Category: Dutch names for girls

Dutch Names: The current and the classic

There are many unfamiliar but intriguing Dutch names, and today’s native-born guest blogger, Veronique, gives us an inside picture of what’s hot today in the Netherlands and Flanders–and how to pronounce them.

What makes a name Dutch? A name that is typically Dutch is one that occurs frequently in the Netherlands and/or in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. In recent years many of the names in the Top 20 have been international names like Emma and Marie for girls and Lars and Luca for boys, so my main focus won’t be on those names that originated elsewhere.

As you may know, Dutch names can be quite hard to pronounce for non-native speakers of Dutch. Actress Famke Janssen changed her last name from Beumer to Janssen because Americans pronounced it as ‘bummer.’ And when Matt Lauer and his wife welcomed their third child, a son named Thijs, they explained that the name was pronounced as ‘tice.’ Now that is not entirely true: if you ask for ‘tice’ in a Dutch speaking country, chances are you will get Thai food. The correct pronunciation lies somewhere between ‘tice’ and ‘tayes’. Because ‘eu’ or ‘ij’ are so hard to pronounce for non-native speakers of Dutch, I’m excluding names that contain those sounds from my list of typical names that might appeal outside the Dutch culture.

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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.

Then there is the group which is more exotic if not totally unknown: Anouk, Famke, Malou.  These names are ripe for use by parents who want something unusual but not completely strange.

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.

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