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.
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? 😉
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!
I still think Ricky van Wolfswinkel (FC Utrecht player) has the best last name I’ve come across here.
You mean the Norwich FC player. We’ll hear that being mangled on UK radio and tellie now.
yes now he is a Norwich FC player. But his post came from 2011;)
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.
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.
Zeepvat translates into Soapbarrel btw. And Eikel into Acorn. Acorn isnt a curseword in English but the Dutch word is.
yes…and eikel/acorn means the head of the penis (dick in english). isn’t this fun
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”.
^ “junk” means ship in english. i think he was just translating the word. and mistranslated zeepvat as zeepvet
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.
My name is Folkje, but I go by Fonnie. I live in Canada, so no I will not be called Folkje…….lol
I had a neighbour who’s first name was Fokje, no kidding. Heard several times in Friesland
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.
Vat doesn’t mean fat… and Jonk doesn’t mean junk… fyi
Uhmmm nog to be difficult, but ‘eikel’ means ‘acorn’ in Dutch, unfortunately the tip of the penis is also referred to by that name and that is how the second meaning as a ‘dickhead’ came about… But nothing wrong with having acorn as a surname, I would think…
Zeepvat is actually Soap Barrell ans Jonk is Young?
Haha! My name is Anna, but my Dutch partner renamed me Anyatje!
Zeepvat would translate to soapbarrel, obviously related to this man’s profession.
Zeepvat could also translate to Soapkeg. As a keg is a small barrel.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
(Lex) Hard-ing does not mean hard thing at all; it has only 1 d. So it’s either Har-ding or Hard-ing.
Juvenile, the author asks. Yes, very. There are plenty of English guys called Dick or shortened to Dick (sometimes sort for Richard…wtf). Seriously, names do not translate, nor should they be.
Van Twist = van het west. So, from the West.
They had a good go though! ?
My first name has been an issue living in the UK for 20yrs, anything from Miakka to Mickey and Mikey.
I would pronounce your name something like My-Kuh.
My Dutch first name is Stans…impossible to say properly in English and I always had to explain it. Friends and (married into) family called me Stan or Stanley
My fav is Zonderbroek – without trousers. 🙂
I love-Dirk van den Broek!
Always trying to erase the ‘r’ in ‘Dirk’…….sounds like ‘Dick from the trousers’ 😀
broek actually refers to swamp, probably where his ancestor used to live.
Dirk van den broek is also a supermarket
I think, in this case, broek refers to the type of forest, broek is a wet forest located near rivers, etc.
Exactly like the English word ‘brook’…which also means creek, just like the Dutch word ‘broek’.
When i was a cusomer care reprenstative, i had the pleasure of talking to mrs or miss pijpers. I would rather not translate it 😀
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.
I once had a classmate who had the lastname “de pijper”, wouldn’t translate that either 😛
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.
Pijper refers to someone who plays a kind of flute called a doedelsak.
Could also come from without brook (as in water) … Medieval Dutch wasn’t that far of from English.
Let’s not forget my very favorite – Kok.
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!
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!!
I knew a guy named Dick Kok.
What about the great dutch televions ‘hero’, inspector de Cock 🙂
Don’t forget the famous American actor Dick van Dyke
Dick van Dyke’s father was Dutch
met cee oo cee kaa 🙂
My mum’s called Joke de Kok 😛
I remember living in the US, when Wim Dik and Wim Kok came to visit on a financial delegation trip.
@Marjolein:…Dick van Dyke , by the way, is a Dutchman, emigrated to the US, if I’m correct
…and my name sounds kind of happy in english (cheered)
…Eddie van Halen …also an emigrated Dutchman! from Roosendaal,Noord-Brabant, NL, I think
@Tjeerd. Sorry but Dick van Dyke was born in the US. However his father came from The Netherlands.
How about Dick Cock. 🙂
Fokje Modder is the best i know!
In Dutch there are many, Bo ter Ham for example
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?”
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?)
kloot actually just means balll
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’.
And they can’t pronounce your name here (UK) either, can they broerlief?
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.
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!
..and females named jan
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 😛
what about that english dude, Ben Dover, and his wife Eileen 🙂
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)
I’m a great fan of Coos Busters. 🙂
My mother happens to be a teacher to this Fokje Modder at the Groningen Verloskunde opleiding. I kid you not. 🙂
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……
Thankfully, wijnand fokking sells some of the best jenever in amsterdam
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!”
Modder is mud. Moeder is Mother. In German Mutter is Mother. Modder Gat is a place in Friesland and translates to mud hole.
Not funny at all, unless you are a teenage boy
This is amazing – I am now in love with your blog – hysterical.
You mean hilarious hun 😉
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!
My surname is Van het Groenewoud, which means something like: from the green forest.
I have 2 colleagues who have Storm and De Wolf as a surname. Always thought those were very cool. And a Dutch colleague whose first name is Lucifer, which appearantly means match stick in Dutch, or something like dawn or first light in Latin. She usual goes by Luci or Luce when in the US for obvious reasons.
Sletteland (Slutsland), Kwaasteniet (He’s quite allright)
The name is: actually Kwaadsteniet or Dekwaadsteniet, litterally: not the worst person
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… 🙂
Don’t forget about ‘Slettenhaar’ which exactly translates as ‘Slut’s hair’! Isn’t that lovely!
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. 😉
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
‘Slappendel’ is also quite common. ‘Slap’ meaning limp and ‘del’ sometimes meaning ‘slut’ . Originally it meant ‘a valley in the dunes’, but who remembers?
HAHAHAHA i actually knew a family called
also dont forget the name DIK ( pronounced DICK)
Baksteen ( means Brick)
Beenhakker ( leg cutter)
de Dood ( Death)
Staartjes ( ponytail)
My uncle worked for a wheelchair business called Beenhakker (Legchopper). Not joking!
Wow, so far you have had the funniest comment!
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!
Actually bone crusher translates it much better. My husband’s family dentist when he was a child went by that name (Beenhakker).
You gotta be kidding me.
Pete, n ook t every dutch peron is arrogant, the reply you gave here was arrogant, and not to forget, mean as well, and very offending, I’m a girl from Amsterdam, and have I ever done something bad to you? I’ve never even been in england
Been also means bone, so beenhakker would be bone cutter.
Pete, you are a bit of a prat. Beenhouwer is slager, indeed and that is about the only sensible thing in your post.
Benno Baksteen was the spokesperson for the commercial pilots union. How’s that for a funny coincidency.
Beenhakker is an old-fashioned term for Butcher (and still used in Flanders). There was a famous soccer-coach called Beenhakker
Beenhakker = Bonechopper and will be the butcher.
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.
Not to forget ‘van Oranje’ 😉
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.
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).
Unlike Anglo Saxon countries were last names as Black, Brown and White are unheard of?
(Fake is a Frisian name by the way).
I have also seen Kaasenbrood! (cheese and bread)… or koning (king), I think I can collect few more from my company´s email list…
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.)
wat is wijsneus in het Engels?
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 😀
I always take comfort in the fact that my name probably isn’t the worst out there.
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!
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…
Never ever heard of the “Dutch” name Joord…
You should have done a piece about WHY people in the Netherlands sometimes have funny last names. THAT would be interesting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_name#Surnames
Funniest last name I think is “Poepjes” (“Small faeces” or “Farts”)…
Maybe they mean Jort ?
Joord is indeed not very prevalent: less than 5 people have that name. http://www.meertens.knaw.nl/nvb/naam/is/joord. By the way, both the voornamenbank and familienaambank of the meertens institute are intresting databanks about front and last names and their explanation (in Dutch).
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.)
A ‘poerstamper’ is a ‘verrader’ (traitor).
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.
Pielemuis en piel is in het Nederlands ook gewoon piemel hoor. Alleen misschien hoor je het niet zo vaak meer tegenwoordig 🙂
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”.
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.
Stephen ek het nou lekker gelag oor die Pielsticker lol!
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).
Those throaty g- , sch- and schr- sounds, in Dutch (as in Greetje, Scheveningen and schrapen, for instance) are insurmountable for most Brits and French, in my experience. But a German friend of mine who speaks very acceptable Dutch as well seems to have no trouble with those.
Tj- and Sj-, however (as in Dutch/Friesian first names Tjitske and Sjoerd), should cause less trouble to Anglo-Saxon tongues, I think: Tshits-kuh and Shoort, respectively.
How does Mike Hunt sound in English. (MY *unt).
How about the first name: Hessel? Almost pronounced as asshole.
I knew I guy named like this a long time ago.
so… was he?
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
What do you think about Jeroen? (abroad often pronounced as Urine) LOL
Jeroen is Dutch for Jerome.
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…..
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.
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).
Meneer Bunnypants … ?!
Great Balls O’ Fire!! I had to cover my face with my hands so I wouldn’t hyperventilate.
I’ve lived in Friesland (Leeuwarden) for 12 years.
Great first names for girls, like Tytsje – pronounced “tietsje” which ofcourse means titty…hehehe 😉
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Dutch yearbook? The Dutch don’t make yearbooks. But even if there were Dutch yearbooks, the name “Naaktgeboren” would still be very uncommon.
@ tim: Dutch do make yearbooks. I’ve made one at highschool, back in the ’90s… So don’t shave everyone over one comb! 😉
Nothing strange about your name. It is a profession, wort is an ingredient for making beer and other alcoholic beverages.
Mitra in Greek means uterus…In any language you will find funny names….
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.
Eefje – uhm I hate to break it to you, but it does sound like something weird. Americans would pronounce it as Effyuh – close to F U, which stands for (well do I need to explain?)
My name isn’t weird, just super difficult. One of my friends remembered it by saying “will you be mine” which could be awkward when I was single and she introduced me like that to single guys…
My first name is Loes, which is pronounced like “lose”…
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! 😛
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.
Hahahaha never heard that one before!
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.
True, You have to read it in English.Joke I always got that. It,s a Joke 😛 Must be a strange name for English speaking people.
But it also work the other way around. Some man of the USA have the name Kip! That means Chicken in Dutch!
Recently I seen on internet the name Del for a female, in Dutch that means “tart” I,m sure you,ll find that in many languages. It,s funny nevertheless.
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 – http://www.yellow-llama.com/why-we-dont-speak-dutch-in-south-africa/
i knew a woman called likmevesje roughly translates to lick my ass (or the female variety). still cracks me up 😉
I know that only as Lick my Vest or Coat
it’s a rude comment comparable to kiss my ass.
So what’s the female variety of ass, I wonder?
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!
My surname translates as Crowcreek…
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).
My name is Lieke Rietjens, is this funny in english? 😛
If you take the N out of my last name and translate it, it means straws 😛
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…
yes, and how about the English names on the dutch website
One of the tallest families I have ever known have a Dutch background and their surname is “de Korte”, meaning “the short”!!
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 !
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….
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.
A while ago, a woman named ‘Fokje Moddermans’ won the worst name election here. It was quite a pity for her, really.
This blog is awesome, great laughs here!
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
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”.
Not quite. Spanish women keep their own surnames (yes plural) after they marry.
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
My friend is named Sjoerd and when people ask how to pronounce he always says: its between shirt and short! 🙂
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… 🙂
Not really necessary, IMHO. Sj- tallies with English Sh-. So Dutch Sjoerd could be made comprehensible to Anglo-Saxon tongues by spelling it out as ‘Shoortd/t’. And incidentally: I think Sjoerd is closer to English ‘George’ than to ‘Stuart’
I head recently on the radio an interview with the young Dutch lady by name Babushka!!! (in Russian it means “grandmother”)
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.
Baantjer is actually a dutch program, derived from the dutch books about Baantjer.
(Appie) Baantjer is the writer of the books…not the person the books are about 🙂
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 🙂
Baantjers name is Jurre de Cock and his assistant is Dick Vledder actually 🙂
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.
Lol.. we used to have a butcher called ‘Worst’ (Sausage) by his surname, and a bakery called ‘Bakker’ (Baker). Not kidding.
Interesting blog btw. 😉
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.
In London, where I live, there’s a place called Ruislip. It’s pronounced something like Roo-is-lip.
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!
yes…some of those names really are funny…but at least they’re prounouncable unlike those flemmish names ~
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…………………..my 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 ) 🙂
I love this blog… am laughing out loud. Wish I kept a blog like this when I moved to the US as an exhange student in ’93 🙂
But to complement your list of funny Dutch names, have you check this out?
I have an aunt whose pre married name was Suikerbuik, sugarbellie.
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!
Alien is also a very normal dutch name, translated into english as Aileen
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?
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……
Haha! I was a sent a link to this article by my Dutch friend and colleague, Freek Dix. That’s right. Freek. Dix.
How cool is that my last name is Freek an iv never heard any one called it b4
what about the company called ‘Beenhakker’ (leg chopper) that sells wheelchairs.. not kidding:
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.
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 🙂
Here in South Africa we have undertakers called “Human and Pitt Funeral Services”. http://www.cylex.co.za/company/human-and-pitt-funeral-services–pty–ltd-15477125.html
Is Judith already mentioned? YOU DID! hahah 😀
Don’t forget the great name Dick Wijfje, which means “fat little women”..
And it’s a boys name 🙂
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.
there was a girl in my year who was called Floor which i found a strange name even though i am dutch
Did you know that Floor is a girl’s AS WELL AS a boy’s name?
No one mention Fanny?
obviously Dick Jol and Cock Jol are funny. Too bad Martin Jol isn’t called Willy.
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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.
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 🙂
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?
Don’t get the point. What’s your mother tongue?
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.
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 🙂
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.
That is the best!!!!
That’s my porn name.
I got in touch with a guy called “Arse” today. Not kidding. Seriously
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.
laughed so much i cried when i heard the name WUF ….. i mean really!!!!!???????
Nothing beats the German family name Assmann
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.
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 🙂
Yep… My last name is Mulder, like the guy from the X files…. people most of the time don’t believe me…
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.
Should have read Smies
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…
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 😀 = Danmark
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.
Try to pronounce Rutger the Dutch way, it’s impossible if you’re not Dutch. 🙁
Dutch actor Rutger Hauer got pretty far in Hollywood nonetheless….
@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.
That would probably be the Frisian name Hajo.In old handwriting it can be hard to tell the difference. 😉
@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!)
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 🙂
Living in a lovely place in Holland with the name “Bathmen” raises an eyebrow occasionaly
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
No. Not really.
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.
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;) )
There is a guy named Dick Wijfje. Dick (dik) in Dutch means fat. Wijfje: little lady.
My friends call me ‘Lies’, by the way.
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.
Even we Dutchies laugh at some names.. like Tiny Kox
(and what about my name: Wouter. Apparently very hard to pronounce. And I won’t even start about my last name 😉 )
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 🙂
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.
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.
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 🙂
You may not know, but one Johan Braakensiek was the illustrator of the classic Dutch children book series around mischievous village boy Dik Trom and his friends. It’s set in rural Holland of around the turn of the century (19th to 20th, I mean) and follows his life and adventures from birth to adulthood. And of his son to boot.
As to whether this has ever been translated in English I’m not sure. Several books from the series have been turned into feature films though.
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.
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 🙂
Try “Kruishaar” for a surname (meaning Crotch-hair)
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!
Just be glad your last name isn’t Mann…
There was a secretary of state in the Netherlands by the name of ANITA HARDON. I shit you not.
I came across a name called ‘Nimmermeer’ that is ancient Dutch for ‘ Never Again’
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).
I heard of a Fanny Donkersloot (Fanny Dark trench)
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.
The surname Schiettekatte reminds me of a similar one in Ferdinand Bordewijk’s novel ‘Bint’. It is about a secondary school with a borstal-like regime. If I’m not mistaken, the very same appears, briefly, amongst a lot of other richly peculiar monikers in a scene revolving around the daily roll call. Another one I seem to remember is ‘Klotterbo(o)ke’. And the story goes that Bordewijk went through his local telephone directory systematically to find names like these.
He may be better known as the author of Karakter (Character), which was made into a very successful (internationally also) Dutch feature film.
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..
This is a goody – a Dutch politican called “Tiny Kox”….apparently the “Tiny” part is pronounced “Tinny” in english….http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiny_Kox
Tiny is pronounced as Teenie, but with a short ee
Teeny Kox doesn’t sound any better than Tiny Kox. As a matter of fact it sounds worse. Much much worse.
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
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…
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.
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.
My family just took an Anglo-Saxon name and stuck van in front of it? Still confused over that
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’
I knew someone who was called Dick de Kock.
I know a guy named Dick Schaap (Fat Sheep), his parents must have been drunk or something..
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!
Vroegindeweij means: early in the meadow. A man in my chess club has the same name. They come from the island Goeree-Overflakkee
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…
Yes he is famous: see http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hein_Fentener_van_Vlissingen
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.
still is, good for 9.2 billion euro’s..
What about the American name “Kip” (= Dutch for “Chicken”)
And American people also mispronounce my last name “Tettero” into “Death Row” :/
Or the name “Dom” (= Dutch for “Dumb”)
wijsneus in english means wisenose smart alec
It’s ‘wise-acre, actually. ‘Smart-arse’ is also current, I believe.
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.
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?
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.
Besides, the post is not about translating your name, but about sound and pronounciation.
Well, we have the so called shame names every year on the radio.
Those are names that even in Dutch are pretty silly.
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…)
Piet Saman (Pizza Man)
Klaartje Komen (getting off)
Just a bunch of real people with real names 🙂
How about famous dutch scientist Dick Swaab?
I live close to Kuttekoven and Tongeren
always in close proximity of eachother
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)
What about Nooitgedacht (never thought).
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”
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 🙂
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!
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?
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.
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.
Well, if you feel so strongly about that, you should tell your president to change his name too.
Wait, weren’t you a ‘kringel’ at C.S.R. Delft in 2008?
Try my name: I have a lot of laughs with it when visiting english countries :
Martijn Regenbogen 😛
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…
Dutch journalist Wierd Duk (https://twitter.com/wierdduk) is a favourite.
Wiet Pot, a Dutch investment banker (http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kempen_%26_Co), tops my list. Not just the general weirdness -even in dutch- of that name, but he’s also confirming all clichés about lowlanders being knee-deep in cannabis….
How about the last name kok or the first name dick.
Dont know where you get your info from but most surnames do not actually exist (anymore), you can check the names on http://www.meertens.knaw.nl/nfb/ 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??
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.
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.
When former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers was in power, the UK satire magazine “Private Eye” made a clever spoonerism of his name: Lewd Rubbers!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
one of my family’s names is “Doodeheefver”, which translates to “dead heaver”. how lovely 😉
Really funny even for a dutch person. But what do You tink off te name cock. I don’t need to explain that one
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!
My aunts name was Suikerbuick before she married.
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.
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.
Sinasappel is a pineapple not an orange. Lemoen is orange as citroen is a lemon
thanks for the info but sadly it doesn’t answer the question. 🙂
It answers your question perfectly. The princedom of Orange has nothing to do with oranges.
My partners’ sister just moved to the US totally unaware that you just cannot go by the name of ‘Kokkie Schnetz’ there.
I thought Fokker would be known in English speaking countries as the WW.I plane manufacturer (of the Red Baron fame).
How about a dentist….and his last name is De Martelaar..translated, The Torturer
A “martelaar” is not a torturer, but a victim of torture.
It can go both ways with that “de” in front… the guy who has been tortured or the guy doing the torturing… or at least, that is what I understand from my South African Afrikaans point of view.
Well, my last name is Vrolijk, which easily translates to ‘happy’. Fortunately, it reflects my character.
What about names of places? My mom’s hometown was Doenkerbroek (dark pants)
A Serious Question –
Was the Niemantsverdriet anything to do with illegitimacy by any chance?
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.
Niemand = nobody. Verdriet = sorrow. So you are nobody’s sorrow when your name is Niemandsverdriet. Old fashiond spelling for niemand is niemant
Funny think is one of my sons middel names is Sikko. Wich is a normal name for the province of Groningen 🙂
I’m dutch and i love this website!
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.
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!
When my neighbour Gé introduced himself to my english speaking girlfriend he reached his hand and said: Hi I am Gay
I kinda expected my last name to be somewhere in there… (Wenker) Especially my uncle whose name was Dick…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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…..so if you use names, make sure they are really Dutch in such a blog 🙂
Reblogged this on Hope – Rise & Shine and commented:
Oh, this did make me chuckle!
My favourite Dutch name: http://www.multiplechoice.com.br/professores.htm
She’s living in Brasil where nobody finds the name amusing. Maybe that’s why.
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.
My fathe’s first names are Dick Tjerk. You can imagine that went down well with my English in-laws…
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.
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”.
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)
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.
Napoleon made them take surnames, so the Belgians and Dutch retaliated with the silliness names they would think up 😉
I like the Floor Covers
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
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.
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!
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.
May I add that I (still am luckily) married in a nice little village called Monster…
Broekzak is my favorite Dutch last name. (It means Pants Pocket!)
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 .
How about slettenhaar? (slut hair)
Is it already mentioned that Dutch people call their little baby ‘poepie’ or ‘scheetje’?
And you call youre kids hope, well when you say that in dutch you actualy say hoop that means : shit
Is there anyone know what ” kusters” meaning in english? Is it common dutch surname? Just want to know. Thanks
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….!
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.
I can tell you that in Afrikaans the custodian of a church is called a “koster” it is also a common surname in my country. The change probably came in because few people could spell lol
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”……
What abput Beenhakker for a footballer?
im missing dick kok over here….. (translation well…. ummmmm)
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.
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?”
how about Haarlem (Harlem) as for the sandy ridge in the landscape!
I knew a kid named
Nie kakker man.
My mother told her cousin not to call her niece An Tjoens.
Which would have sounded like andjoens (onions) in flemish.
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)
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:
Theresa Green or Brown
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
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)
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!
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.
I have yet to find someone in the UK that can pronounce my last name properly – Friebel.
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)
I have an Oom Fok in Holland which in English language sounds like a profanity.
My name is Reinou, and no body changed it to an English version when we came to Canada.
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.
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
A lot of Flemish surnames are surviving even in the UK of today, probably from a period that Flemish cloth and lace merchants still had a strong presence here. One I distinctly recall is De Caesstecker (or Decaesstecker – not quite sure of the spelling, though): of a very British footballer, I think, who, to the best of my knowledge doesn’t speak a single word of Dutch!
My parents neighbors were called Dick en Joke…for real!! 😉
Nice article, but I’ve never heard of the last name “Niemands” or any related names you mention.
What do you think about Sybille Uittenbroek? (I know her!!)
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
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)
Joost and Joop unpronounceable? Not at all. Just say “yoap” and “yoast”. They rhyme with “soap” and “toast”.
Of course you know that your Bill is our bottom?
I am blessed with a not so dutch ( but in fact allready english soinding) name.
Napoleon Bonaparte made us make these names up…
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
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).
Merry, if you had read through earlier posts you would know that in Dutch, Broek also means marsh or low-lying land, so van den Broek is actually the equivalent of the English name Marsh!
Nobody here in Australia can pronounce: Josée !
The english language came from dutch
Correction: it was FRIESIAN, amongst others, that had a massive influence on English as we know it today. Friesian also has links to Gaelic, if I’m not mistaken. And if Boy had done some proper research, he/she might have discovered that English belongs to the Germanic language group, in essence (i.e. closely related to German, Dutch and Swedish), but isn’t recognisable as such any longer (at first glance, anyway) due to some radical and historically still unexplained lingual seismic shift, at one point.
Try this one, van der Heijden
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.
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)
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…
I know multiple guys named “Dick”
How about Joris, my English partner always calles him “your ass”
I think every language has its own weird surnames 🙂 Cockett, Large, Shufflebottom,Dungworth from English.. more here http://www.guy-sports.com/months/jokes I wonder who on earth decided Richard should be shortened to Dick? 🙂
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
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).
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?
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”.
I remember a colleague of mine in Den Haag called Cock Slinger. 🙂
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
I know somebody with their last name to be ‘Nooitgedagt’ which translates into ‘Never thought’
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???
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.”
Can’t tell you what it means, but I think it may derive from the eastern province of Overijssel. Or else, perhaps from Drente or Groningen (in the north)
Theories of the name, van Kuykendaal:
1. Adopted in the 1680s, about 40 years after landing at Manhattan, in place of patronymics;
2. Family came to New Netherlands from waegingen/groningen by way of Amsterdam;
3. Name derived from a German name as they had settled in the lowlands possibly after coming as mercenaries to fight for the Dutch republic against the Spanish.
Translations vary from “chicken valley” to “view of the valley.”
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 🙂
In the Netherlands somebody who cooks, not necessarily professionally, is called “(de) kok”. The pronunciation of the surname Kok in Dutch and the word cock in US English is so different. I think that grandpa pronounced it well, but to US ears it might have sounded like “coke”. It all has to do with the right pronunciation of the “o” in Dutch and US English and that’s not easy!
Does anyone know if, “Frankenshatz” is a Dutch name? I ran across it on a Coke bottle while in Germany, as in “Have a Coke with Frankenshatz.” Thanks.
My personal favorite is Dick van der Prick 😀 Shared a class with him.
My uncle is called Tits, a very common first name in the South of Limburg before we all learned English. He writes international reports with his collegue, Dick. They always have to tell people to ‘check their spamfolders’ for lost emails.
My name “Bosman” was a big succes in the UK 😉 In Dutch i’m not the Boss, just a man from the Forrest 😮
If you want your truck painted in a hurry, try Ferry Quik (it’s his real name apparently). And how many people would entrust their office cleaning to a company called Robbers?
Did you know that the name (new york) Yankees actually was used to name the Dutch colonists in the city of New Amsterdam (now New York) in the colony New Netherlands. The British colonists refered to them as the Jan and the Kees people, because many of them were named Jan or Kees, the Jan and Kees, the Jankees (yankees)
Be lucky your name is not Dick Kok!
There is a village called Enter and a small neighbourhood called Rectum real close to it. A direction sign near those places sais “Enter Rectum”. I think that is quite funny…
And what about one of our euro parliamentarians Tiny Kok from the socialist party haha.
The daughter of an acquintance is called Shadee Sluyter. The first time I read her name I almost died laughing. The fun part is that she doesnt get it at all. In English it’s announced as Shady Slutter. + that interview on the news a while back: Mike Litoris. Wet my pants, lol
In Belgium they rejected the firstname Bloem (flower) for a girl. Bloem is a common name, so why? Her last name is Pot…
“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…”
Nonsense! Jaap may be a bit tricky for anglophones, but that is not due to the “J”. The “J” sounds exactly like your “Y”. Jarno sound slike Yarno, Joost sounds like Youst (rhymes with toast), Joop is Yope (like dope or slope).
I’ve always wondered about the surname Koekemoer? it is extremely funny here in South Africa. Koek is a euphemism for female genitalia or cake, and “moer” is to beat very hard, or it can also mean mother, like “perlemoen” (type of sea mollusc) was once “perlemoer” which means mother of pearl.
What in the world could a Koek be besides the two meanings I stated? Did the spelling change through the ages?
We were fine with our name till we moved to NZ and then my brother, Ferry van As, found that his name became a bit of a joke. I had to call him Terry when we were around others.
You can imagine the atmosphere when Mr ‘Leeflang‘ (Livelong) met Mr ‘Doodkort’ (short death).
My name is Harm but I don’t mean any!
A common Afrikaner surname is Koekemoer (cake beater)!
My niece her name is Lies. Its a short name for elizabeth i believe. The ie sounds like the y of pony.
It must look very weird if you read it when you are english.
That’s my mothers name and the staff at the nursing home she is in pronounce her name “lees”. The double ee is pronounced also like the y in pony.
There are many funny last names like “Naaktgeboren”( born naked) “Poepjes” (shits) “Komtebedde ( come to bed) Borst ( chest or breast) , Neukermans ( fuckerman) and so on.
My husband’s last name is Bom (=bomb), and when he was a student he took a temporary job at a prison in Amsterdam. On his first day, he buzzed at the gate to be let in… “Who’s there?” “Bom.” “What?” “BOM!” — what happened then, I leave it to your imagination…
My first name is Rudolf which in English speaking countries is usually shortened to Rudy. In Holland the usual abbreviation is Ruud, but unfortunately the ‘d’ ending for some reason takes on a short ‘t’ sound in Dutch. So to English speakers it sounds like “Root”, which may not be a problem in America or England, but has a decidedly different meaning in Australian vernacular!!
Hehe, I miss ‘Dick’ and ‘Willy’ in your list… Then again, English has some strange ones as well… My favorite is my former colleague mr. Cashdollar….
My last name is Fun. Originates from Holland. But I do not know much more than that. I live in the US so you can imagine how Fun it is to have this last name
I’m from South Africa and lots of our words are form Dutch but, mixed with English – Afrikaans, that is. We always enjoy Dutch people talking about “poes” when referring to cats, but in our language it is a swear word that got my mouth washed out when I was 10! You can guess as it is a common English word too to refer to female parts lol
A “poespas” is a mix up, but what a cat has to do what whatever a pas is I can’t figure out.
I knew a girl in school who’s surname was Slippers lol I guess somewhere there was a shoemaker in the family tree who specialised in the making of slippers. We also have Haasbroek (rabbit pants) which sound funny, but rabbit fur is quite soft and I would guess luxurious. Papenfus is also funny, though I have no idea where it could’ve come from.
We have lots of Kok’s but we know it refers to a cook not any body part. De Kok, De Koker etc etc. As for the swearword surnames, remember that people use euphemisms to speak of things so it is possible to call a ball a kloot. This is what makes a language grow! words get new meanings and the old meanings gets lost in the mists of time.
Hey, I’m dutch… and my name is Marieke
But every time I watch a live stream and I comment something and the streamer wants to respond to that he or she pronounces my name wrong, but I know people with names like: Ghizlan, Majdouline, Pooja, Nurgul, and I can go on….
So what name is worse?
And al, the names anove here come from Friesland, with has its own language