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the vault

2 contemporary dutch painters
Nice gallery of two Dutch artists: oilpainting, watercolor's and drawings. Worth a visit.

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Dutch landscapes and other
free work of the
Dutch painter, illustrator
Piet Eggen

photographs from the Netherlands
Gallery of the Netherlands.
Click the picture to visit this growing database of pictures of Dutch landscapes, townviews, mill's and rivers.
(Amateur) photographers daily provide this database of new photographs from all over the country. If you want to have your personal photo of any place in the Netherlands added to this database, just feel free to contact me

Dutch family-names, given names & naming-system
Given names Links
Familynames Links
(Dutch) Naming System Links
Familynames  Text
Naming system   Text


Given names
Voornamen in de Nederlanden.
[Given names in the Netherlands. Nice, pretty complete database of Dutch given names showing diminutives, male-and female variations]
Belgium /France
Frisian Name Thesaurus [Great tool for finding Frisian given names, patronyms with all variations. Unfortunately in Dutch but very self-explanatory]
Flemish names, Bruges, Belgium, 1400-1600
Medieval Names Archive
DICTIONARY of Flemish First Names with Translation in Latin(e) and French
Frisian given names
Flemish First Names

A note on Dutch given names

Behind the Dutch Names


A survey of given names in Flanders, Holland, Brabant and Groningen in the High Middle Ages.


Frisian Name Thesaurus. Find the orthography, variations and groundwords of Frisian given names and patronyms. (Site is in Dutch, but rather selfexplanatory)

English equivalents of Dutch names
Dutch names and English equivalents
Germanic names in the Low Lands before 1150
Dutch-English given names
Eastfrisian given names
Gustave Anjou,"List of Dutch and Frisian Baptismal Names With Their English Equivalents"  (in Ulster County, N. Y., Probate Records; New York, 1906)
German given names searchpage
George Rogers Howell, "The Origin and Meaning of English and Dutch Surnames of New York State Families", Albany, 1894.
Behind the Names: German Names
Common Dutch Names in the Early 14th Century
18th Century PA German Name Spelling Idiosyncrasies
Common Dutch Names in the Early 14th Century
Dutch Womens' Names before 1100
Poland, surnames
Notes on selected Polish surnames
The Jewish Given Names Data Bases



Links about familynames and patronymics
Surnames from patronymics (Donna Speer Ristenbatt)
Dutch nomenclature and Dutch baptismal names and their equivalents in English
The Meertens Instituut
Highly recommended!!

Surnames Belgium <>USA

Patronymics and their spelling
Dutch patronymics of the 1600s (Lorinne McGinnis Schulze)
Rest of the world
Common Naming Patterns
being a Brief Guide to Bynames in the
Major European Languages and Cultures



Northern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands
familyname -spelling 

Note. Rough and general rules: use with precaution!
In the Southern Netherlands (present-day Belgium) family names were adopted and quite current in the late Middle ages. (Fixed family-names were common already in the 13th/14th century in towns like Gent and Bruges). Middle Dutch- and the later 16th century spelling was used of course. In the Northern Netherlands (present-day Netherlands) fixed family names first came in use in the 16th century (the towns) and the 17th/18th century (the rural areas). In the northern provinces of Groningen and Friesland people stubbornly clung to the patronymic system up to the late 19th century.
Of course fixed names could also be found in the provinces Noord-Brabant, Zeeland, Holland, Utrecht  and Gelderland FROM the 13th/14th century: they just weren't too widespread, though.
The huge time gap between the wide-spread adoption of fixed family names in the Southern- and Northern Netherlands explains the spelling differences between north and south.
Note: The Dutch and Belgian province Brabant now is separated by the Belgian-Dutch border. Before 1648 this province (Belgian Brabant and Dutch Brabant) was a political and linguistical unity: the Duchy of Brabant. Belgium and the Netherlands also share a province of the same name: Limburg. Linguistically, however, this wasn't a unity: Limburg actually is historically a quite complicated subject.

The Netherlands
[ Northern Netherlands]

[Southern Netherlands]
De Waard - De Waerdt
Ketelaar - Ketelaer
Vermeer - Vermeire
Duif - Duyf
Van den Broek - Vandenbroucke
De Roek - De Rouck
Kloots - Cloetens
Kruis - Cruijs
Huidekoper - Huijdecoper
Deurmeier - Duermeijer
Wouters -Wauters
Brouwer - De Brauwere
Tiedeman -Tydeman
ei / ij
Eikenaar - Eijckenaer
Romijn - Romeyn
Dirks - Dieryckx
Valks - Valckx
(De) Kok - De Cock


Koster(s) - Coster(s)
Kwartel - Quartel
Bakker -
De Bacquer
Van de-r/ Van de(n-)
Van der Hulst - Verhulst
Van de(r) Molen/Meulen - Vermeulen
Van der- / Van de(n-)
Vander- / Vanden-
Van der Ha(a)gen -Vanderhaegen
Van de(n) Broek - Vandenbroucke
Bakker - De Backer(e)
Meier - De Meyere/Demeyere


(Patronymic) familynames, suffixes and regional variations
1.The simplest non-patronymic familynames are the ones who (almost) coincide with the existing (mostly male) given names. The amount of these familynames is huge; and, quite a lot of the given names they' re derived from even don t exist anymore. Examples:
Godert, GodartGoudart
Meis, MewisMeijs


2. Another very large group of non-patronymic familynames got their shape by simply adding -man to the existing given names. This method of creating a familyname was very popular during the Middle Ages. Examples:


3. Another group of non-patronymic family names who actually are disguised, or slightly altered existing given names, are the latinized given names, (NOT to be mixed up with familynames/patronyms that became latinized like: Bogaert > Bogardus or Janssen > Jansonius). Examples:


4. When you combine two given names, you ll get another small group of non-patronymic family names. Examples:
Aert and (De) NysAertnys
Boere and KoeleBoerkoel
Gale and KopGalekop
Jongen and NeleJongeneel
Tiele and BaertTielbaert


5. The Ynal group of non-patronymic familynames, made up out of given names is a group of combinations from given names with diverging conceptions. Examples:
Happy (=blij) Lieven Bleyeleven
Hase from the valley (=dal/del)Delhaas
Friend (=maat) DirkDirkmaat
Jan the servant, hand (=knecht)Janknegt
Cousin (=neef) of JanNeefjan/Nevejans
Hans the carpenter (=timmerman)Timmerhans


The variety of different sufYxes used to build patronymics is caused mainly by the regional, dialectal differences in the Netherlands from upnorth Groningen and Friesland till Flanders. This is the reason that different subgroups can be formed : they will follow below.


1. The largest coherent group, found all over the Netherlands, with endings on:

- -------------------------------------------------------------------------
-sen, -se, -s, -sz, -en, -ens, -er, -es, -is, -de, -den
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------

Genitive -s and the abreviations of soon/zoon(= son), like -s, -sz, -se, and -sen go hand in hand here: sometimes its hard to Ynd out which of the two are the origin in the various names. Lets try to elucidate it by taking the example of the name JANSSEN JAN is the known given name; and to indiquate his son, one used to say de zoon van Jan, (= the son of Jan). According to mens lazy nature this became: Jan s zoon, which even became shortened more and more. So patronymics like Janssen, Jansen, Janszen, Jansz, Janse and Jans were born. The sufYxes -es, -en , -de and -e served the same purpose: they all were used to denote that someone was a son of a known fellow-villager or -citizen. More examples from this large group:

BateBa(a)ten/ Baats/ Battes/ Bates
HeinHeinis/ Heins


2. A closely related, but yet to be distinguished group of names, are the ones ending on:
-son, -zon
This -son, -zon, to be seen as a replacement for the usual -sen. The group has to be named separately because of the fact that jewish countrymen tended to use this sufYx to their -patronymic- names.
GerritGerritzon/ Gerritson
LeviLevison/ Levisson
MuusMuisson/ Musson/ Muysson
TommeTomson/ Thomson


3. The suffixes:
-ing, and her derivations -eng, -g, or -ingh, -engh and -gh(e)
- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
are regional endings; in this case patronymic sufYxes of Frankish (NOT French) origin. ( The Franks, being one of the Western-Germanic tribes -next to the Frisians and Saxons- living in the central and southern Dutch area from the Yfth century). -Ing, meaning: son of, descendent, progeny or offspring. Patronymics, comprising these sufYxes, are also a very large group. Sometimes these patronymics even have an -s ending:actually we can speak then of a double patronymic .(Alings: the son of the son of Ale)!
AbbeAbbing/ Abbingh
AlteAlting/ Althing
WolterWoldering/ Woltering/ Woltring


4. The Saxon alternative reading of the Frankish -ing is:
We Ynd these endings mainly in the eastern regions of the Netherlands. Variations of -ink (depending on the region of origin) are: -inc, -inck, -ingk, -ynck, -ynk, -enck, -enk, etc. Examples:
BaveBavink/ Bavinck
DuikeDuickinck/ Duyckinck
SureSuring/ Zurink/ Zoerink


5. The Frisians have built there patronymics -amongst others- by adding -inga to their given names. Sometimes this changed to -enga, which even could shorten further to -ega. A subgroup of these patronymic suffixes are: -a, -ga and -ia.
Actually these latest ones can be considered as the ultimate short forms of -inga.(For instance: the surname Aka actually is a short form of Akkinga -after the given name Akke).
So actually the first Frisian coherent group of patronymic suffixes consists of:
- --------------------------------------------------
-inga, -enga, -ega, -a, -ga and -ia
- --------------------------------------------------
Reyer Reyenga
BosBoschga/ Bosscha/ Bozuwa
HaneHanja/ Hania
In the province of Drenthe, and in the southern part of the province of Groningen, a derivation of the Frisian patronymic suffix -inga is used, but in this case changed to:
- ------------------------------------------------------
-inge and -even shortened further to -ge
- ------------------------------------------------------
(Keep in mind that Drenthe, Friesland and Groningen all border upon each other).
Lude Luinge


6. Another main group of Frisian (but also in use in the partly Frisian./Saxon province of Groningen) patronymic suffixes are:
- -----------------------------------------------------
-ma, -ema, -sema, -sma and -zema
- -----------------------------------------------------
The -ma and -sma as a rule being the real Frisian one; and, the -sema and -zema being the Groningen equivalent. The suffix -ema normally appears after a consonant.
Some words to explain this group:
the 's' in these suffixes normally stands for a genitive ending, while the 'ma' part simply stands for: man.
So a surname like Geertsema could be analyzed like this:
Actually it should be written like 'Geertesma', meaning litterally : a man from (the person with the given name) Geert.Generally this can mean: a son, grandson, cousin, offspring, progeny from a person called Geert. BUT... it could even mean: a predial slave, servant, follower or disciple from a man with the given name Geert! A subgroup of the aforesaid suffixes are:
-na, -sna and -sena
All these actually just carrying the same meaning.
ArendAartsma(Fr.) / Aardema (Gr.)
BokkeBok(s)ma(Fr.) / Bokkema (Gr.)
GrateGratama (Fr.) / Gratema (Gr.)
JorritJorritsma/ Jurritsma
Falco Falckena / Falkena
WierdWier(d)sma(Fr) /Wiertzema(Gr.)


7. The final (mainly) Frisian patronymic suffix is a simple:
Here too the suffix is placed behind the stem; the given name. (It has to be said that this 'd' often replaces the 't' at the end of a given name. In case that the given name end on a 'd', a simple -a just is added ).

NOTE: It has to be said that not all the (Frisian) names ending on -da are patronymic. Some are topographical names: denoting where a person was originating from. This will pose an extra problem to foreigners since they're normally not too familliar with small Frisian villages or hamlets these persons are named after! (Do take a look at the end of this overview to read about another Frisian topographic suffix: -stra, a very large group).
In the examples to follow I will mention just some true patronymic names
from the -da group.

AlbertAlba(r)da / Albe(r)da
RippertRipperda/ Rijpperda
Falco Falckena / Falkena
WierdWier(d)sma(Fr) /Wiertzema(Gr.)


8.The last group but one harks back to the earlier mentioned group of non-patronymic familynames which were created by 'adding -man to a given name'. Even with these names patronymics have been created by adding an -s (mainly in the province Noord-Brabant) or an -se (mainly in the province Zeeland).Keep in mind that Zeeland borders upon Noord-Brabant. Usually these suffixes are listed as:
Note: it is remarkable that quite a lot of the 'Given name + -man surnames have not become patronymics'by this simply adding of -s(e). That's why this group is rather small. Examples:
Haas Hesemans/ Heezemans
TielTiel(e)mans/ Tilmans/ Tillemans


9.The very last group of patronymic suffixes are those with Latin genitive endings:
-i, -ie, -is and -y
Tier, DereThierry/ Thiry/ Tierie
Wiard Wiardi


The Frisian -stra names: sometimes patronymic, mostly topographic
- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And then, absolutely finally, we have this widespread Frisian -stra suffix. This denotes 8 of 10 times a topographic/geographical name, since 'stra' simply means: descended-, originating- sprung-, or born from.
I have to stress thought that the name can be patronymic; -stra can and has been added in various cases to given names.(Bone > Boonstra, Boele > Boelstra, Kort > Kortstra).
But in most cases -stra points to a village, topographical item like a bridge, a curve in a road, a meadow or a hill etc.etc.
Dragtstraafter the village of Drachten
HeemstraAfter 'heem' (= house, or the yard around the house)
HoutstraAfter 'hout' (= woods, forest)
KooistraAfter 'kooi' (= duck decoi)
Vlas(s)tra After 'vlas' (= flax)
ZijlstraAfter 'zijl' (= lock, sluice)


Links about the Dutch -and related- Naming Systems
Dutch naming patterns
Dutch Systems in Family Naming NY and NJ
(Genealogical Publications of the National Genealogical Society, No. 12.)by Rosalie Fellows Bailey
Domine Selyns' Records: Dutch Name System
Naming practices, Germany (patronymics and occupational)
Naming practices, Germany (farm and locality)
18th Century PA German Naming Customs
South Africa
Naming practices in the Eastern Cape: the influence of English
Jewish names & naming conventions
Differences in Sephardic Ashkenazi Genealogy


The Dutch Naming System

Short historical overview till the 16th-century

In the area we're talking about -the Netherlands and Belgium- Germanic given names were the standard long before the beginning of the Christian era. A rich variety of one- and two stem Germanic constructions like Karl, Bert, Wolf, Adelbert, Aldbert, Garhard, Thiatlind and many others could be found here, dominating a much smaller group of Celtic names. Of course there must have been a Latin influence during the Roman occupation of the Low Lands also, lasting till about the 4th-century. Mind that these Germanic stems could be male, female or neutral. Male f.i. were: bert, helm and megin. Female: burg, truth, hild and many more. Furthermore it is important to know that the amount Germanic names was growing constantly, due to the possibility of endless combinations: Gerbrand, Brandhild, Hilbrand, Brantger etc.etc.
From roughly the 7th-century almost the entire population of the now-called Netherlands and part of nowadays Belgium is bearing a Germanic given name. As a rule but one name: a call name.
The first signs of naming in our area are dating from the first century after Christ. From the 7th-century we can find quite some written examples: Hildibold, father of Aengilbald and Gaotbert, father of Verengaot (names found in the province of Noord-Brabant).If you take a careful look at these examples, you can see part of the fathers name appearing in the son's name. This method of naming is based on variation: the name of the child in this case is made up from parts of the names of the father, mother, or father and mother, or even from other related familymembers.
The second principal form of naming is repetition. This method was found in the 9th-century for the first time. In this case the name of the father, mother (grandfather and-mother, uncle etc) unmoderated becomes the name of the child.The first written example of repetion was found in nowadays Belgium: Liudricus, son of Liudricus.
The method of variation ended roughly in the 10th-century in nowadays Belgium. In the area of nowadays Netherlands it ended in the late 11th-/12th-century. More and more the method of repetition took the place of variation.
At the same time, running almost parallel with this change in naming,we can see a steady decrease of new Germanic name-combinations. In the 11th-/12th-century we can see a mass decline of German names. In a process coming about from south to north the Germanic names are ousted by Christian and other names of non-Germanic origin. About 1500 non-Germanic (mostly Christian) names have outnumbered the Germanic names in both Belgium and the Netherlands. The provinces of Groningen and Friesland were the last strongholds of Germanic names late in the second half of the 16th-century.
Note: till the 17th-century, as a rule, the number of names given to a person was one.

Sadly enough there has been, except regional researches, but meagre global research concerning the naming system in the period between the 13th- and 18th-century in the Low Lands.
Based on a rather thorough study* concerning the naming system in the town of Haarlem and its environs (in the province of Holland) the researcher came to the following findings:

1. It was an exeption to name a child after his grandfather or -mother if they were still alive;
2. Generally the right to choose a name for a child was alternate taken by the father and mother. The father chose the name of the first son, the mother for the secon son etc. The mother chose the name for the first daughter, the father for the second;
3. The first son received the name of the paternal grandfather, if this grandfather did decease before the birth of his grandson. If this was not the case, the father chose the name of his paternal- or maternal grandfather. There was more latitude in choosing the name for the sons to follow. The same system applied to the daughter.
4. Established contraventions within this system are as follows:
a) a posthumously born son was given the name of his father;
b) if the father died shortly after the baptism of his son, the son as yet received the name of his father, sometimes even also his father's patronym;
c) if a mother died during the delivery of a daughter, the girl would be baptized with her mother's given name. If the mother did decease a short while later, the name of the girl sometimes was changed;
d) the right to choose a name for her firstborn daughter did not apply to the new wife of a widower. If, however, a widow did remarry, she had the right to give her next son the name of her deceased husband.
But again: these established naming-customs were found before 1600 in Haarlem and its environs! Sporadic researches in southern Holland and in Bergen op Zoom (western Noord Brabant) did show almost identical customs, but, we still don't have enough facts and material about the rest of the Netherlands to simply assume that those naming-customs were identical.

Research, undertaken in 1946, provides a rather good documentation of the naming customs from the second half of the 19th-century till the first half of the 20th-century, all over the Netherlands.The results of this research showed that there were roughly 2 ground-patterns:

Method A. The first child is always named after his paternal grandparents.
Method B. If the first child is a boy, he will be named after his paternal grandfather; is the first child a girl, she will be named after her maternal grandmother.
Restriction: in both cases A and B, deceased grandparents rank above the living!

In some regions of the Netherlands method A is used as a rule, in other regions we'll find method B. There are regions even showing the use of both rules.
Note that from the 20th-century both methods did fade away slowly!

Source: "Voor- en familienamen in Nederland. Geschiedenis, verspreiding, vorm en gebruik", by R.A. Ebeling, Regio-Projekt Groningen / Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie, 's Gravenhage, 1993. ISBN 90-5028-038-2

Overview of the general naming rules
(to be used as a rule of thumb)

1. The first son generally was named after his paternal grandfather; the first daughter after the paternal- or maternal grandmother (differing from place to place or region)

2.The second child generally was named after the opposite side: if the first child was named after one of the paternal parents, now -dependent on the gender-one of the maternal parent was used...and the other way round

3.The third and fourth child usually did receive their name from the grandparents who were not named yet; if necessary the gender of the name was changed accordingly (Cornelis >Cornelia, Dirck >Dirckje)

4. The succeeding children were named after their aunt and/or uncle, generally following the same rules as applied to the previous children: if the first child was named after his or her paternal grandparent, the same order was used for uncles and aunts.
It did occur that, if all the grandparents were named allready, the child was named after the great-grandparents or the parents themselves

5. The general tradition is that deceased members of the family rank above the living relatives

6. A posthumously born son will be named after his father; the first son or daughter born in a second marriage will be named after the deceased husband or spouse [This custom is found in certain parts of Limburg as well as in Alkmaar and environs before 1600. It can be assumed that this custom has been followed in other parts of the Netherlands as well]

7.When a child died, the name generally was given to the succeeding child or the succeeding son or daughter.[ It is not unusual to see the same name appear within a family, two, three or even more times!]

1.Meertens Instituur
2. "Voor- en familienamen in Nederland. Geschiedenis, verspreiding, vorm en gebruik"
, by R.A. Ebeling, Regio-Projekt Groningen / Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie, 's Gravenhage, 1993. ISBN 90-5028-038-2
3. "Handleiding voor genealogisch onderzoek in Limburg", by R.De La Haye, Maastricht 1987

Some regional- and local remarks:

Zuid-Beveland (Province of Zeeland)

In some municipalities of the isle of Zuid-Beveland the following method has been observed: if a new clergyman, domine, arrived in a village, it was custom to give the firstborn male the given name(s) of this clergyman.

Source:"Namen, vroeger en later in Zuid-Beveland", by J.J.Polderman (Article in Historia 13 (1948), a monthly magazine for history and art-history, pp 63-66



The following has been determined in the province of Limburg (no indication of time given):

A posthumously born son will be named after his father; the first son or daughter born in a second marriage will be named after the deceased husband or spouse

Source: "Handleiding voor genealogisch onderzoek in Limburg", by R.De La Haye, Maastricht 1987


It has been observed in this province that the names of the grandparents and great-grandparents were used to begin with. This would normally provide 12 children of a name. Since most families didn't have more than 12 children, no other sources (uncle's or aunts) were needed.

Source: Dutch GenBNL, genealogical mailinglist. Observation of an amateur-genealogist in the province of Drenthe, based on his family-research.

2002, willem rabbelier