No. 32: Names that sound ridiculous in English

Fokke & Sukke

The irony of these Dutch names is not lost on the Dutch

I will never get used to writing an email that starts with “Dear Joke”, or “Hello Freek”, or better yet, “Taco, I would like to introduce you to Harm”! How about good ol’ Mr. Fokker. You may have seen him on the silver screen but let me tell you, the Fokkers are alive and kicking (and numerous) here in the Netherlands! Which brings me to the title and essential thesis of this entry: Dutch people like names that sound down-right ridiculous in English.

I pity the innocent Dutch child that grows up in the farming fields of Friesland, and then decides to spread their wings and start a life in an anglophone country, named: Aart van de Vaart. Yes, I cannot help and giggle like a school-girl ever time I hear that last name (FYI: Vaart  is pronounced very similar to the English word “fart”). Call me juvenile, but you cannot disagree that many a Dutch name sound simply silly in English.


Tiny Kox – Senate leader for the Socialist party

And yet, we haven’t even got to the very long list of Dutch first names that start with the letter “J” and are essentially unpronounceable to anglophones. We’ve got Jaap and Jarno, Joost and Joop, and don’t forget our good friends Jurgen, Joord and Jelle (and the list goes on…I won’t even get started on names that start with “Sj”!) Yes, these names may work very well in the lowlands, but something is definitely lost in translation. Huh? Your Dutch parents named you what?!

Now, all of this may be terribly amusing to non-Dutch people. If you’re Dutch and reading this, I can see you shaking your head and saying “Doe normaal! What is wrong with the name Joost?! A perfectly good name, toch?” And my reply is simple: Let’s be honest — there are Dutch names that are ridiculous even in Dutch!! How does one explain my perpetually cranky neighbour Meneer Zonderkop (Mr. Without Head) or my colleague Mevrouw Naaktgeboren (Mrs. Born Naked) – a slightly obvious statement, don’t you think? ;)

Mr. Nobody

Never mind him, he’s a nobody!

A personal favourite of mine has to be the very common last name Niemands, which is  the Dutch word for “nobody”. Or taken a step further, the highly expressive name Niemantsverdriet – which translates to “No Man’s Trouble” or “No Man’s Sorrow”. You really have to ask how that name came about?

But how about the innocent child who is blessed with the last name Niemandsvriend (Nobody’s friend). Let’s just hope his parents didn’t name him Sicco. I’d put money on the fact that he wasn’t the most popular kid in class!



408 Responses

  1. Alison

    I still think Ricky van Wolfswinkel (FC Utrecht player) has the best last name I’ve come across here.

    • Henk-jan Schoonbeek

      You mean the Norwich FC player. We’ll hear that being mangled on UK radio and tellie now.

      • manuel

        yes now he is a Norwich FC player. But his post came from 2011;)

  2. Gido

    Hey if you wondering about those silly surnames (Naaktgeboren, Poepjes (Poopies), Holvast (Assgrip) Klootwijk (Village of Balls). In the time that Napoleon ruled the Netherlands a lot of Dutch didnt really have a last name or something like the son of name (Klaaszoon, Janzoon) So every Dutchy was obliged to pick a surname and register it. A lot of us didnt take it seriously and took the most silly names to screw with Napoleon or they thought it would all blow over. Haha but it didnt.

    • Daan Groenberg

      Agree — this is the story I heard. And I’ve met Meneer Zeepvat (SoapFat), Meneer Jonk (Junk) and.. yes… Meneer Eikel (Mr. Dickhead)! I also had a female friend named Volkje who insisted on being called “Susan” on a trip to the US.

      • Gido

        Zeepvat translates into Soapbarrel btw. And Eikel into Acorn. Acorn isnt a curseword in English but the Dutch word is.

      • lis

        yes…and eikel/acorn means the head of the penis (dick in english). isn’t this fun

      • hypermarin

        You’re making it more ridicoulous than it is! Zeepvat means Soapbarrel; and a jonk is a type of ship and is certainly not pronounced as “junk”, but as “yonk”.

      • alex

        ^ “junk” means ship in english. i think he was just translating the word. and mistranslated zeepvat as zeepvet

      • Blackfoot

        Hahaha. Volkje… Oh my, how she must have resented her parents when on this trip.
        I would have to agree with her, good choice.
        When I lived in Israel the people had such trouble pronouncing my name (Neeltje) that THEY decided to change it to Anna.

      • circleofjoycey

        I had a neighbour who’s first name was Fokje, no kidding. Heard several times in Friesland

      • Yogi Beer

        In this list I’m missing Spring in ‘t Veld (Jump in the field). Many have altered the family name later and it’s more common to just keep in ‘t Veld.

    • rood

      Well apparently that is really more of a very widespread myth.
      Most dutchies already had a proper surname by then, although not necessarily registered anywhere, or written down in any way. the Napoleon thing mostly just caused spellings to become fixed.
      many of the surnames are more like degenerations of previous surnames, for example: nageboren slowly turning into naaktgeboren, or baerst slowly turning into borst.

      • Jiske Fet

        This is not totatlly true.
        Many people in the southern en western parts of the Netherlands did have surnames before Napoleon ruled.
        Most people in the northern parts did not have surnames. Those who did have surnames were mostly wealthier or “immigrants” from Germany, France or the southern or western parts of the Netherlands.

      • Dan

        I’m an American who just traced my Dutch/Frisian ancestry. It was crazy how much the original name changed to become Van Ornum. The name kept morphing even after it got to America. It was also surprising to find Frisian ancestor with the last name of Fonda. It didn’t sound Germanic to me. It was from centuries ago, and with all the changes in names, I don’t know if Fonda is even a Frisian name now.

      • Silly

        @DAN, maybe fonda is a misheard “van de”. A lot of Dutch names have van (=of) or van de (of the) in it.

      • paul

        Don’t forget Lex Harding…. (hard thing).. was once the director of the first dutch sex channel Verotique.

      • jane

        My last name is Hartje…Dutch meaning little heart. Anyone heard of this name before?

      • Erika

        @Dan ; I think Silly is right. I once read Leon Uris “Trinity” . A book about irish immigration to America. There was a story about immigrants standing on line at the immigration desk just coming of the ship. Some of them were not able to write. When asked for their names , the immigration clerks sometimes had to register their names the way the immigrant to be pronounced it. I believe Uris did very profound research so maybe Fonda IS van de Aa . Pronounced as vandeaaa. = Fonda

    • Irene Bailie

      My mother told me that some people simply chose their occupation when they had to register a last name ie Koetsier, Bouwmeester,Winkleman; or also the place where they lived Vandenheuvel, Vandenberg, Zonneveld. My own maiden name is Uijtterlinde, which I think translates into out of the linden; And my mother’s family name was VanTwist. I’m not sure what the origin of this would be, but when I looked up the word twist it translated into quarrel or dispute. There could be some interesting history to this That I’ll never know.

      • Ingrid

        Irene, Twist is a village in the German county Emsland, which is situated in the north-west of Germany close to the border to the Netherands. Many people from Lower Saxony in the North of Germany emigrated to other parts of the world because there was no work after the 2 great wars. They re very freedom-loving and entrepreneaurial people, jjst like the Dutch and also speak a form of Dutch (called “Platt”). Being so close to the border, your ancestors’ surname could have been von Twist on one side of the border and Van Twist on the other. It sounds like they were nobility, whose childrenwere always well-schooled and sent to university. So certainly they would not have wanted to stick around and be jobless. There is a lot of oil in the ground around Twist, so they might have been able to sell their land to the state, to pay for their ship tickets and a start on the other side of the ocean.

      • dutchie

        Twist is a village just over the border with Drenthe in Germany. Maybe that’s where it’s from?
        My last name is Pieper, which amuses Dutch people endlessly. (The meaning is taken as potato or whiner.)

      • New Floridian

        Twist is a place in Germany, just across the border near Emmen. So van Twist is a probably a common surname stating where the original bearer came from.

      • idee66

        Twist/ Twiske meant in the old days in some parts of The Netherlands a little road (between the waters or the cornfields), a place were in the old days people could travel to another village.

    • Zka

      I love-Dirk van den Broek!
      Always trying to erase the ‘r’ in ‘Dirk’…….sounds like ‘Dick from the trousers’ :D

      • AO

        broek actually refers to swamp, probably where his ancestor used to live.

      • dutchyyy

        Dirk van den broek is also a supermarket

    • Gerrit

      I think, in this case, broek refers to the type of forest, broek is a wet forest located near rivers, etc.

      • Hanneke Hartkoorn

        Exactly like the English word ‘brook’…which also means creek, just like the Dutch word ‘broek’.

    • Silly

      When i was a cusomer care reprenstative, i had the pleasure of talking to mrs or miss pijpers. I would rather not translate it :D
      Also someone named poepjes. (=little poops) It was difficult not to laugh because we were obligated to say the name of the customer at least two times in the conversation.

      • Emma

        I once had a classmate who had the lastname “de pijper”, wouldn’t translate that either :P

      • Stella

        Emma, een pijper is a piper, playing the flute. The rattenvanger van Hameln was a piper. And there is the expression naar iemand pijpen dansen = obliged to dance as that someone is piping.

    • Margaret Meyer

      Ha ha! My daughter married a Kok! However, her husband’s parents chose to pronounce it as “Cook”. So of course she says “Cook” but always has to spell it as K O K, but people
      often think she is saying “Kaoke” like some kind of an Asian name or something, it’s really quite funny/frustrating. If she is somewhere when it doesn’t really matter if they get her last name spelled properly, she will just let them go ahead and write down “Cook”…it’s just easier. All the sisters-in-law want their husbands to go ahead and change their name to “Cook” officially, but the men all refuse!

      • Margaret

        Also, my Tante Fokkje (not sure of spelling) was coming for a visit from Holland with Tante Pie…..well my Mother instructed all of us kids that we MUST call Tante Fokkje,
        Tante Fleur and NOT by her real name because it sounded too much like a common swear word here in Canada! We thought that was so funny!!

    • Corine

      What about the great dutch televions ‘hero’, inspector de Cock :)

      • Marjolein

        Don’t forget the famous American actor Dick van Dyke

      • Erwin

        Dick van Dyke’s father was Dutch

      • Nicky

        I remember living in the US, when Wim Dik and Wim Kok came to visit on a financial delegation trip.

      • Tjeerd

        @Marjolein:…Dick van Dyke , by the way, is a Dutchman, emigrated to the US, if I’m correct

      • Tjeerd

        …and my name sounds kind of happy in english (cheered)

      • Tjeerd

        …Eddie van Halen …also an emigrated Dutchman! from Roosendaal,Noord-Brabant, NL, I think

      • Erwin

        @Tjeerd. Sorry but Dick van Dyke was born in the US. However his father came from The Netherlands.

  3. quirine

    Goedkoop (cheap), van de Kloot (from the balls), Pijpers (a family of people who like to give blow jobs). All family friends, all people who called my house when I was little. I was raised in the US so I was very confused when they call. “Mom, Mevrouw van de Klooten is on the phone… is it a prank call?”

    • Martijn Zaan

      The Dutch name Pijper has nothing to do with giving head.
      A pijper was either a musician (piper or flute player) or a plumber (someone who laid pipes).
      Kloot as in “Klootwijk” is another word for hill. Klootwijk is a village on a hill. (Hillville?)

      • hanneke

        kloot actually just means balll

      • Gizmo

        a ‘Kloot’ is actually a ball filled with lead, and used in a throwing game called ‘klootschieten’. Also a ‘klootzak’ is used as a swear word, but derives from the bag used to carry the heavy ‘kloot’.

    • JP

      Kloot doesn’t actually mean balls, it refers to a wooden, fluorescent and oval ball which was hoisted in shipmasts when it was misty.
      Klote and naar de kloten means sucks and waisted and the later also means balls.
      Klootzak or balzak is Ball sack but the first commonly used als a swear word which means as much as bastard.

  4. Josh

    The Dutch find certain English-language names funny, too. Bill, for example, — since “bil” (pronounced as Americans and Brits pronounce it) is the Dutch word for “buttock.”

    And, by the way, I’ve known Americans named Mike Hunt and Amanda Lay, so the Dutch don’t have a monopoly on silly names!

      • Miriam

        Yeah! Jan for a female, it’s so strange! Although the movie Eurotrip makes a good joke with it :)

        I know ‘Broek’ does not only mean trousers but swamp, so Zonderbroek is not without pants but –> without swamp. In the neighbourhoods of the city Hoensbroek that makes sence :P

  5. Steven Bliek

    The most funny one acourding to a competition by a dutch radiostation (3FM) is still Fokje Modder
    Fok (do I have to explain?)
    Je (dutch for: your)
    Modder (pronounced as: Mother)

    • Jasper H.

      My mother happens to be a teacher to this Fokje Modder at the Groningen Verloskunde opleiding. I kid you not. :)

    • Tom

      There’s a business right behind the Krasnapolsky Hotel in Amsterdam called: Wijnand Fockinck (Wine and Fucking…..what more can one wish for???). Always a hit with Brit stag-parties……

      • Marcel

        Thankfully, wijnand fokking sells some of the best jenever in amsterdam

    • L.Snyder

      I was 8 years old when I went to Friesland with my parents and was introduced to my Tante Fokje (sounds like fuk-ya) and Tante Sjitske (sounds like shits-ka). I had never been so shocked in my life, I thought my mother never swore. My sixteen year old sister just about died trying to not laugh. All I can say is “Mom, you could have warned us!”

  6. Hayley

    Im Australian and have been working for a Dutch company here in Aus for the past two years so I dont find any of these names to be strange or funny and…. I can correctly pronounce all of them :)

    I do have a few expat colleagues with exceptionally cool surnames too…. de Leeuw (the Lion) or de Reus (the Giant)

    Loving this blog though, as one expat colleague became my boyfriend a while back and has asked me to go and live with him in NL. Needless to say Im now paying far more attention to the oddicies of my 200-strong group of Dutch colleagues!

    Thanks for the good reading!

  7. Gido

    Sletteland (Slutsland), Kwaasteniet (He’s quite allright)

    • Wim

      The name is: actually Kwaadsteniet or Dekwaadsteniet, litterally: not the worst person


      • hypermarin

        I actually know someone who goes by the name of “de Kwaasteniet”; the name has various ways of spelling, since in earlier times people weren’t particularly careful in writing somebody’s name. When a man went to the city hall to report the birth of his child, the clerk an the father drank a few to celebrate the occasion. Obviously that’s the reason for a lot of miss spellings those days… :)

    • Kurt

      Don’t forget about ‘Slettenhaar’ which exactly translates as ‘Slut’s hair’! Isn’t that lovely!

      • Matn

        Er, that is is actually a Low Saxon name. “Sletten” means worne out, similar to Dutch “versleten”, and a “haar” is a long, sandy ridge in the landscape. You can even find place names carrying the word “haar” in them: Westerhaar, Kloosterhaar, Bruinehaar, Witharen, Slagharen. Nothing odd about that. Just western Dutch ignorance. ;)

      • dutchy

        Honney its realy fun that youre thinking that peoples names are like that becouse no noboddys last name is like that. Maybe one or two people

  8. anoniem

    HAHAHAHA i actually knew a family called

    also dont forget the name DIK ( pronounced DICK)
    Baksteen ( means Brick)
    Beenhakker ( leg cutter)
    de Dood ( Death)

    Pannekoek (pancake)
    Riool (Sewer)

    Staartjes ( ponytail)

    • Gido

      My uncle worked for a wheelchair business called Beenhakker (Legchopper). Not joking!

      • Ellen

        Wow, so far you have had the funniest comment!

      • Pete

        You’re slightly wrong here, I’m afraid. To this day, the profession of beenhouwer is, in Flanders (Vlaanderen), what Dutchies know as slager (butcher). The word itself is a perfectly normal occurrence in everyday conversation. It’s also a fairly common as a surname.

        Beenhakker may be a Dutch variation on the same theme. So, not a LEG chopper, but a BONE chopper (= slager [butcher] once again….).

        Incidentally, give me Southern Dutch (Flemish) over Northern Dutch (as spoken in the Netherlands) any time. That, in Flanders, “the” Dutch are often perceived as arrogant is partly due to the coarseness of their vernacular. And the general shoutiness of this lingual brand – especially when the speaker happens to hail from the Randstad (Amsterdam in particular) – will not seldom go hand in hand with an offensively condescending attitude – the superiority of their lingo airily taken for granted.

        Even in London, where I have been living since 1998, I often sink 30 fathoms deep, in righteous indignation, for the behaviour of some Dutch tourists – especially when they come in packs!

      • Ingrid

        Actually bone crusher translates it much better. My husband’s family dentist when he was a child went by that name (Beenhakker).

    • marcel

      Benno Baksteen was the spokesperson for the commercial pilots union. How’s that for a funny coincidency.

      • Tom

        Beenhakker is an old-fashioned term for Butcher (and still used in Flanders). There was a famous soccer-coach called Beenhakker

    • Stella

      Beenhakker = Bonechopper and will be the butcher.

  9. Mark

    My english speaking colleagues like the following quite common Dutch womens names: Joke, Door and Floor
    I used to work with a guy named Fake Nobbe..

    A lot of Dutch are as white as snow and have ‘de Bruin’ (the Brown) and ‘de Zwart’ (the Black) as there last names. There are so manny colours in the sirnames it’s like ‘Resevoir Dogs’ down here.

    • ablabius

      As I have mentioned elsewhere, the indigenous Dutch aren`t used to telling each other apart by their tone of skin. Instead, they refer to hair colour.

      • Michiel

        van oranje actually refers to the old prince state of orange, in france, which is now part of france, and used to be from willem of oranje, and his descendants. he was the leader of the rebellion, which gave us our freedom. the members of the royal family still carry the title: prins/prinses van oranje (prince/princess of orange).

    • tim

      Unlike Anglo Saxon countries were last names as Black, Brown and White are unheard of?
      (Fake is a Frisian name by the way).

  10. J

    I have also seen Kaasenbrood! (cheese and bread)… or koning (king), I think I can collect few more from my company´s email list…

    • ablabius

      De Koning (the King, often in the archaic spelling with double o) is quite common. This is because many surnames were a continuation of nicknames people went by, which in turn could refer to a place of origin, a craft or profession, or some accomplishment. Koning was as commonly used then as president is now. Not just president of a country. The leader of a guild, for instance, was known as gilde-koning (hence: beggar-king, the leader of the beggars). Pilgrimages were also common, and the first one of a company to arrive at (or spot) the destination, was ‘crowned’ king. (If you think that`s silly, imagine walking for days and days and days along badly maintained robber-plagued roads. Finally arriving is an occasion, and heading the column at that time an accomplishment.)

      • Paul

        wat is wijsneus in het Engels?

  11. Adriana

    What about Aarsman!? If you translate that it’s Assman LOL :))) Everyday I see a small bus with this name on it, I laugh everyday :D

  12. Tjerk Anne Hoekstra

    I always take comfort in the fact that my name probably isn’t the worst out there.

  13. Marcella Simon Vander Eems

    Oh my goodness, this post is hysterical.
    I’m a dutchie living in the US & some of the names my friends had growing up crack my husband up. (Jorit, Letteke . . .my babysitter was Franka & her husband Jelle)
    one of the other naams we love around here is Boudewijn
    and the soccer player jan vennegoor of hesselink has a great name too.
    thanks for a great blog. i can’t wait to read more & i am so sharing with anyone who will listen!

    • Monique

      Whats funny about Boudewijn?

      Asked by a mother of a son named Boudewijn and a daughter we called Florine because we did realize us that Floor is nog a very international name…

  14. Stephen Korsman

    Haasbroek and Hoogenboezem were the surnames of two people in my class at university. And then there was a friend who came across a Poerstamper (no idea what a poer is and why one would stamp it). Pielsticker is a surname I’ve also come across – piel apparently meant a javelin once upon a time, but it means something very different in Afrikaans slang today (google it if you want to know.)

    • Linda

      A ‘poerstamper’ is a ‘verrader’ (traitor).

    • ablabius

      Boezems are part of the Dutch watermanagement system. Water is gathered in ditches that criss-cross the polder and then pumped up by a mill to a boezem. The mills of old would only pump up the water a few meters. If the water had to go higher, a series of mills and boezems would be build. Hoogenboezem would refer to the high(est) bosom, and as a name to someone living at, or near that bosom.
      Broek refers to land close to a river or stream, that gets flooded if the water level rises.

    • Miriam

      Pielemuis en piel is in het Nederlands ook gewoon piemel hoor. Alleen misschien hoor je het niet zo vaak meer tegenwoordig :)

    • jos

      Poer is a gutter to make a foundation for a house, farm or barn. Stamper is a tool, usually a heavy log with a float bottom and a few stern handles, that is used to compress the bottom of the “poer”.

    • Stella

      Haasbroek is the Hare Brook.
      That bossom was a water bossom. Today canalized rivers get back their nevenrivieren. This siderivers are important in times of high waterlevel and the polders get their water bossoms back. And surely there were higher and lower water bossems.

  15. Joost v S

    First names starting with a J aren’t by definition difficult for anglophones. Phonetically all you have to do for many of them is to switch the J for Y. I’ve explained the pronunciation of my name my whole life by spelling it as yoast, or rhymes with toast, otherwise anglophones tend to make it juiced; francophones and lusophone jost. The Fula-speaking people where I currently live call me Ios or Djos.

    Names like Greetje, Tjitske and so on are a lot trickier.

    As an aside, Joost has two interesting meanings, the first being “just” and the second being another name for the devil (via Portuguese and Javan).

  16. Bart Craenmehr

    How does Mike Hunt sound in English. (MY *unt).

  17. Elmar

    How about the first name: Hessel? Almost pronounced as asshole.
    I knew I guy named like this a long time ago.

  18. discobedient

    Naaktgeboren and Zonderkop date back from the time under Napoleon’s rule, when last names were first properly documented in Europe. People wanted to be rebellious against Napoleon in their own little way and came up with ridiculous names, not realising those names may be theirs forever… just saying like

  19. LOL

    What do you think about Jeroen? (abroad often pronounced as Urine) LOL

  20. DJ

    Back in the days, we had a Prime Minister by the name of Wim Kok. he once headed a trade delegation to the far East (China, Japan) and was accompanied by a whole bunch of people, including various captains of industry, including the CEO of KPN (the incumbent telecom operator), named Wim Dik. I can only imagine the looks on the faces of the hosts when being introduced…..

  21. Rudolf mes

    I am Dutch and live in the USA, my family name is Mes ( knife) my first name is Rudolf but most of the time it’s being shortent to Ruud.
    Can you imagine an American calling my name Ruud Mes, most can’t do it without a little smile.

  22. Wen

    One of my bosses was called “Hazenbroek”. I asked my colleague, because I wasn’t sure how to spell it: “Hazen, like bunnies? and broek like pants?” and he was like, yeah. Then we giggled madly and nicknamed him “Meneer Bunnypants”. Later we found he had an unused twitter account called “konijnen trui” (rabbit sweater). The actual meaning of the name would be Hares’ brook though.
    We also had a teacher named Koekoek (coocoo, the bird) and two local car companies:
    Bots Auto’s (botsing is hitting or bumping, so an auto bots would be a fender-bender)
    and Roest Autobedrijf (rust car company).

    • Dropje-Kopje

      Meneer Bunnypants … ?!
      Great Balls O’ Fire!! I had to cover my face with my hands so I wouldn’t hyperventilate.

  23. Thijs

    I’ve lived in Friesland (Leeuwarden) for 12 years.
    Great first names for girls, like Tytsje – pronounced “tietsje” which ofcourse means titty…hehehe ;-)

  24. Thomas

    I work at an international institute with students from all over de world, and they have funny names as well, like Loveless, Terror, Usnavy (was a Cuban guy whose mother saw all the US Navy ships pass by) or Precious (always reminded me of Gollum)

  25. Gerwin van Doorn

    Being a genealogy nut it annoys me to see so many myths floating around about Dutch names. Most surnames were long established before that Napoleon came along. The myth that people made up names to mess with Napoleon is just stupid. If I even Google this I see people use willemwever as a source (which is a kids show) lol.

    • Miriam

      You can’t say that nobody made up their name like that. I mean, I would believe you as you made a study of it, except for the fact that no sane person would name themselves poepjes.

    • jos

      I don’t agree. The names used were rather different. My families’ field name (the old name) is Soepenberg, but the official name is Raamsteeboers. I know several people (especially in small villages, that tell you when you ask for their name: My name is Jansen (or whatever name is registered) but I go by “Lorkeers”. Coincidentally one person I know has the family name “Jansen of Lorkeers” Which translates in English to “Jansen or Lorkeers”. We call him Jol now.

      • Marlayne

        Jansen of Lorkees does not mean *or*. It has the same meaning as in English and means he is from Lorkees. Just like Hesseling of Vennegoor. The family is called Hesseling and the farm they live in is Vennegoor.

    • Ruud Zwart

      People in the western and southern part of The Netherlands often has surnames before Napoleon came along. Most people in the northern and eastern parts didn’t. In the rural parts surnames didn’t indicate lineage, but farms or even the estates people “belonged” to. That is why in my ancestry often the male took the surname of his wife, if she was born on a farm.
      Until this day in some parts in the east, people are referred to not by their official name, but by the name of the farm the live on.

  26. Mitra

    You make the same mistake the writer of ‘I Always Get My Sin’ does; pretending the rare occurances you describe are actually very common. Sure there are people with strange names here, but I’ve never met anyone with the last names you mentioned.

    Your story loses the credibility it builds up with the first names part.

    • Jonna Wortman

      My grandparents’ last name is Naaktgeboren…. There are so many weird last names in Holland. Pick up a random dutch yearbook, it’s filled with weird names like Naaktgeboren or my own last name for that matter.

      • tim

        A Dutch yearbook? The Dutch don’t make yearbooks. But even if there were Dutch yearbooks, the name “Naaktgeboren” would still be very uncommon.

      • Billy

        @ tim: Dutch do make yearbooks. I’ve made one at highschool, back in the ’90s… So don’t shave everyone over one comb! ;)

      • Ruud Zwart

        Nothing strange about your name. It is a profession, wort is an ingredient for making beer and other alcoholic beverages.

    • anna

      Mitra in Greek means uterus…In any language you will find funny names….

  27. Eefje

    Wow, I just discovered this blog and it’s awesome! I didn’t even know some things, like birthday calendars and borrels where weird in other countries. Did know about the names, my own name doesn’t sound like anything weird in english (though it does apparantly sound somewhat like ‘hey, old guy’ in french) but they probably can’t pronounce it. Double e, a j and an e at the end…
    pronounced: a as in cake, f, j as in nothing you’ve ever heard of and e as in the u in huh. somewhat. I guess I’ll just go by Eva for english-speaking people.

  28. Loes

    My first name is Loes, which is pronounced like “lose”…

  29. Naantje

    It’s a wonder nobody mentioned the first name “Lies”. It’s pronounced like “lease”, but with a harder s, and it’s a girls’ name. Bad luck if a Lies needs to go to an English-speaking country! Same goes for Dieter, which is a proper boys’ name pronounced Deater, and doesn’t indicate a person on a diet! :P

  30. Sp1r1t

    First off, love the blog! Some of the stuff I’ve read is handsdown hilarious. Props!

    Just wanted to share the name of a guy I’ve met while I was in the Dutch army. His rank was a major and he was named Harry Bols. Now you do the math.

    • jeanineguidry

      The interesting thing is – I’m Dutch, but live in the US – when I read these Dutch names in an English context, I still only read them as Dutch and have to think long and hard about how they sound to an English speaking person.

  31. Stephen Korsman

    Eefje – isn’t the “j” like the “Y” in “you”?

    We have an e-mail that regularly does the rounds in South Africa submitted as an explanation as to why we no longer speak Dutch here – a newspaper clipping from a Dutch newspaper, with the headline “Bange poes in doos gevonden.” I don’t think I need to explain because apparently the humour isn’t lost on the Dutch either.

    Found a url so you can see the clipping –

  32. mike

    i knew a woman called likmevesje roughly translates to lick my ass (or the female variety). still cracks me up ;)

    • Hans Klardie

      I know that only as Lick my Vest or Coat

      • Irene Bailie

        it’s a rude comment comparable to kiss my ass.

    • Pietje

      So what’s the female variety of ass, I wonder?

  33. Peter

    I just love the politician called Tini Cox. Phrases like: “Yesterday I really had fun with Tini Cox” just come out great. He would make a great gay couple with Harry Bols for sure!

  34. Lion Kraaijbeek

    My surname translates as Crowcreek…

  35. Casper

    After my study I worked a while for a telecom company. I’ve seen a lot of funny names passing by. What about Vroeg in de Weij (early in the field), Komkommer (cucumber), Beffers (Cunnilingus), Geile (Horny one).

  36. Lieke

    My name is Lieke Rietjens, is this funny in english? :P
    If you take the N out of my last name and translate it, it means straws :P

    • CD van Tuyl

      You have a nice name. Englis spelling h speakers would probably have trouble with the spelling – but they have problems with English spelling too.

  37. Paulien

    But then there’s English names. One example: Billy Piper. Innocent enough in English. Translated to Dutch (pronunciation-like, like you did with Vaart which doesn’t sound in the slightest like fart), the poor woman is called Billy Blowjob-er.

    Weird names appear in every country around the globe if you start translating them…

  38. Alison Rayner

    One of the tallest families I have ever known have a Dutch background and their surname is “de Korte”, meaning “the short”!!

  39. CD van Tuyl

    American names can sound funny too. I know a Charley Coon and a Ronnie Roach. Honest!

  40. heikki

    Brazilians beat us all. So there was this guy naming his child ‘123oliveira4′ – of course just accepted as a name and now that’s the son’s name. Recently also someone called his son ‘Facebookson’. Everything is normal !

  41. Muzieke

    Well, the Bold & the beautiful is about people who are in the fashion industry, right? So, then a dutchman thinks it is funny to hear the names of Brooke (meaning trousers in Dutch), Ridge (a dutchman would say Rits, which is a zipper) and Thorn (Dutch for taking out the thread in something you’ve sown together…) So, it works both ways….

  42. Marijke

    I have a cousin and nepheuw (brother and sister) whit the names: Floor and Wiert.
    I have a unpronounceable name for englisch speaking people, but its not something weird.

  43. Sense Hofstede

    A while ago, a woman named ‘Fokje Moddermans’ won the worst name election here. It was quite a pity for her, really.

  44. Danielle

    We talk about Dutch names that sound funny in english, but it is worse if your name sounds horrible in your own language like spanish names:
    Dolores = pains
    Virginia = virgin
    Iluminada = Illuminated
    Purificación = purified

    • Nic

      You know what happens when Dolores marries Mr. Cabezas? She becomes Sra. Dolores de Cabezas (Mrs. Head aches)

      Iluminada and Purificación are quite unfashioned names and are not common now. Virginia doesn’t mean virgin exactly, that would be “virgen”.

      • Renee

        Not quite. Spanish women keep their own surnames (yes plural) after they marry.

  45. Sjoerd

    Love this blog. My name is Sjoerd, which is unpronounceable for english-speaking people, so when I meet foreigners I always say: ‘Just call me Stuart, it’s close enough.’ Lol

    • Maaike

      My friend is named Sjoerd and when people ask how to pronounce he always says: its between shirt and short! :)

      • Paul

        I know a couple of guys named Sjoerd. This is awesome! My surname is ‘Koole’, Americans love it. Years ago I tried to get English speakers to pronounce it the correct Dutch way but gave up. So ‘Cool’ it is… :-)

  46. Olena Trompert

    I head recently on the radio an interview with the young Dutch lady by name Babushka!!! (in Russian it means “grandmother”)

  47. daan

    There is a belgium detective program named baantjer, the main caracters name is Dick de(the) Cock i was like… 0_o seriously? i knew belgians are stupid but wtf. o and btw ppl that talk english to me call me Dean, when i say my name online they say u mean Dean.

    • wim jongejan

      Baantjer is actually a dutch program, derived from the dutch books about Baantjer.

      • Linda

        (Appie) Baantjer is the writer of the books…not the person the books are about :)

    • Erik Bakker

      First of all, it’s not Belgian, it’s Dutch. And the detective’s first name is not Dick, but Jurian (pronounced Yurree Yahn).

      ‘Though I actually knew a guy named Dick de Cock :-)

    • factlover

      Baantjers name is Jurre de Cock and his assistant is Dick Vledder actually :)

  48. Joost

    A couple of years ago on a trade mission where the then Prime-minister Kok, with his predecessor Lubbers and the CEO of the Dutch Telecom operator KPN Mr. Dik. There must have been some giggles when they where announced in Washington.

  49. Laura

    Lol.. we used to have a butcher called ‘Worst’ (Sausage) by his surname, and a bakery called ‘Bakker’ (Baker). Not kidding.

    Interesting blog btw. ;-)

  50. Esther Buitenhuis

    My last name is Buitenhuis. I am a nurse and was working for agencies. I arrived at the hospital ward and was asked where nurse “Butthouse” was. Have also been called “Outhouse” quite a bit as this is the translation of my name here. (an outhouse is an outdoor toilet). To this day people cannot pronounce it and I get lots of booweetenhoowees. the “ui” is none existant here.

    • Pete

      In London, where I live, there’s a place called Ruislip. It’s pronounced something like Roo-is-lip.

  51. Olavius

    The best one i’ve ever seen came because of marriage. I don’t know if that it Dutch or not, but when people marry, the women takes both names. And the result that came out was Hol-Visser (assfisher). Nice!

  52. Elodie de Groot

    yes…some of those names really are funny…but at least they’re prounouncable unlike those flemmish names ~

  53. JP

    One of my best friends moved to Canada and when I called him, to say that we my wife delivered a beautifull son, and his name is Nijs , he congratulated me and wished us well, and started to laugh without stopping………………… last name is Kok and he asumed my childeren have my last name!
    My childeren have their mothers last name……van der Stroom! My son who is 4 now , knows the translation of his first name and my lastname and is acctualy telling people he is called Mooie Piemel ( he learned from his sisters ) :)

  54. Diny Jansen

    I have an aunt whose pre married name was Suikerbuik, sugarbellie.

  55. Anna

    A very common name in Dutch is Hannie, it sounds the same as ‘honey’. An English friend of mine always felt very awkward calling his boss who’s name was Hannie!

  56. Alien

    Alien is also a very normal dutch name, translated into english as Aileen

  57. Ina

    I also heard about many Dutch people not having surnames and where told to take one. Many picked funny names because they did not think they would be keeping them long. My Dad’s family has a tradition of naming the grandson after the grandfather. So for genrations it has been Evert the son of Teade the son of Evert the son of Teade you get the picture?

  58. Weird Duck

    My name is Kist (“kissed”). A common first name in my family is Just.
    I actually had to introduce a speaker once, at a business dinner in London with the unfortunate name of Wierd Duk……

  59. Chris Gilfoy

    Haha! I was a sent a link to this article by my Dutch friend and colleague, Freek Dix. That’s right. Freek. Dix.

    • Byron

      How cool is that my last name is Freek an iv never heard any one called it b4

  60. farseb

    As a kid I used to live in Holland, and one of my greatest games was to pick the phonebook up and dial the numbers of every person with a ridiculous name. I’d just wait for them to answer and say “Meneer Eikel ?” and laugh out loud. By the tone of their voice, I can safely say I wasn’t the only one.

  61. Jerke

    my name is Jerke and I am and have been living abroad long time and I can tell you, it’s not the easiest name to get around with, but once one know the right pronunciation, no one will ever forget….and i like the name :)

  62. Niels

    Don’t forget the great name Dick Wijfje, which means “fat little women”..

    And it’s a boys name :)

  63. Lotte

    One of the most common girls’ names here in the Netherlands is mine: Lotte. I was on a trip in ireland a few years ago with my school, and we met some guys there. A friend of mine and i had had an argument about how people pronounce my name in english and when we asked the guys there, it sounded ridiculous! I think i’m gonna stick to my middle name in other countries, that one’s much easier.

  64. ikkke

    there was a girl in my year who was called Floor which i found a strange name even though i am dutch

    • Pete

      Did you know that Floor is a girl’s AS WELL AS a boy’s name?

  65. Red

    obviously Dick Jol and Cock Jol are funny. Too bad Martin Jol isn’t called Willy.

  66. snoep winkel

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  67. Stephanie

    My mother’s maiden name was Ausems. (pronounced, you guessed it, like Awesome). This came with a unique set of problems. When she and Grandmama Willhemina emigrated to the US she was still in elementary school. Any guesses what children nicknamed her? It’s not awesome, let me tell you, to be called: “Possum”. And of course, let’s not forget Grandmama’s: Ausems, Willy. haha.

  68. Ivan

    I laughed out loud like a maniac the other day when I saw a medical book, it was called “Van baarmoeder tot Alzheimer”, by the author DICK SWAAB.
    Now, I know how hopelessly immature I am. I guess if I had that name and was publishing a medical book, I would consider changing it :)

    • ablabius

      The Suaben (Schwaben) were a germanic tribe, and Schwabenland is a region in Southern Germany. There must be a lot of people who have it as a surname. But I don`t get what`s funny about it? Does it sound like a medical word?

      • Gene

        In English a swab is a small bit of absorbent material (usually cotton) on the end of a small stick used to apply or remove some liquid or powdery substance. You probably have some in your bathroom. Dick of course is slang for penis.

  69. Floor

    Had a chuckle reading this… also when listening to the 3FM funniest names, Fokje Modder as mentioned and the not so amused Piet Saman (pizza man). My name is Floor and I went to an international school all my life. So I am used to the ‘ceiling’ jokes, ‘letting people walk all over me’ etc etc. When I decided people could also call me Flora in the UK I was unaware there was a margarine brand with that name (the Dutch Becel). I then got comments like ‘You must spread easy’. Ah well, at least I didn’t have to keep spelling it.
    Back in Holland I’m almost disappointed my name isn’t strange anymore :)

    Great blog!

  70. Damon

    Got a another on for you i actullay have an uncle that’s called dick funny 4 the english but when i tell you is last name is Hardon. try to introduce yourself to a women as Dick Hardon.

  71. Alex

    I got in touch with a guy called “Arse” today. Not kidding. Seriously

  72. Harmke

    I have a family name and am called Harmke. Now living in the US I had to change it as someone introduced me as the key to harm someone.

  73. ghvandoornerrit

    How about for once trying to pronounce it correctly? I live in the US and you don’t hear people say Xavier “the English way”, no they suddenly are worldly and remember that one semester of Spanish they had 20 years ago.

  74. Danny van Biene

    My son is called Jeroen and most English speaking people that do not know the name pronounce it as urine. Not so funny when you’re 12 years old, but we have many laughs about it :)

  75. Jan Mulder

    Yep… My last name is Mulder, like the guy from the X files…. people most of the time don’t believe me…

  76. Ahe Smies

    I think I have all names beat, my name is Age Skies and I have been in Canada for 41 years. However I am sticking with it.

  77. A.Kok

    My husband lived in the US as an exchange student and quickly learned to pronounce his family name as COKE instead of Kok:-) When we married and moved abroad he taught me to do the same (as I never thought of it being so funny to English speakers) and now I am forever telling my kids how to pronounce their names when meeting new people. But then at least it’s much easier spelled then my long maiden name…

  78. Karolina

    Danish people also have some funny names.. I know two guys (they are brothers) – one of them is called Dan and the other one is called Mark :D = Danmark

  79. Brandie

    Living as expats all over the world, we picked the children’s name carefully:
    As mentioned many times, for girls no Floor, Door, etc.

    But do NOT EVER name your son Godfried…Please!

    My name always makes people giggle and ask about my fathers drinking habits. Although it is more common in the US than in the Netherlands: Brandie. (The pronunciation is with an “a” as in car and not like the drink) This is an abbreviation of Ysbrandia, as far as I can check this name only runs in our family, for >7 generations already.

  80. Rutger

    Try to pronounce Rutger the Dutch way, it’s impossible if you’re not Dutch. :(

  81. Lynn

    @Tjerk Anne Hoekstra says:
    When I was living in Groninggen I had to get used to the name ‘Anne’ for males.
    But really, your name is definately not the worst, actually it is not bad at all. I do like the way those typical Frysian and Grunninger names sound.

    Here on Curaçao we have an old plantation called Hato. A dutch man loved the name, and when his son was born he wanted to call him Hato, but the registry refused the name, citing a law that said that you could only use names that were already in existence. The Dutch man very stubbornly ploughed through old documents until he found a Fries from the 18th century with the name and thus got his wish.

    • ablabius

      That would probably be the Frisian name Hajo.In old handwriting it can be hard to tell the difference. ;-)

  82. Lynn

    @Danny van Biene

    That name has NOTHING whatsoever to do with urine!
    But it’s full usage is like this:

    (I’m sorry but I just couldn’t resist! No, I am not 12 yrs, but I am definatly and irrevocately forever damaged by Jan, Jans en de kids!)

  83. Joke

    Lol, you made me laugh… I am one of those with a problem name. I’m called Joke and live in England……. I refuse to change my name, but in offical circumstances I use my offical name Johanna. With friends I’ll always be Joke, even if that causes giggles sometimes. At least we’ve got a subject to talk about… But when I started my first job in the UK, I had to use Johanna since my e-mail address would work out as [email protected]….. Not exactly good promotion for the company….
    I believe every culture and language has funny names though, but I’ve made sure that my son has a name that works in most languages :)

  84. Duke

    Living in a lovely place in Holland with the name “Bathmen” raises an eyebrow occasionaly

  85. Rachel

    Well I’m a dutch girl in a bilingual class with dutch kids, and I have two boys in my class with the last name: de Cock’ And my physics teacher always calls them COCK, it’s just too funny. He also calls Dion –> ‘Dionnekutje’ Which actually means DionVagina or Dionpussy. Ain’t my teacher fun hahah ;p

  86. Robin Fokker

    Haha, great post. My last name is actually Fokker, so when I’m abroad I tend to pronounce it as ‘Fooker’, because we all know how it sounds when you try to pronounce it in English.

  87. niels

    So true, once met a guy who’s name was Dik and his wife’s name is Willy. They where going on vacation to England, people there couldn’t stop laughing when they introduced themself :)

    Might want to add city names to? Because people can’t pronounce names like ‘Scheveningen’ to (Try it if you are not dutch;) )

  88. Annelies

    There is a guy named Dick Wijfje. Dick (dik) in Dutch means fat. Wijfje: little lady.

  89. Mario

    My wife’s aunt is called Fokje, she wisely gave her daughter the same name.
    Imagine my amusement when at the family bbq she announced that it was getting confusing with everyone calling them both Fokje. She asked that from that moment on people would refer to her daughter as “Fokje”, and to herself as “Moeder Fokje”.

    But the Dutch certainly don’t hold the monopoly on silly names, I have an American colleague who is named Randy Wood. Would his parents not know that this means “horny hard-on”, or would they have done this on purpose? I didn’t ask.

  90. Merel

    There is actually a radiostation that has the ‘schaamnaam’ ( shame name) competition every year.
    People that have really weird names can enter here, the only rule is that it’s your real name so ni nicknames etc.
    Some of the names ( I am not shitting you): Fokje Modder ( f*ck ya mother) , Koos Busters (ghost buster), Conny Plassen ( could not pee) Constant Lam ( Always waisted)
    If you dont believe me: just google it :)

  91. Bert

    great site about dutch habbits, my name is Bert, living somewhere in the center of the lowlands near the city of Amersfoort. When I tell my name to anyone abroad the start calling me Bird, When I send an email and leave my name under it, sometimes it happens that people reply starting: “hello Bird” .

    Now since I work for the refugee-council (vluchtelingenwerk) I tell the refugees they have to ask voor Bed as this is almost the way you pronounce my name.

    Have fun!

  92. Thom Valks

    It’s true! We do have some really weird names. In highschool I used to have two classmates called: Sjors Schipaanboord (Sjors Ship on board), and Fredie Pino Post, with Pino being the Dutch name for Big Bird from Sesame Street that would make her Fredie Big Bird Post.

  93. Missy

    Great fun! Here in Australia there’s a beautiful model and TV personality named Annalise Braakensiek, which sounds for all the world in Afrikaans like “vomiting and (being) sick”! I can’t help cracking up whenever her name pops up :-)

  94. Sarah

    They can be so difficult to pronounce! My grandparents on my mother’s side immigrated from the Netherlands and we still keep in touch with some of our family there, and it can get a little confusing when I try and talk to my friends about it. Some of the words are nearly impossible for me (who never got taught Dutch and has to scrape by on what little I’ve picked up from my granddad’s mutterings to himself) to pronounce, and just end up sounding ridiculous. Especially when they ask me where in the Netherlands my family’s from. It’s taken me years to master pronouncing Uithuizermeeden XD.

    • wim jongejan

      And then you should know that Uithuizermeeden is situated in the province of Groningen. Therefore the pronounciation in the dialect is totally different :-) . Just trying to confuse you :-)

  95. DutchPerson37

    Try “Kruishaar” for a surname (meaning Crotch-hair)

  96. Anita_nl

    My name doesn’t necessarily ridiculous in English, but I still got a nick name out of it when I first moved here. My name, Anita, is pronounced with a “d” instead of a “t”. My first nick name ever? Anita Bath!

  97. Gido

    I came across a name called ‘Nimmermeer’ that is ancient Dutch for ‘ Never Again’

  98. Anneleen Van Gils

    I am Belgian, and I have a true Dutch first name. I work for an international company, so it can get really interesting when foreign customers try to pronounce my name for the first time. I have to admit though that my colleagues (French, Italian, Britisch, American …) are getting a pretty good hang of it.

    As the Belgians and the Dutch share a language, we also see the phenomenon of the funny last name over here.
    One important professor at the faculty where I studied: Neukermans (= Fucking Guy).
    A girl in my primary school: Uyttebroeck (= Out of the Pants).

  99. peter

    I heard of a Fanny Donkersloot (Fanny Dark trench)

  100. johnmetdepet

    One of my classmates at school had the familyname Schiettekatte. Translated into English that would be “Shoot the cat”. It’s a name you’ll hear in Zeeland.

  101. Daphne

    Okay I agree that this is all very funny, but ever thought about Dutch words being used for names in English speaking countries? I mean, ‘Kip’ (chicken), seriously? I cannot take anyone seriously who introduces himself with that name..

  102. Jayawijaya

    In Indonesia there are many Kus (Koes), Yans (Jans), Fim’s (Wim) and Lies still- and Om, Tante and Oma and Opa are still used among the urban elite. But then again we have the famous “Batman bin Suparman” you can find on google.

    • wim jongejan

      Tiny is pronounced as Teenie, but with a short ee

      • Gene

        Teeny Kox doesn’t sound any better than Tiny Kox. As a matter of fact it sounds worse. Much much worse.

  103. Joanny

    My mum’s last name is Hennepveld which translates to Cannabis Field and being from The Netherlands already gave her the whole “weed” vibe for foreigners in the first place. And I have a friends whose last name is Cuntalot… I guess you can see how that goes wrong for English speaking people

  104. Speedlion

    My name is Leendert and I have quite some friends overseas… there are many that have asked me how to pronounce it and I always have to answer: “lane dirt”. I’ve gotten a wide variety of responses after my answer, but most of them laughed…

  105. jackie

    I recently met someone Whose male child was named “Boy.” And yes, your fears are confirmed. They aLso had a female cHild named, you guessed it, “Girl.” (No, this not a joke!) I think I’d rather be Freek or Joke.

  106. mvandendriest

    I don’t agree with your thesis at all. The Dutch may have many names that sound ridiculous in English but that’s not the reason we like them at all. It’s mere coincidence. I’d think that almost no person here would think of the effect of a name in other languages when naming a child.

  107. Vansturgess

    My family just took an Anglo-Saxon name and stuck van in front of it? Still confused over that

  108. Jansen

    My Dad’s first name is Godefridus, and in Nederland was always shortened to Goof or Goofy (the o sound is long, as in the word ‘boat’). With the obvious problem of using that in Canada, he switched to Fridus, shortened even further to Frey (somewhere between fray and free), and was often mistakenly called ‘Fred’ or ‘Fry’

  109. Ron

    I know a guy named Dick Schaap (Fat Sheep), his parents must have been drunk or something..

  110. Dutch 101 | Coconut Musings

    […] in a tough situation because I am not able to say HBW’s name. Besides the fact that it sounds ridiculous in English, it has an ‘r’ dead centre that makes it sound like you need to hiccup […]

  111. lavendelgirl

    I had a teacher in highschool called Vroegindeweij, i don’t really know how to translate that, but even in dutch it is funny. I also knew someone called naaktgeboren, dick de korte, blauwendraad. And i can keep going.

    By the way, i really like your blog!

    • Wim jongejan

      Vroegindeweij means: early in the meadow. A man in my chess club has the same name. They come from the island Goeree-Overflakkee

  112. Sabrina Fentener van Vlissingen Snyder

    I’m curious to know if anyone is familiar with my grandfather Hein van Vlissingen. My mother says he was very famous in Holland and we use to be one of the richest families there. But I want to hear from other dutch people to see how popular he really was. On a more related note to the post, I find my name Fentener van Vlissingen funny because it translates to the Fenteners from Flushing. So now I relate toilets to my name…

      • Pete

        If I may add to that: a two-barreled/three-barreled surname, in Dutch, points to (often) ancient nobility. If the surname consists of Something van Something (plus, occasionally, Something Else) – like yours – this is usually a good bet.

        Other well-known examples: Quarles van Ufford; Van Zinniq Bergman.

  113. ADODenHaag

    What about the American name “Kip” (= Dutch for “Chicken”)

    And American people also mispronounce my last name “Tettero” into “Death Row” :/

    • ADODenHaag

      Or the name “Dom” (= Dutch for “Dumb”)

  114. nic kuipr

    wijsneus in english means wisenose smart alec

    • Pete

      It’s ‘wise-acre, actually. ‘Smart-arse’ is also current, I believe.

  115. lordsofthedrinks

    There’s a football trainer from Holland called Foeke Booy (name comes from Friesland I think) who went to work in Scotland. When he introduced himself the people there thought he was kidding, since it sounded exactly like Fuck a Boy!
    Another fun example is our previous prime minister Wim Kok.

  116. axelsjournal

    My favorite is IJsbrandt – “burning ice” – as far as I can figure. I liked the name, thought it from an epic poem, but then thought about its use in non-Dutch context. I’m from the US, my wife Dutch, and I could only imagine little IJsbrandt on his first day in American kindergarden first having to suffer through the teacher’s pronunciation and then the questions from his classmates, never mind the spelling issues that were bound to arise. I any case we had a girl and the issue seemed moot. And just out of curiosity what is the feminine of IJsbrandt? IJsbrandtje?

  117. Wybrich

    Some translations sound rediculous, but only because people forget that Dick comes from Frederick or Roderick or any of such. Names are not meant to be translated. But when people do, they like to pick the weirdest possible translation, oh haha great fun. Names itself are already abbrivitations or mergings of several. Names usually revered to the family or to occupations. Like ‘Dekker’ is ‘Tatcher’. Come on people, you can do better than that. Such names are not meant to be translated literally.

    • Wybrich

      Besides, the post is not about translating your name, but about sound and pronounciation.

  118. Wietze

    Well, we have the so called shame names every year on the radio.
    Those are names that even in Dutch are pretty silly.

    What about:
    Con Doomen (condom)
    Hendy Keppy (handicap)
    I.C. Notting (and this is an eye surgeon.,…)
    Ron de Knikker (round marble)
    Josieke Borsten (Yo, sick breasts!)
    Wilma Krikken (want to f**k mother)
    Gooi van de Berg (Throw of the mountain)
    Ben en Wil Niks (Am and will do nothing (family!))
    Fokje Modder (no explanation here…)
    Justin Case
    Piet Saman (Pizza Man)
    Klaartje Komen (getting off)

    Just a bunch of real people with real names :)

  119. herman van den boom

    I live close to Kuttekoven and Tongeren

  120. Michelle Boon

    It is always funny how Americans tend to misspronounce my name and call me mss Boner or mss Bone.. My personal favorite is when it is misspronounced as Boon (like the movie Boondock Saints)

  121. Bart Van de Goor

    If the English just pronounce the names that start with “J” as if they’re starting with a “Y”, they won’t have any issue :) And just replace “SJ” with ” Sh”

  122. Martine

    While living in the USA for a year I became known with the name thing.
    I was having conversations with friends about family, and then started to realise that my gran and uncle’s names were ridicilious in English. Many of my friends didnt wanna believe that my grans name is Cock (or Cocky as most people around her called her) and my uncles name is Dick. Luckily they are not related :)

  123. EduLeics

    And why exactly do Dutch have to sound right in English? FFS it’s DUTCH for people in the NETHERLANDS. They speak a different language there, with different habits and different names. As if there aren’t any silly names here in England (I’m Dutch, moved to the UK) that sound utterly ridiculous in English or in Dutch. Dutch people did not and do not chose names to pee other people (the English) off. Maybe Napoleon (as mentioned earlier) but he’s French. And hey, don’t we all love to pee the French off a bit?

  124. Bill Holland

    I worked with a Belgian guy for a while who had the unfortunately name Ben de Kock.
    The was generally pronounced bendy cock and many emails did not arrive at customers addresses as a result of firewall issues – it was very funny!

  125. Fanny

    All of this is so recognisable! I lived in the states for a short time, where I encountered some memorable responses to my name. Ranging from “that’s so funny” (or grappig, as many Dutch people kindly nickname me) to “that’s such a good joke! Now what’s your real name?” and “and you sit on your behind, right?” The best reaction ever came from a British environment professor who’s class we kindly nicknamed ‘pooclass’. He explained to us we can save the environment from methane gas by catching cattle feces from their f.. Well um.. (He looked at me, face turning red) never mind…

    What can I say. Thanks mummy and daddy for calling me Fanny Bot?

    • Ann Fluence

      So change your name in foreign countries. Why be a mockery? I’ll NEVER comprehend why people insist on shoving their names down other culture’s throats when they know it’s offensive. You CAN change your name, you know. You might consider calling yourself ‘buttocks’, same meaning. My father’s surname was Papadoupulos. Of course he changed it in the USA. Why burden yourself as a joke? Short of that, stay home where they don’t mind.

      • Pete

        Do you know that a Mr Papadopoulos featured as the villain in a number of Tintin comics? One title I seem to remember is ‘Flight 714′ – the last album published. Not sure of the correct spelling, though.

      • Ruud Zwart

        Well, if you feel so strongly about that, you should tell your president to change his name too.

    • Wouter Vrolijk

      Wait, weren’t you a ‘kringel’ at C.S.R. Delft in 2008?

  126. Martijn

    Try my name: I have a lot of laughs with it when visiting english countries :
    Martijn Regenbogen :P

  127. Christopher

    We have an estate agent here in Delft called Van Daal (pronounced: vandaal e.g. vandal)… I always wonder about the condition of the houses he sells…

  128. jurgen

    How about the last name kok or the first name dick.

  129. Coralie

    Dont know where you get your info from but most surnames do not actually exist (anymore), you can check the names on but i can assure you there are no people named Meneer Zonderkop or Mr. Niemantsverdriet for sure.. And for example Dick is an english first name as well?? Really don’t understand why to make fun of such a non issue??

  130. Veerle

    OK silly, we – the Dutch – give you that. But the same is true with English words in Dutch, or any other language vice versa for that matter. A bit childish too, don’t you think? Wim Kok, Tiny Kox or all those other examples are totally normal to the Dutch. For they are Dutch words, not English. So go on have your fun and have a nice day.

  131. Black Blud

    I am from England and now living in The Netherlands. I have heard many funny Dutch names, but the funniest name I have heard is from England. I have a friend called Chris Peacock. You can imagine the fun we had calling him Crispy Cock.

  132. David Bowles

    When former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers was in power, the UK satire magazine “Private Eye” made a clever spoonerism of his name: Lewd Rubbers!

  133. Pete

    From my secondary school days – a long time ago now – I remember a book entitled ‘Bint’, by (Ferdinand) Bordewijk. It’s about a secondary school run like an awful borstal. Ironically, I came across the title whilst attending a real-life secondary school run like an awful borstal!

    The characters featuring bear monikers like Klotterbo(o)ke(n) and Van der Kabargenbok. Bint is the draconically disciplinarian head teacher (bint, by the way, means girl or woman in Arabic – not sure which any more. I wonder the writer ever knew…).

    The story goes that this author had a penchant for weird names, picking these from a phone book! And another title of his, suddenly popping up, is ‘Katadreuffe’ – another unusual surname from real life, of course.

    Although Bordewijk died in 1965, his work remains available. And most of it is still relevant for today. You might like to check him out on Wiki, in your public library, or in your local bookshop.

  134. Piet

    Lucky for you guys there aren’t any of those names in English… And what’s the story with the ‘J’ names?! James (the butler), John (the pimp), Jack (the jurk off)?! Without any proper knowledge of our language and the meaning nor the proper pronunciation of Dutch words this article seems a very poor attempt to mainly ridicule our language. It’s indeed very infantile.

  135. Michael

    It’s as funny as living as a Dutchman in America and see license plates with “RUK,” which means jerk off in Dutch. Or see a hair salon that wants a cute spelling and has a sign that says hair KUTS, which means cunts in Dutch.

  136. Arthur

    I heard my share of names that sounded funny when pronounced by someone else: in Amsterdam an American lady was paged to come to the stage: “mevrouw is-een-hoer komt u even naar het podium!” Translated: “Ms. Isenhour please come to the stage!”
    Or in America a Dutch surname pronounced in English Ms Ketelaar. Sounds like ‘kietelaar’ – Dutch word for Clitoris. Oh well!

  137. arthur

    I heard my share of names that were pronounced by Dutch or English speaking people;
    An English lady was paged by someone in Dutch: ‘Telefoon voor mevrouw. Is-een-hoer!’ Translated: Telephone Call for Mrs. Isenhour.
    In America I heard a Dutch surname pronounced by an English speaker. Pleased to meet you, Mrs Kietelaar (Dutch slang for Clitoris) . The name is actually Ketelaar and pronounced Keytelahr. Oh well!

  138. Laura

    one of my family’s names is “Doodeheefver”, which translates to “dead heaver”. how lovely ;)

  139. Sanne

    Really funny even for a dutch person. But what do You tink off te name cock. I don’t need to explain that one

  140. Renske Dijkhuis

    Lol! I laughed so much I cried, reading through all the posts. Just wanted to share my brothers name which is Jelle (jelly) Dijkhuis (here in oz often thought of as dike-house – lesbian house) quite unfortunate!

  141. Diny jansen

    My aunts name was Suikerbuick before she married.

  142. Genevieve

    Hey this reminds me of a question I asked my Dutch husband and his friends.
    Why is it Willem van Oranje and not Willem van Sinaasappel? Oranje can be both translated into orange, but just different meaning, first the colour and Sinaasappel the fruit, why not Sinaasappel? I didn’t get an answer but they just had a good laugh, haha.

    • Wim jongejan

      Willem van Oranje was actually Prince of Orange, a dynastic title of the sivereign princedom Orange, which is in the south of France, but was not a part of France, end of the 15th century.
      And the word Oranje was then translated in oranghien, and today in Oranje.

  143. Genevieve

    thanks for the info but sadly it doesn’t answer the question. :)

  144. Rene

    My partners’ sister just moved to the US totally unaware that you just cannot go by the name of ‘Kokkie Schnetz’ there.

  145. Andrea B

    Hahaha I love your blog. My dutch hubby is named Pepijn. No one, I mean, no one except his mother and pronunce that! This has earned him uncountable nicknames with our non-dutch friends and my Colombian family.

    Ohh.. and his brother’s name is Taco. Fun times in Mexico. What were my in-laws thinking?

    • Martijn Janssen

      @Andrea B
      Merrin and Pippin from the Lord of the Rings are translated as Merijn and Pepijn in the Dutch version. So maybe you could call him Pippin.

      • Sander Sloots

        It is Merry and Pippin in English. Pepijn isn’t that difficult to pronounce for English people, it is like Puh-pine.
        On the other hand a lot of English names are hard to pronounce for a lot of Dutch people, if you have the “th” combination in you name, forget it.

  146. Martijn Janssen

    I thought Fokker would be known in English speaking countries as the WW.I plane manufacturer (of the Red Baron fame).

  147. Blamefull

    How about a dentist….and his last name is De Martelaar..translated, The Torturer

  148. Wouter

    Well, my last name is Vrolijk, which easily translates to ‘happy’. Fortunately, it reflects my character.

  149. Laureen Van Raamsdonk

    What about names of places? My mom’s hometown was Doenkerbroek (dark pants)

  150. Pete Serres

    A Serious Question –
    Was the Niemantsverdriet anything to do with illegitimacy by any chance?

    • Anneliese

      For the most part, these weird last names were because when Napleon decided he wanted a census or whatever people would give him some fake last name, like Niemantsverdrie, because they believed it was only temporary.

  151. Wim jongejan

    Niemand = nobody. Verdriet = sorrow. So you are nobody’s sorrow when your name is Niemandsverdriet. Old fashiond spelling for niemand is niemant

  152. Ronnie B

    Funny think is one of my sons middel names is Sikko. Wich is a normal name for the province of Groningen :)

  153. Randy

    I had a teacher in high school whose last name was Hordyk. Having grown up around mostly around Dutch people, I never questioned the name, but it caused laughter when I mentioned it to one of my non-Dutch friends.

  154. Ben

    While I was in university, I worked for TPG Post (now: PostNL) delivering packages to private residences during evening hours. I always had a huge smile on my face ringing the doorbell of the Zeldenthuis (“rarely home”) family… they were actually never home, I never saw them!

  155. Patrick

    When my neighbour Gé introduced himself to my english speaking girlfriend he reached his hand and said: Hi I am Gay

  156. C. Wenker

    I kinda expected my last name to be somewhere in there… (Wenker) Especially my uncle whose name was Dick…

  157. silvana

    My aunt is called Lies. I just realised that it’s a weird name when you travel to an english speaking country. Its a shortened version of Elise.

  158. Eva

    A few weeks ago I was walking through town when I heard a couple talking, and one said to the other: “And then she told me her name was FLOOR!”. Never thought about that one before, made me giggle.

  159. bradammer

    There is actually a simple explanation for the Above. We, the Dutch, were forced to pick a last name during the reign of Napoleon. Due to the fact that nobody wanted that (or understood why… mostly farmers etc..) and as a kind of resistance they choose to pick a silly/dumb name. Not usingknowing we would still be using them many years later….why not change your name?? ’cause you can only do that with the queens/kings permission.

    • Anneliese

      True, I’ve heard stories from relatives, explaining their weird last names, ex: Name guy:”Who are you?” Ancestor:”I’m the Emperor.” That’s how half my cousins have the last name De Keizer.

      • bradammer

        Haha fun story! And the Truth! It happends a lot here. Nobody would have thought back then that we would still be using them. Born Naked (Naaktgeboren) is another example

  160. petra

    Funny to think what name i would have given to Napoleon, but ok. Just one comment: Jarno a Dutch name? Can’t get more Finnish i think… if you use names, make sure they are really Dutch in such a blog :)

    • bradammer

      Than again there are some names that just have another meaning in Dutch I can understand that Fokker is funny in English in here it’s the Dutch translation for ‘(Sheep) Breeder.’ ’cause despite the many funny names the most Dutch people just choose their proffesion as a last name: smid/fokker/brouwer etc.

  161. Willemien

    My fathe’s first names are Dick Tjerk. You can imagine that went down well with my English in-laws…

  162. Anneliese

    When I went to college in the U.S, people were always poking fun at the fact that I had four given names. (Anneliese Christina Etheldreda Beatrix) I’m not sure where Etheldreda came from, considering that its British… I had a friend who’s last name is Van Gogh (I don’t think he’s even related to the artist) and people never believed him.

  163. Jos

    I think Greg Shapiro read this article, he used the exact same examples in his cabaret show (another typical Dutch thing) “How to be Orange”.

  164. Ruth Hannah

    My sister was friends with someone with the last name Snijdood (translated Cutdead). There was a bicycle shop from the family Soepboer (Soupfarmer), there was a girl in my class named Modderkolk (Mudpond), and I’ve known someone who’s last name was Hertenscheit (Deershit)

  165. ari

    When I was little, I didn’t understand why you would call your child ‘Bill’. That’s BUTT in Dutch!
    But what about the English name ‘Dick’? I don’t get that.

  166. arnie

    as far as I know ‘nakedborn’ is a proper english name and when it comes down to names … the american people give both their sons an daughters the name of ‘randy’ – that is not a good name in the UK

  167. Erica Jackson

    I work for a Dutch company that prints baby names etc. on things like little shirts, bibs, clocks and what not. We regularly get the most ridiculous names which never cease to amaze me. Recently we had Lard and Loezer, and a while back even Zwerver (basically a hobo, even in Dutch). I don’t know what Zwerver’s parents were thinking at the time they named him, but I’m guessing they were on drugs. Poor kid.

  168. Paul Scholte

    I’m Dutch. I have English Friends already 25 years. We meet very often. We love each other. This has been often discussed between us. The whole idea behind it is the mindset of anglophones: they make themselves to the linguistic standard and other languages are seen as difficult, irrelevant because there is English. My friend Jim heard Herman van Veen singing en said: he makes Dutch almost sound beautiful … I asked him if he realised himself that I find my language beautiful. Yes, may be, he said, but for example poetry is impossible in Dutch … No, no, Dutch is an ugly language, like German. Most of the English I know do not speak any other language than English en really mean that others should learn English.They have a right tot be approached in English. So, when English people are abroad, everything is foreign exept themselves…. Good example in this post: if a Dutch child wants to spread its wings …., that will only happen in an Anglophone country!! Holland is not a place to spread your wings …By the way, I know English words that sound strange en weird in Dutch … but it’s English!

  169. Pancho T

    It works the other way round as well. My friend Felicity doesn’t quite comprehend why I call her by her full name when everyone else calls her Flicka. Flikker means fag in Dutch.
    Then there are the names that (should) raise eyebrows even in anglophone countries like Randy for a given name or Coward for a family name.

  170. Cass

    Broekzak is my favorite Dutch last name. (It means Pants Pocket!)

  171. Cliff

    I was in an company meeting in London of twelve people mostly Brits and two had come from The Netherlands and one from Ireland. One of the guys from Holland was chairing the meeting and the Irishman was making an important point with the other Dutchman sitting next to him. When he had finished speaking the Dutch chairman looked up to attract his colleagues attention “Fokke” . The Irishman thought that he was talking to him and angrily replied “ There is no need for that “ . I explained that he was not talking to him and our Frisian colleague’s name was Fokke. ( exactly how an Irishman pronounces Fucker) The whole meeting fell apart the Brits where in hysterics , the Dutch had no idea what was so funny and the Irish guy totally bemused why anyone would be called Fucker / Focker .

  172. huismans

    Is it already mentioned that Dutch people call their little baby ‘poepie’ or ‘scheetje’?

  173. ploep

    And you call youre kids hope, well when you say that in dutch you actualy say hoop that means : shit

  174. emily

    Is there anyone know what ” kusters” meaning in english? Is it common dutch surname? Just want to know. Thanks

    • Sarah

      How bizarre; my husband’s name is ‘Kuster’ (no s) and I looked it up one time. Seems it is the custodian of a church, not an actual clergyman but the guy who looks after the place. I forget the english word now (church warden?)….Anyway, with-an-s seems to be quite common because everyone sticks one onto our name….!

      • emily

        Hi sarah,thanks for explain i.what a coincidence ur husband also has same surname.seem all dutch surname have meaning behind it :) yes,the english word is church warden.

  175. Sarah

    Nice Post! A friend of mine went out of his way to procure the business card of a Dutch colleague in order to amuse his family and friends. The name on the card? “Jeroen Kok”……

  176. Daan

    It was Napoleon who forced the Dutch to take a last name. Of course many already had a nickname that was converted to a family name (Miller, Smith and others). Others decided that it was a bit joke and it would not last long. These people choose a funny name (like ‘Nobody’) to make fun of Napoleon.

  177. Suzanne

    A very late comment to this post but I remember vividly when the Dutch primeminister and the CEO of the Dutch Telecommunications Company (before KPN became privatised) went on a trade negotations trip together to, I think it was New York… On the frontpage there was a large photo of the two of them and the headline said “Kok and Dik: how do you do?”

  178. Dennis

    how about Haarlem (Harlem) as for the sandy ridge in the landscape!

  179. Bob

    I knew a kid named

    Nick Ackerman
    Nie kakker man.

    My mother told her cousin not to call her niece An Tjoens.
    Which would have sounded like andjoens (onions) in flemish.

  180. Kees

    strangest dutch name I ever heared was ‘Elsjanofwipper’ Hard to translate in english but it kinda sounds like somene gives u three options for his name.
    Then of course there is the family ‘Vrouwtje'(=little woman) , who must have hated their son to call him ‘Dik’ -> “Dik Vrouwtje” (=fat (little) woman)

  181. Kees

    but sure there are plenty of weird English names as well:

    Family names such as: Cock, Daft, Death, Dungworth, Smellie, Gotobed, Shufflebottom, Piggs, Nutters, Jelly, Demon, Clutterbuck, Greedy, Hardmeat, Hogwood, Hiscock, Steer, Bracegirdle, Bonefat, Turtle, Cornfoot, Rattlebag, Bottom, Pigfat, Willy.

    What about funny combinations:

    Carrie Oakey,
    Terry Bill,
    Barb Dwyer,
    Stan Still,
    Annette Kirton,
    Theresa Green or Brown
    Justin Case
    Norman Knight,
    Rick O’Shea
    Seymour Legg,
    Peg Legg,
    Ray Gunn,
    Jo King.

  182. Jan de Man

    It would be nice to know what the name is of this person who wrote this piece of garbage and where she was born and does she know the background of all these unusual Dutch neames

  183. Melody

    It also works the other way around. My brother and I would always be laughing when Bill Clinton was on the news, because that was an American President called bil (i.e. buttock)

  184. Joyce

    Well, in Dutch, names are hyphenated on the door, so the husbands name, hyphen, wife’s maiden name. We knew a couple and literally on the door it said: naaktgeboren-in het Veld. (born naked-in the field) I kid you not!

  185. C. Reino

    How about people with the last name: Nus, which would make Pieter or Arie not a good firts name to have on a letter box or envelop.

  186. Mark de Knegt

    How names van morph…
    Brooklyn derives from the Dutch city name Breukelen…
    Harlem from the Dutch city name Haarlem
    New York before the Dutch swapped it with the British with Suriname was called New Amsterdam
    My name Mark de Knegt, don’t you even try to pronounce the “g” in Knegt.. It sounds like schrapping your throat, is morphed from knecht. Knecht means servant/apprientece(?!)
    More common in the days of the uccupation of the Netherlands by Napoleon were names like Willem Barentszoon (Nova Zembla) – William Son of Barend…
    Last names mostly refererend to the occupation people had or pointed out the name of the father…
    By the way nobody laughs about the name Femke Jansen (x-men) or Rutger Hauer (blade runner, flesh and blood many more), Jeroen Krabbe (James Bond)

  187. Jonathan

    Most dutch didn’t have last names until napoleonic reformation forced it upon them. In great displeasure and sarcastic rebellion created these names of which you refer.

  188. Marijke

    Saw a funny one on the graham norton show that was english. A pregnant woman last name was Low And her husband wante to Call the boy Hanso

  189. sjors

    those strange surnames came to be in the napoleon times, he forced surnames on the Dutch, who as a form of protest came up with these names

  190. Harald Moes

    Its always easy to make a joke on someone, especialy when they even didn’t have any choice, your first or last name is given to you the day you were born(or somewhere arround that event).
    Be proud even when someone jokes about it, they don’t know better or are stupid and iggnorant MF(i don’t explain that one haha)

  191. Colinda teeuwisse

    I am blessed with a not so dutch ( but in fact allready english soinding) name.

  192. Lia

    Napoleon Bonaparte made us make these names up…

  193. barb den Daas Clark

    lol. my mom used to say that my last name, which is den Daas, means of the royalty, i believed her of course..who wouldnt …what i didnt realize is that when i was playing an on line game against someone a few years back, who was from Holland, laughed at my name, and asked did i realize it meant something like the town fool or court jestor…hahah, it was then i realized it did mean of the royalty, just not like princess as my mind of course first went to

  194. Merry McCreery

    I always have believed that when Napoleon took over the Netherlands, he insisted that all Dutch people have last names, and since the Dutch thought this was ridiculous and would never last, they gave themselves ridiculous names like Van De Broek (from the pants — where else?) and Suitenbouk (Sweet tooth).

  195. Josée De Mooy

    Nobody here in Australia can pronounce: Josée !

  196. Scott

    My wife and I are both English, (though lived in Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland). We named our youngest son Jarno. It is actually a Finnish name, though he was named after an Italian F1 driver who was named after a Finnish Motorcycle rider.

  197. Ines Sleeboom-van Raaij

    All those funny surnames date from the Napoleontic times, when the French goverment ruled the Netherlands. By law people without a surname like farmers and labourers had to choose a surname. Some people have choosen silly names, they presumed that after the French had left that law would be turned back. Helas for them that never happened, and they and their children had to live with those silly names for ever. Some have officially changed their name, e.g. from Zaadloos (without sperm) to Saarloos (no meaning) for which they had to pay a lot of money per letter. And by the way it can also be the other way around with names in other languages being funny, like callling your child Savannah. Ines Sleeboom-van Raaij

    (Sleeboom=blackthorn and van Raaij means from the environment)

  198. Margareta Shirley

    I think the strange surnames came about when Napoleon made it law for all Dutch families have one. The “van den Hoeks”, “van den Bergs” and “van de Broek” are some of the common ones but then, I think some were chosen as a way to “get back to Napoleon, like “Zonderbroek”, “Niemandsverdriet”, “Geengeld” etc., etc. Some of them are definitely “tongue in cheek” and the combinations are endless. Mostly, it tells of how their sense of humour helped the Dutch through the hard times…

  199. Albert Hendriks

    I know multiple guys named “Dick”

  200. Dutchie

    How about Joris, my English partner always calles him “your ass”

  201. Carolyn Niemantsverdriet

    I just came across your page and find it quite interesting — and especially that you mention our family name — Niemantsverdriet. We have some theories about how that name did come about, but mostly we find that there is veracity in it. We are generally not trouble. Thanks. Carolyn Niemantsverdriet

  202. New Floridian

    And then you might go to Flanders every now and then and meet with Mr. Deneuker, Mr. Denaayer and Mr. Grootaers, which could be translated as The Fucker, The Screwer and BigAsshole (That last one is a literal translation).

  203. Femke

    This article made me laugh out loud! I totally understand the struggle of people who life in an anglophone country. I live in the Netherlands, in Friesland actually and I have to admit that there are some pretty ridiculous names out here. But to us they are totally normal, I am curious how you would pronounce my name?

  204. Durk

    You can imagine the surprise of quite a few Americans when a former colleague of mine went on vacation in the States and introduced himself with: “Hi! I’m Gé!”, which will sound like “Hi! I’m gay!” to people of English tongue.

    Also, there must be some people in the Netherlands that are named “Dick de Cock”.

    • Scott

      I remember a colleague of mine in Den Haag called Cock Slinger. :)

  205. Boy

    My surname is ok, hard to spell for everyone but pronounceable with some help.
    But after moving to the UK, my first and only given name “Boy”, has been less than helpfull

  206. marcel

    3 young guys on a trip driving thru canada, germ, harm en ruud, what are the odds.

  207. Jn

    I know somebody with their last name to be ‘Nooitgedagt’ which translates into ‘Never thought’

  208. amandajkuykendall

    This was a great read- including the comments. I have often wondered about Dutch names, Dutch culture. My surname( via marriage) is Kuykendall – was changed at Ellis Island from Van Juykendall. Makes me wonder what else surrounds that name. Still wondering what the name Jopke means???

    • Russ Kuykendall

      No Ellis Island involved re Kuykendall, as the first landed at Manhattan in 1646, we’ll before there was an Ellis Island. The original spelling was “van Kuykendaal.” And, this surname wasn’t adopted till the 1680s, after the family had been in North America for nearly forty years. They were Dutch colonists, not Ellis Island immigrants — “not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

  209. Nathan Kok

    I’m a high school teacher living in southern California, and my last name is Kok. And YES, we still pronounce it COCK. My great grand parents came over from the Netherlands, and we have MANY teachers in the family, including my dad and grandpa. My grandpa pronounced it COKE, but I know that historically in Holland it was brought about during Napoleon’s requiring of last names, and it just means “cook” by occupation. I’m getting married this fall, and let’s just say my fiance isn’t TOO excited about pronouncing it COCK, so we’ll see, but i have a feeling COOK is in our future too :)


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