What's in a (Dutch) name?

During my whole life, my surname, which originates from Italy, has been "laughing material" for many people, even though it is not pronounced completely the way it is written...

And given that I am half Indonesian, it is an additional theme of amusement that Nasi is also a popular Indonesian rice dish!

Entertaining Dutch surnames

However, the Dutchies seem to have quite "entertaining" surnames too. For example, my best friend’s last name is "Mug" or "mosquito" in English. A bit more amusing than an Indonesian rice dish, right?

Where do these names originate from? Time to dive into the history books…

It seems that, at some point during the Middle Ages, it was decided that we should not have one but two names.

- Father's name

The (newly discovered) second name, which back then was called "father’s name," represented your relationship with your father and your father’s name. Therefore, in my case, it would be Priscilla Carlodaughter.

However, better examples include:
› Willemsen or Willem’s son
› Pietersen or Pieter’s son
 Jansen or… well, you get the point!

- Occupation as the last name

Nevertheless, after a while this got a bit boring and the "trendsetters" had the innovative idea of using their occupation as their last name, something that could save them a lot of money and time, business-wise.

For instance:
 Visser (fisherman)
 Smit (smith)
 Bakker (baker)
 de Kok (chef)

- Geographical names

"Geographical names" were also very hip:
 van Brussel (from Brussels)
 de Vries (from Friesland)
 van Velzen (from Velzen)
 van der Velden (from the fields)

- Names based on characteristics

Then, the real "dare-devils" came up with names based on certain characteristics like:
 de Jong (young)
 de Klein (small)
 de Groot (big)
 de Lange (long)

- Names after animals

From that point on, things went wild as many named themselves after their favourite animals:
› de Leeuw (lion)
 de Haas (hare)
 de Hond (dog)
and yes, the circle is complete: Mug!

Any "interesting" names or advertisements you would like to share?

Half Italian, half Indonesian and born in L.A. Priscilla Nasi works for Perfect Visit. Priscilla's posts can also be found at the Perfect Visit Blog.

Priscilla Nasi


Priscilla Nasi

I work at Perfect Visit as a Operations Coordinator which allows me to experience a lot of interesting stuff for my blogs!

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