By Linda Rosenkrantz

The list of popular Dutch baby names is certainly a fascinating mix. In addition to names that are currently well-liked around the globe, like Liam and Noah, and Emma and Ella, there are the Dutch versions of classic names (Roos for Rose and Saar for Sarah), plus a few names that wouldn’t go over well elsewhere (girl names Pip and Puck). But what distinguishes the Dutch list most of all is the preponderance of one-syllable nickname names that are unique to their nomenclature.

Here are some of the most interesting names for girls and boys that are popular in the Netherlands.


ANOUKwas chosen by Ewan McGregor for his daughter, name of the lead character in ‘Chocolat’, #189 on NB

AYA#790 in the US, 89 in Spain, multi-cultural

BRITTshortened form of Birgit and Brittany

ELIF—Turkish name of novelist Elif Batuman, author of ‘The Idiot’

EVI#11 in the Netherlands in 2015

FENNA#12 in Netherlands, a short form of Fredericke, also Fenne

FLEURFrench for flower, has Harry Potter and ‘Being Human’ cred, #12 in Holland

ISAMulti-cultural, Top 20 in the Netherlands, short form of all those Isa-starting names

LIVmeans ‘life’, associated with Liv Tyler (named for Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann), used by Julianne Moore and Bar Rafaeli for their daughters, character in ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and “iZombie’, #675 in the US, #16 in the Netherlands, 375 on NB

LOTTE#9 in the Netherlands, singers Lotte Lenya and Lehmann distinguished bearers

MANON—popular in film and opera, #4 in France, 9 in Belgium, 836 on NB, used by Damian Lewis for his daughter

MARIT—means ‘pearl’, #305 in Germany

MERELmeans ‘blackbird’, a Top 100 name in the Netherlands

MILOU#32 in the Netherlands, Malou is also popular

NOA#15 in the Netherlands, 10 in Spain,728 in the US, 482 on NB, a character on ‘Code Black

ROOSthe Dutch form of Rose, #20 in the Netherlands

SAARDutch variation of Sarah, #8 in the Netherlands, and moving up

SANNE—diminutive of Susanne, pronounced sah-na, #19 in the Netherlands, Senna is also popular

SUZEanother nickname name for Susanne, Top 70 on the Dutch list

VEERLE–#68 in the Netherlands, Veerie is also popular

YARA–#22 in the Netherlands, 443 on NB, means ‘small butterfly’ in Arabic, the sister of Theon in ‘Game of Thrones’


BASdiminutive of Bastiaan and Sebastian, popular on its own, as is Baz

BJORN#953 in the US, #512 on NB, familiar via Swedish tennis great Bjorn Borg, character in ‘The Hobbit’

BRAMAnother popular nickname name, now at #11 in the Netherlands, 481 on NB, made famous by Dracula creator Bram Stoker

CASPERParticularly popular in Scandinavia and Holland, character in Henry James’s ‘A Portrait of a Lady’, #194 on Nameberry, 85 in the Netherlands and 51 in Sweden

DAANThe Number 1 boy name in the Netherlands in 2016

DJONNO—A place name in Norway; as in Djuna and Django, the D is silent

DUUK—Pronounced as Duke, it’s #86 in the Netherlands, while Luuk is #7

FLORISA royal boy name in the Netherlands, where it ranks at #42

JENSDutch/Scandinavian version of John/Johannes is #37 in the Netherlands

JEROENThe Dutch version of Jerome is more popular than the English one.

JOOSTMeaning ‘just’ and pronounced, like most Dutch names, as starting with ‘y’, it’s on the popularity lists of both Holland and Germany

JORANA popular Dutch form of George (others are Joeri and Jorgen)

JORISA Top 100 name in both the Netherlands and Germany

MEESA diminutive of Bartholomeus, up at #12 in the Netherlands

MILAN—A place name now ranked at #463 in the US, it is much further up in the Netherlands, where it’s #5. A notable bearer is Czech writer Milan Kundera, author of ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’, while another writer, Salman Rushdie,chose it for his son, as did singer Shakira and footballer Gerard Pique.

OLIVIERFrench version of Oliver, a character name on ‘Orphan Black’ is very popular in the Netherlands.

SANDERA common European short form of Alexander, is a standard in the Netherlands

SEM#3 in the Netherlands in 2016, Dutch form of biblical Shem; the similar Senn follows at #49

STIJN—another short form of longer names—Constantijn and Augustijn—ranks at #12 in the Netherlands

SVENSven is now more popular in the Netherlands than in its native Sweden, and it’s 775 on Nameberry.

WILLEMThe familiar form of the classic William, known elsewhere via painter de Kooning and actor Dafoe, is 51 in the Netherlands and 621 on Nameberry

XAVIA rising diminutive of Xavier, Xavi is #57 in the Netherlands

Anyof these Dutch names appeal to you?

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Unusual Names with Popular Nicknames


Popular nicknames like Ellie and Jack are often much more common than popularity lists indicate, since they’re given on their own and also used as short forms for a wide range of proper names that are themselves very popular, from Eleanor to Elizabeth to Gabrielle, from Jackson to John to Jonathan.

But what if you use a trendy nickname for a much more unusual proper name? To some people, this may represent the worst of all worlds: Your child is known by a name shared with many others, while the “secret” proper name adds only confusion and no public distinction.

But there’s another way to look at it. You get to use an unusual proper name that you adore or that’s been passed down through your family or simply because you believe in unique names.

And then you soften whatever can be difficult about having an uncommon name — no one knows how to spell or pronounce it, other kids think it’s weird while your kid feels out of step with her contemporaries — by calling your child by a name that’s much more easily accepted and liked.

Or maybe approach it from the other direction and use a trendy short form that you love or your partner loves or that’s a family name, but you want to make it stand out from the six other Wills in the family by pairing it with a distinctive long form.

Plus, this method gives your child a choice. He or she can use either name at any time for any purpose, for a few moments or forever.

Maybe best of all, you get two very different names in one.

Here, some popular nicknames and uncommon full names that make intriguing pairs.

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Boys’ Names for Girls

boy names for girls

By Pamela Redmond Satran

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds were hardly the first parents to use a boys’ name for a baby girl when they named their daughter James. But they helped popularize a trend that includes Jessica Simpson‘s daughter Maxwell, Mark Zuckerberg’s baby girl August, and Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’s little girl Wyatt.

Thousands of American baby girls were given boys’ names, or names closely associated with male figures, last year. We’re not talking about gender-neutral names such as Riley and Robin, Blue or North that work equally well for children of both sexes. We’re talking about the female equivalent to naming a boy Sue.

So why is it okay, even fashionable and attractive to name a girl James but not to name a boy Jane or Sue? Why indeed, say some. Where some believe that naming your daughter Ezra or Declan is a feminist act, others claim it’s actually sexist, given that it’s hardly considered cool or cute to give traditionally female names — Elizabeth, say, or Maeve — to boys.

Love the practice or hate it, boys’ names are being given in ever greater numbers every year to girls. We combed the social security lists to find male names that rank below the Top 1000 but were given to at least 20 baby girls in 2017. The statistics represent number of baby girls who received each name in 2007 compared with ten years later, showing increases of double, triple, ten times — even 89 times in the case of Jupiter — in the number of girls given these traditionally-male names.

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By Katinka

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Great Girl Names: I spy with my little I

By Linda Rosenkrantz

I never cease to be intrigued by the fact that no only do names go in and out of style, but letters do too.  And especially vowels.  And especially vowels at the start of names.

We’ve had a long period of names, particularly girls’ names, beginning with the letter A, which was followed by E-names for both girls and boys, and lately parents have been showing their love for names started with O.

But the letter I has had a pretty paltry presence on the SSA list. There are only 16 I-initialed girls name out of the 1000 total, and of those, four are Isabel-related, and just Iris, Ivy and Isla in the Top 150, and Ingrid and Iliana just hanging in in the Top 900s.

But there are still a number of I candidates for success—or there for the taking for those avoiding popular examples.  Here are some recommended off-list possibilities:

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