Dutch Boys’ Names: From Ho-Hum to Whoa!
The complete list of Dutch boys’ names from 2009 is full of surprises.
There are the short, clipped boys’ names that are popular in the U.S. and widely used in the Netherlands, too, with such ethnically discordant choices as Finn and Levi ranking especially high, and nickname names such as Joey, Jordy, Mike, Nick, and Rick also in vogue.
Then there are the names that are familiar but relatively rare in English-speaking lands, from Bart to Dion to Guido. Milan, Ruben, and Bram, among this group, are some of the top boys’ names in the Netherlands – certainly startling to an outsider.
And then there are the many boys’ names that are widely used in the Netherlands and virtually unknown outside that country. Daan, the #1 name, is a form of Dan, but ever heard of Sem? Gijs, Rens, or Timo?
Most popular Dutch names, whether seemingly adopted from 1950s American sitcoms or native to Holland, feel abbreviated, with an occasional diversion to the Latinate (Giovanni) and the plain old Latin (Floris and Adrianus).
Here, popular Dutch boys’ names.
Familiar Names Popular in the Netherlands
- Finn (#12)
- Jasper and Jesper
- Joey (yes, just Joey)
- Jordy (yes, just Jordy)
- Levi (#16)
- Rick and Rik
Exotic Names More Popular There
- Bram (#14)
- Coen or Koen
- Dylano (Dylan too)
- Luca (Lucas is #3)
- Milan (#8)
- Ruben (#4)
Wow, Did You Ever Hear That One?
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on November 30th, 2010 at 7:27 am
As with the girls names, please find some additional information:
Cornelis – not much in use today, more used with older generations
Dinand – short from Ferdinand, name of local Dutch singer
Fedde – Frisian name from names with Frede (peace), such as Frederick
Gijs – short from Gijsbert (“child of noteworthly parents”)
Hedrik – never heard of it, could be Hendrik, a Germanic name meaning “home-powerfull”
Hidde – Frisian name from names with Hild “battle”
Jelte – Frisian name from Jelle, “money”
Jip – Frisian name, coming from the Dutch word for “giving”
Jort – Frisian name from Jorrit, derived from the Germanic name of Everhard (not in use today) “as strong as a wild boar”
Jurre – Frisian name from Everhard (see above)
Keano/Kyano – Dutch variation to Keanu (well known actor K. Reeves)
Loek (pronounced Look) – short form of Lucas
Luuk (pronounced more like Luc/Luke) – short form of Lucas
Niek – short form of Nicolas, pronounced Neek
Pepijn – very old name, from the early middle ages, name of various rulers in the Netherlands, most likely form of the Germanic name of Wilbrecht (“brilliant through his will”), pronounced more or less like Puh-pain.
Rens – short form of either Emerentius or Lourentius, or from names with Rein (“clear/clean”)
Teun – short Dutch form from Anthony
Thijmen/Tijmen – from the Germanic name Tideman (tee-duh-man) “man of the people”
Tygo/Tigo/Ticho – no known meaning, could be from names with the Germanic “Diede” meaning “people”, meaning sometimes given as luck/lucky
Adrianus – not much in use, name from older generations “someone from the region of Adria”
on November 30th, 2010 at 7:29 am
By the way, in the Netherlands Twan is derived from the name Antoine, or Anthony, and not from Twain.
on November 30th, 2010 at 7:42 am
And some more:
Mees – meaning also refers to a bird “tit” as in bluetit / great tit
Joost – most regularly derived from Jodocus, a Germanic name meaning “experienced in battle”.
Johannes – more for the older generations, and not frequently used as a first/given name, the given name would be Hans, or Johan or even Hannes
Again, the information here is mostly from the Meertens Institute.
on November 30th, 2010 at 8:17 am
Thanks, Freddy, though I still don’t have the answer on whether this list is really the Dutch equivalent of the Social Security list, as I believed (you can see the full list by clicking on the first link) or something else. Names like Johannes and Cornelis, which you and Emma both say are not used much today and are for the older generations, are in fact used quite often according to that list. So I’d love to know what the real facts are!
on November 30th, 2010 at 8:42 am
Yes it is. This is the full list of children born in 2009 in the Netherlands, as published by the SVB (social security authorities).
However, in the Netherlands in certain circles it is common to give your child an “official” name, such as Johannes, and then use a different name, like a regular (nickname) for every day use. The official name is mostly and regularly used to honor for instance grandparents. For Johannes, a parent could go with Joey for instance as a “regular” name, or for instance Hans. This is then the name which is used in school, and anywhere else. The child would always be introduced as Joey or Hans and not as Johannes (most likely, no-one would know that the offical name was something different). Only the official name is mentioned in the passport or on official papers of this person. So the “regular” name is actually more than a nickname. I hope I explained it correctly.
on November 30th, 2010 at 10:14 am
Really appreciate all this detail and insights, Freddy. Will work on updating our database in line with these thoughts!
on November 30th, 2010 at 10:35 am
ou are welcome, please let me know if you would like more information.
on November 30th, 2010 at 2:47 pm
There is a hockey player name Mats Sundeen. (Sp?) So I have heard this before.
on November 30th, 2010 at 4:04 pm
Question: Is Coen or Koen pronounced co-en or like cone?
My favorites from this list are: Timo, Sander, Sem, Keano, and Jilte.
Emmy Jo Said
on November 30th, 2010 at 4:26 pm
Ooh! I love Sander, Niels, Laurens, and Bram.
What I find most intriguing are those that are seemingly not at all related to names we use here. Like Pepijn, for example, as opposed to something like Bastiaan (which is clearly related to Sebastian).
on November 30th, 2010 at 5:19 pm
i think timo is kinda cool. it’s not on the list, but i knew a dutch guy called sjoerd.
on November 30th, 2010 at 6:03 pm
2four1: It’s Mats Sundin. He’s retired now but spent 14 years on my hubby’s favourite team (Toronto Maple Leafs). The name is very well known in my circles.
Dutch Girl Said
on December 1st, 2010 at 10:49 pm
Coen / Koen is pronounced “cone”, it’s derived from Conrad (Koenraad)
Tycho comes from the Greek Goddess of Luck Tyche
on December 2nd, 2010 at 9:14 am
I would pronounce Coen/Koen not as Cone, but as Coon (like in Raccoon actually)
Mats is not an original Dutch name, it is I think Swedish, and derived from Mattheus (Matthew or Matthijs in Dutch), same as Thijs or Thies.
Timo is pronounced Tee-moh (longer o sound at the end) over here.
Frisian names are more in use in the North of the Netherlands, allthough they are used throughout the country.
As the Dutch are through history a sea-faring nation, we consider ourselves more internationally orientated, and perhaps therefore there are a lot of international names to be found on the list.
I always find it very funny when I meet a little boy or girl with a very English first name, and then a very Dutch last name. For instance: Destiny Vander Bilt (and then the name is probably pronounced DesTUHnee by the proud parents) or Joy Janssen or something like that. This was something my husband and I wanted to avoid as our last name is also a very Dutch last name. To my ears, that just does not combine very nicely, although the name in itself may be very nice.
on December 8th, 2010 at 8:35 pm
I have met 2 people with names similar to these. I met an Estonian man named Joost and Czech guy named Tymo. The latter was short for Tymoteusz.
on December 15th, 2010 at 6:27 pm
I found your site interesting! Especially all the comments. My pen pal in The Netherlands just became a grandmother, and the little boy was named Noud. Anyone ever heard of that? I am in the U.S. so it seems very unusual to me.
on February 8th, 2011 at 12:35 pm
Yes, it’s a well known name over here in The Netherlands. Derived from Arnold or Arnoud.
Coen or Koen is indeed pronounced as Coon.
on April 21st, 2011 at 5:51 pm
I love Bram! I like Sven, Abel and Casper too.
on December 29th, 2011 at 6:16 am
Dani whats that doing it the did u eva hear that one before. Its a nickname for Danielle
on December 29th, 2011 at 6:17 am
Haha just noticed it was boys names well nn 4 Daniel
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