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Traditional Dutch first names for boys

This is the first article in a series of four about Dutch given names. In the next articles, we will look at:

The list of popular given names in The Netherlands has not changed much between the late middle ages and the 1960s, but changed drastically in the last 50 years. The list below lists popular given names, based on data from the 19th and early 20th century, in alphabetical order. Note that these names are the official names from birth certificates, in practice a shorter version was used (at least for the longer names).

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, . From the Latin name Hadrianus, the name of a Roman emperor and of several popes. Short forms: Adri, Adrie, Janus. English equivalent: Adrian.

, (and several spelling variants). Latin name, and the name of several Saints. Short forms: Anton, Ton, Tony. English equivalent: Anthony.

. From the Latin name Cornelius. Biblical name (Acts 10), and the name of a Saint. Short forms: Cees, Cor, Cnelis, Nelis.

. From the Old Germanic name Diederik. The name of several counts of Holland.

, , . From the Old Germanic name Gerhard. The name of several Saints. Short forms: Gert, Geert (but the full forms Gerrit and Gerard are also used as short forms).

. Old Germanic name. Name of a Saint, and of several German emperors and French, English and Castilian kings. Short form: Henk. English equivalent: Henry.

, . From the Hebrew ja'aqob. Biblical name, and the name of several Saints, and of kings of Aragon (Jaime) and England. Short form: Jaap. English equivalent: James.

, . By far the most common male first names in The Netherlands. From the Hebrew Johanan. Biblical name, the name of many Saints, the name of an English king. Short forms: Jan, Hans, Johan. English equivalent: John. A 1961 investigation shows that a staggering 11% of the male population used the first name Jan (source: Meertens Institute).

, . From the Greek word petra, rock. The name of the main apostle (given to him by Jesus in Matt.16:18). Short form: Piet. English equivalent: Peter.

, . From the Old Germanic name Wilhelm. The name of several Saints, the name of most Dutch stadtholders, the name of all Dutch kings, and the name of several English kings. Short form: Wim. English equivalent: William.

Related article: Dutch given names.


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Blogger Bruce Atchison - author said...

I need help with the spelling of a man's name. He pronounced it "Emmo" but Google hasn't found any such name. As I'm writing my memoir, I want to get the name's spelling correct. Please contact me via my www.Inscribe.org/BruceAtchison site if you know the spelling of this name. Knowing how frustrating it is when others misspell my name, I desperately want to spell the names of other people the way they want them spelled.

Blogger Henk van Kampen said...

The name is rare, but does exist, mostly in the northern province Groningen. See the database of first names from the Meertens Institute for more info on this name (in Dutch).

Anonymous jmterhune@hotmail.it said...

Can you tell me if there is a Dutch boy's name such as Shan or Sham?

Blogger Henk van Kampen said...

In 2010 there were between 25 and 30 men and boys named Sham or Shan. Traditionally I don't think the name existed in the Netherlands.

Blogger Norma said...

I have a sixteenth century document in which a Dutchman's first name is spelled "Nookete". Can anyone tell me what this might have been?

Blogger Unknown said...

We have old document with the name Douwe Zijlstra not sure if a male or female can you help?


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