (to urinate)
  • Paardebek (Horses mouth)
  • Zonderkop (without a head)
  • Vroegindeweij (early in the field)
  • Uyttewiliigen (out of the willows)
  • Kaasenbrood (Cheese and bread)
  • Gekkehuis (Crazy House)
  • Niemand (Nobody)
They had no way to know that these names would follow their descendants for centuries! *doh!*

Some Dutch names simply described the person by their job or characteristic or location
  • Bakker (meaning: "Baker")
  • Molenaar (meaning: "Miller")
  • Timmerman (meaning: "Carpenter")
  • De Groot (meaning: "The large [one]")
  • De Lange (meaning: "The tall one")
  • Korteweg (meaning: "(living along the) short road")
  • Van Rijn (meaning: "(living along the)/of Rhine")
  • De Vries (meaning: "the Frisian")
  • Ver Sluis (meaning: Far Lock) (there are many locks in Holland)
Because many of these names did stick, and were silly or inappropriate, under present Dutch law, one of the reasons you may change your legal name is because it's "ridiculous or obscene [onwelvoeglijk]". But even then, you have to pay  €226.98 to do it. (August 2002).


Trudy said...

That is very interesting isn't it?
You sure did some research!


Unknown said...

I have this lovely colleague whose surname is Hoogenboezem which means high tits. We laughed our heads off whe she explained it. She is full of life and humor with her own surname. Luv her..!!!

Anonymous said...

my surname is gaarkeuken (soupkitchen)