Category: popular names in Europe
Just when you start to think the whole Western World — and a good part of the non-Western one too — is one big Gap-wearing, Glee-watching, Lady Gaga-listening society, you come across something like the complete list of Dutch baby names to make you realize how distinct seemingly similar cultures can be.
For the name nerd, there’s a lot here that’s fascinating. But what I focused on especially were the names that are used much more widely in the Netherlands than in English-speaking countries.
It’s pretty astonishing, actually, how many names there are that are well-used there and virtually unknown here. On just the girls’ side (we’ll bring you the boys later this week), you might consider such plums as Azra, Dewi, Jet, and Puck. Not to mention Indy, Quinty, and Saar.
And then there are the Dutch girls’ names – this is the first category – that are familiar in the U.S. and U.K. but that are much more popular in the Netherlands now than they are here. I’m talking about such names as Linda, Lisa, and Robin.
And if you do want a name that’s a real name and yet truly unique in the U.S. and the U.K.? Then there are dozens of intriguing choices here for you.
Familiar Names More Popular in the Netherlands than in the U.S.
What’s next? It just might be L’s turn.
But there are lots of other L names coming up, or already arrived, in other categories. For instance:
THE LOU NAMES
LOUISE and LOUISA – Louise, long sleepy in the U.S., is beginning to sound fresh again and is the chic version in France and the U.K., while Louisa (or Luisa) is more widely used in Spain, Portugal, and Italy.
LUCA – The pretty (and to some American ears, too pretty) name for boys is wildly popular throughout Europe but just beginning to be heard in the U.S., sometimes for girls.
LUNA – The Italian and Spanish word for moon makes a celestial-sounding choice.
THE LEONINE NAMES
Another name trend sweeping Europe that’s beginning to be recognized in America too are names that mean and sometimes even sound like “lion.” Again, for both genders, examples include:
LEO – This one we’ve heard in the U.S., but still lovely.
LEON – Long a top name in German, Leon deserves to be rehabilitated in the U.S., where it had become a joke. Brad and Angelina giving it to their twin son Knox as a middle name could give it a major boost.
LEOPOLD – While not strictly meaning lion – its meaning is usually given as “bold people” – the Leo in this German name is derived from lion and this long-stodgy name has considerable new hipster cred.
LIONEL – A choice for adventurous baby-namers for both girls and boys.
Some of the freshest Biblical names have L beginnings.
LEMUEL – Destined to step out from Samuel’s shadow.
LYDIA – Strong, old-fashioned girls’ name that’s reemerging.
OTHER COOL L NAMES I COULDN’T SQUEEZE INTO ANY CATEGORY
A few other L names I like: The Old Lllllady trio LAVINIA, LETITIA, and LUCRETIA. The word name and surname LAND, originally used for one of the sons of pioneer aviator Charles and Anne Lindbergh, would make a strong choice for a boy or girl today. Hero name LINCOLN never goes out of style, but sounds particularly attractive now.