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100 Famous Dutch Surnames

Updated
Going Dutch can be tons of fun with these cool Dutch last names for you to uncover here.

Dutch last names are everywhere – from the city of Amsterdam to surrounding Holland and the country called The Netherlands. They’re also prevalent in the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium called Flanders and in American locales like New York City and Pennsylvania.

Dutch surnames are both unique and yet tied to a generational tradition that shows up again and again. Our comprehensive list of Dutch family names is here to help you discover all there is to know. From meaning and origin to popularity and famous namesakes, you’ll be an expert on all things Dutch in no time.


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100 Popular Dutch Surnames

Read on to discover fascinating stories of Dutch last names and how they came to be.

Aakster

Aakster is one of the most obscure Netherlands’ last names. It’s based on the Old Dutch “ekster,” meaning “magpie.” In the Netherlands, magpies are also called “Eurasian magpies.” They’re considered one of the smartest members of the crow family.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Magpie
  • Pronunciation: AHK-ster
  • Variations: Akster
  • Popularity: Aakster is extremely rare worldwide and only occurred 31 times in 2014, mostly in the Netherlands.
Cute, Rare

Abspoel

Abspoel comes from the Dutch Abtspoel. It was the name of an estate in the South of Holland. There’s a place called “Abbot’s pool” in Somerset, England, that attracts visitors because of its natural beauty.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Abbot’s pool
  • Pronunciation: ABS-Pohl
  • Popularity: Abspoel is extremely rare worldwide and mainly used in the Netherlands.
Rare, Unusual

Adrichem

Adrichem is the name of a Dutch castle and estate from the 19th-century. It was located in North Holland but was demolished in 1812.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Adrik’s home
  • Pronunciation: AH-drih-CHEM
  • Popularity: Adrichem is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands.
Rare, Geographical

Anholts

Anholts was a name given to people from Anholt in The Netherlands. It also means “hold” and refers to places where people “halt” or stay for the night. Anholt is a Danish island and town in Germany.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Rest
  • Pronunciation: AHN-Holtz
  • Variations: Anholt
  • Popularity: Anholts is extremely rare worldwide and occurred 137 times in 2014, mostly in the Netherlands.
Rare, Geographical

Anker

Anker comes from the Middle Dutch “anker,” meaning “anchor.” It was used to name a smith who worked on the ship’s anchors. Anker also referred to sailors.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Anchor
  • Pronunciation: ANKH-er
  • Variations: Anchor
  • Namesakes: Ed Anker, a Dutch House of Representatives member from 2007 to 2010. Albrecht Anker, a Swiss illustrator, called the “national painter” of Switzerland.
  • Popularity: Anker is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 766th in Denmark in 2014.
Occupational, Uncommon

Baas

Baas also means “master” and “well-respected person.” It may be based on the first name Baso, a short form of the Dutch Sebastiaan. It became Dutch-American slang for “boss.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Overseer
  • Pronunciation: BAHS
  • Namesakes: Heinrich Baas, a German footballer for Duisburger SV. Ian Baas, an American race car driver who won the 2006 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.
  • Popularity: Baas is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands, ranking 172nd in 2014.
Unique, Nicknames

Bakker

Bakker is an occupational name for a baker. It comes from the German “beck,” meaning “bakerr.” Bakker is one of many Dutch family names on our list that describes a job title.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Baker
  • Pronunciation: BAHK-er
  • Variations: Baker, Bakkar
  • Namesakes: James Bakker, an American televangelist and host of The PTL Club. Jarich Bakker, a Dutch track cyclist who competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Bakker is rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands, where it ranked 7th in 2007.
Traditional, Occupational

Beek

Beek is a surname given to a person who lived near a stream or creek. It also refers to various Dutch place names called Beek. Beek derives from the Old Dutch “beke,” meaning “brook,” and was first used in the 12th-century.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Stream
  • Pronunciation: BEHK
  • Variations: van der Beek, van Beek, Vanderbeek
  • Namesakes: Anna van Westerstee Beek, a Dutch publisher of maps in the U.S. Library of Congress. Joseph Beek, the longest-serving Secretary of the Senate in California history, from 1919 to 1968.
  • Popularity: Beek is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Netherlands, ranking 455th in 2014.
Geographical, Old

Boelen

Boelen is a patronymic name meaning “son of Boele.” It’s associated with a German first name using the root “bald,” meaning “bold.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Bold
  • Pronunciation: BOH-laan
  • Variations: Boleyn
  • Namesakes: Femke Boelen, a Dutch rower who competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Henricus Boelen II, an American silversmith with pieces on display in the Brooklyn Museum.
  • Popularity: Boelen is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands, where it ranked 1,821st in 2014.
Patronymic, Uncommon

Borst

Borst is a Dutch nickname for a “fellow companion,” especially a juvenile. It comes from the Middle Dutch “borst,” given to a person with “bristly hair” on their chest. In German, Borst was a nickname for someone with a “prickly temperament.”

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Chest
  • Pronunciation: BORSCHT
  • Variations: de Borst
  • Namesakes: Everina Borst, a Belgian radio personality who hosted children’s broadcasts. Els Borst, the Deputy Prime Minister from 1998 to 2001.
  • Popularity: Borst is rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 330th in the Netherlands in 2014.
Nicknames, Occupational
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Bos

Bos means “dweller in or near the woods.” It’s also associated with the personal name Bos, a nickname for Boshard. Bos can be a nickname for a male with a “quarrelsome” nature.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Woods, forest
  • Pronunciation: BOHS
  • Variations: van den Bos, Boos
  • Namesakes: Jan-Just Bos, a Dutch rower who competed in the 1964 Summer Olympics. Roel Bos (known as Glenn Saxson), a Dutch actor appearing in the superhero film Kriminal.
  • Popularity: Bos is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Netherlands, ranking 13th in 2014.
Geographical, Unique

Brouwer

Brouwer comes from the Middle Dutch “brouwere,” meaning “brewer.” It referred to a person “who brewed ale” and can also be found in Germany.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Brewer
  • Pronunciation: BROW-ehr
  • Variations: Brouwers, de Brouwer
  • Namesakes: Ronald Brouwer, a Dutch field hockey and silver medalist at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Sigmund Brouwer, a Canadian children’s book author who won the Arthur Ellis Award in 2015.
  • Popularity: Brouwer is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands, where it ranked 20th in 2014.
Occupational, Traditional

Casparij

Casparij is a Dutch patronymic name based on Caspar or Kaspar. It was originally the Latin Caspar(us) and was a name given to a treasurer.

  • Origin: Dutch, Danish
  • Meaning: Treasurer
  • Pronunciation: KAAS-paah-Rey
  • Popularity: Casparij is extremely rare worldwide and only occurred 52 times in 2014, mostly in Denmark.
Occupational, Rare

Claasen

Classen arose from a short form of Clas, taken from Nicholas. It was first used in the German province of Westphalia but is ranked highest in Namibia today.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Son of Clas
  • Pronunciation: KLAUSS-ehn
  • Variations: Claassen, Classen, Clasen
  • Namesakes: Erin Classen, an Australian squash player and winner of the 2022 Golden Open. Edmond Classen, a Dutch actor, appearing in the film Come-Back! (1981).
  • Popularity: Claasen is rare worldwide, mainly used in South Africa, and ranked 358th in Namibia in 2014.
Strong, Patronymic

Colijn

Colijn comes from a diminutive of Nicolaas. Though it’s slightly common in the Netherlands, it’s not found as much anywhere else.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Victory of the people
  • Pronunciation: KOW-lehn
  • Namesakes: Hendrik Colijn, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1925 until 1926 and 1933 until 1939.
  • Popularity: Colijn is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands, ranking 1,597th in 2014.
Rare, Patronymic

de Boer

De Boer also means “one who tilled the soil” and “one who rose from the peasant class.” It’s also connected to the German “bur,” meaning “small dwelling,” and also refers to a “neighbor.”

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: The farmer
  • Pronunciation: Deh-BOHR
  • Variations: den Boer, DeBoer, DeBeor
  • Namesakes: Jan de Boer, a Dutch gymnast who competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics. Erik-Jan de Boer, a Dutch animation director who won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects for Life of Pi.
  • Popularity: De Boer is rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands, where it ranked 9th in 2014.
Occupational, Old

de Clerc

De Clerc is a nickname for a “clerk” or “scribe” and derives from the Middle Dutch “clerc.” De Clerc is especially popular in the area of Flanders.

  • Origin: Dutch, Flemish
  • Meaning: The clerk
  • Pronunciation: Deh-KLERK
  • Variations: De Clerck, De Clercq, Clerc
  • Popularity: De Clerc is extremely rare worldwide and mainly used in Belgium.
Occupational, Rare

de Groot

De Groot is based on the Middle Dutch “grote,” meaning “large.” It was also given to a person from Groot in Holland. De Groot is one of the most famous Holland last names in the province of North Holland.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: The big (man)
  • Pronunciation: Deh-Grohte
  • Variations: Groot
  • Namesakes: Diede de Groot, a Dutch wheelchair tennis player currently ranked No. 1 worldwide. Boudewijn de Groot, a Dutch singer-songwriter known for the song “Welterusten Meneer de President” (1966).
  • Popularity: De Groot is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands, ranking 10th in 2014.
Geographical, Nicknames

de Jong

De Jong is made up of the Dutch “de,” meaning “the,” and “jong,” meaning “younger.” It also appears as the Anglo Young or De Young. De Jong was used to distinguish between two bearers of the same name.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: The young(er)
  • Pronunciation: Deh-YUNG
  • Variations: DeJong
  • Namesakes: Sjoerd De Jong, a Dutch-Belgian video game developer for Epic Games. Piet de Jong, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1967 to 1971.
  • Popularity: De Jong is rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands, ranked #1 in 2017.
Nicknames, Patronymic

de Keizer

De Keizer was originally the Dutch title for the “emperor.” Its equivalents are the German Kaiser, Russian Tzar, and Roman Caesar.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: The emperor
  • Pronunciation: Deh-KAEY-zer
  • Variations: de Keijser, de Keijzer, Dekeijser
  • Popularity: De Keizer is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the Netherlands.
Uncommon, Strong
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Dekker

Dekker is an occupational name for a “roofer,” also called a “thatcher” or “shingler.” It’s made up of the Middle Dutch “decken,” meaning “to cover.” Dekker appears as the German Dekker or English Thatcher.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Thatcher
  • Pronunciation: DEKH-er
  • Variations: Decker
  • Namesakes: Daniël Dekker (born Henk Bakhuizen), a Dutch commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest between 2010 and 2013. Inge Dekker, a Dutch swimmer and bronze medalist at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Dekker is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands, ranking 18th in 2014.
Occupational, Traditional

de Voss

De Voss is also a German nickname for a clever person or redhead. It’s based on the German “vōs,” meaning “fox.” De Voss also appears in France as De Vaux appears in Essex, England.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: The fox
  • Pronunciation: Deh-VOHS
  • Variations: De Vos
  • Popularity: De Voss is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands.
Uncommon, Nicknames

de Vries

De Vries refers to a person living in Vriesland, an alternate spelling of the Dutch province of Friesland. The one-word surname Devries is most common in the U.S.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: The Frisian
  • Pronunciation: De-FRIES
  • Variations: DeVries, deVries, Devries
  • Namesakes: Barend de Vries, a Dutch Chief Economist at the World Bank. Peter de Vries, a Dutch investigative journalist and TV host of Peter R. de Vries, misdaadverslaggever (1995 to 2012).
  • Popularity: De Vries is rare worldwide and mostly found in the Netherlands, ranking 3rd in 2014.
Geographical, Traditional

de Witt

De Witt is composed of the Middle Dutch “witte,” meaning “white,” and “de,” meaning “the.” It was also used for a female with a very pale complexion. It appears as Dewitt in the U.S. since Dutch last names were often shortened to one word.

  • Origin: Dutch, Flemish
  • Meaning: The white
  • Pronunciation: Deh-VITT
  • Variations: De Witt, De Witte, DeWitt
  • Namesakes: Elmo De Witt, a South African filmmaker who directed Debbie (1965). Jacob De Witt, a Canadian businessman and one of the founders of La Banque du Peuple at Montreal.
  • Popularity: De Witt is rare worldwide and mainly used in South Africa, where it’s slightly uncommon.
Nicknames, Uncommon

Drukker

Drukker also means “one who pressed cloth.” It’s a derivative of the German and Dutch “drucken,” meaning “to print.” Drukker more commonly appears in the U.S. as Drucker and as the Jewish Drücker.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Printer
  • Pronunciation: DROO-Ker
  • Variations: Drucker
  • Popularity: Drukker is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands.
Rare, Occupational

Eikenboom

Eikenboom is composed of the Dutch “eik,” meaning “oak” and “boom,” meaning “tree.” The meanings can vary, but “boom” is often used in Dutch surnames that mean “tree.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Oaktree
  • Pronunciation: EY-ken-BOOM
  • Variations: Eykenboom
  • Popularity: Eikenboom is extremely rare worldwide, with only 125 occurrences in 2014, mainly in the Netherlands.
Rare, Old

Franck

Franck also means “one who came from Franconia,” a place in central Germany. It’s a patronymic surname meaning “descendant of Frank” and refers to the Germanic tribe called the Franks.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Free man
  • Pronunciation: FRHANK
  • Variations: Frank, Franke, Franc
  • Namesakes: Alfons Franck, a Belgian chess player and Belgian Championships winner (1958). Julia Franck, a German writer and winner of the 1995 Open Mike prize of the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin.
  • Popularity: Franck is rare worldwide and primarily used in Burundi, ranking 317th in 2014.
Nicknames, Geographical

Funck

Funck derives from the Middle German “funke,” meaning “spark.” It could also be a nickname for a “sparkling” or “animated” person. Funck was once the name of a German noble family.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Blacksmith
  • Pronunciation: FOONK
  • Variations: Funke, Funcke
  • Namesakes: Eva Funck, a Swedish TV host of the series Evas funkarprogram. Frederik Funck, a Danish cellist and member of the Royal Danish Orchestra.
  • Popularity: Funck is very rare worldwide, mostly used in Germany, and ranked 445th in Luxembourg in 2014.
Occupational, Nicknames

Gekkenhuis

Gekkenhuis is a very obscure Dutch name with no popularity stats. Its meaning refers to a madhouse and is one of the more humorous Netherlands’ last names.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Insane asylum
  • Pronunciation: GEH-ken-Huus
Rare, Unusual

Gerbrandy

Gerbrandy was a west Frisian name for someone living “in or near the Gerbrandy Tower.” It was found in the northern part of the Netherlands and northwestern Germany, where many Frisians lived.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Of Gerbrandy Tower
  • Pronunciation: Gehr-BRAAN-dey
  • Namesakes: Pieter Gerbrandy, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1940 until 1945. Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, a member of the European Parliament from 2009 until 2019.
  • Popularity: Gerbrandy is extremely rare worldwide, with only 167 occurrences in 2014, mainly in the Netherlands.
Geographical, Patronymic
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Groff

De Groff comes from the Middle Dutch “grof,” meaning “crude,” “coarse,” and “beefy.” It can also appear as the often Swiss or German Graf or Graff.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Coarse, boorish man
  • Pronunciation: GROF
  • Variations: de Groff
  • Namesakes: Lauren Groff, an American novelist who wrote Fates and Furies (2015). Peter C. Groff, the President of the Colorado Senate.
  • Popularity: Groff is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 357th in Luxembourg in 2014.
Nicknames, Unusual

Haak

Haak may be associated with a “fish hook.” It referred to a fisherman or someone with a “hook” shaped deformity. Haak also means “food seller” and may find a link to “hawking” goods.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Hook
  • Pronunciation: HAHK
  • Variations: Haack
  • Namesakes: Guus Haak, a Dutch footballer for the Netherlands national football team. Bob Haak, a Dutch art expert who helped found the Rembrandt Research Project.
  • Popularity: Haak is rare worldwide, mostly used in Germany, and ranked 701st in the Netherlands in 2014.
Occupational, Nicknames

Hagen

Hagen is based on the Dutch “haghe,” meaning “hedge.” As a boy’s name of Irish and German origin, Hagen means “youthful one.” It also refers to a “dweller at or near the thorn fence” and a “descendant of Hagano,” meaning “forest man.”

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Enclosure
  • Pronunciation: HAA-gen
  • Variations: Hagens
  • Namesakes: Uta Hagen, a Dutch actress and writer of the book Respect for Acting. Alexander Hagen, a German sailor and winner of the world championship in the Star Class in 1981 and 1997.
  • Popularity: Hagen is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 16th in Norway in 2014.
Traditional, Geographical

Hendriks

Hendricks is based on the first name Hendrick, taken from the German Heinrich, meaning “home rule.” It’s typically found most on the Dutch-German border.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Son of Hendrik
  • Pronunciation: HEHN-drik
  • Variations: Hendrik, Hendrick, Hendricks
  • Namesakes: Jerry Hendriks, a Dutch darts player competing in Professional Darts Corporation events. Jake Hendriks, an English actor known for the soap opera Hollyoaks.
  • Popularity: Hendriks is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands, where it ranked 17th in 2014.
Patronymic, Traditional

Hoedemaker

Hoedemaker is a Dutch surname made up of “hoed,” meaning “hat” and “maker.” Most Hoedemakers in the U.S. occurred in 1880 and totaled four families in Michigan.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Hatmaker
  • Pronunciation: HO-deh-MAHK-er
  • Variations: Hoedemaeker, Hoedemaekers
  • Popularity: Hoedemaker is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands.
Occupational, Uncommon

Hoekstra

Hoekstra means “dweller at the corner place” or “near a hook of land.” Hoekstra also means “from the river bend.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: From the corner
  • Pronunciation: HOWK-Strah
  • Namesakes: Pete Hoekstra, the U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands from 2018 to 2021. Driekes Hoekstra, a Dutch folk singer and winner of the Dutch talent show Bloed, Zweet en Tranen in 2015.
  • Popularity: Hoekstra is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Netherlands, ranking 137th in 2014.
Geographical, Unique

Holst

Holst also referred to a “dweller in a forest” or someone from Holstein. The Dutch van Holst is rooted in “hulst,” meaning “holly.”

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Forest
  • Pronunciation: HOWLST
  • Variations: Holste, van Holst
  • Namesakes: Hanne-Vibeke Holst, a Danish author and journalist for the newspaper Berlingske Tidende. Alison Holst, a New Zealand food writer and TV chef with over four-and-a-half cookbooks sold.
  • Popularity: Holst is rare worldwide, primarily used in Germany, and ranked 76th in Denmark in 2014.
Traditional, Geographical

Hummel

Hummel is composed of the Middle Dutch “hommel,” meaning “bee.” It could also be a nickname for Humbert or Humbold. In German, Hummel is a nickname for an “excited” person or someone from Hummel in Germany.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Bumblebee
  • Pronunciation: HUH-mel
  • Namesakes: Maria Hummel, a German Franciscan nun whose paintings inspired Hummel figurines. Jeremy Hummel, an American drummer for the rock band Breaking Benjamin.
  • Popularity: Hummel is rare worldwide and mostly used in Germany, ranking 345th in 2014.
Nicknames, Cute

Jaager

Jaager also appears as the German Jäger and Jewish Jäger. It’s a Dutch name for a hunter from the Middle Dutch, “jagher.” When spelled Jääger, it’s an Estonian surname meaning “game warden,” which explains why it’s most popular there.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Hunter
  • Pronunciation: YAH-ger
  • Variations: Jaeger, Jager, De Jager
  • Popularity: Jaager is extremely rare worldwide and mainly used in Estonia.
Unusual, Occupational

Jansen

Jan also means “Johan’s son” and appears as the English Johnson. In Belgium, the form Janssens is the second most common surname.

  • Origin: Dutch, Scandinavian
  • Meaning: Son of Jan
  • Pronunciation: YAHN-sen
  • Variations: Jensen, Janssen
  • Namesakes: Rudolf Jansen, a Dutch pianist and winner of the Edison Award in 1973 and 1987. Joeri Jansen, a Belgian track and field athlete and silver medalist at the 2001 European Athletics U23 Championships.
  • Popularity: Jansen is mildly uncommon worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands, where it ranked 2nd in 2014.
Patronymic, Traditional
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Jonkers

Jonkers comes from the Middle Dutch “jonghheer,” meaning “young nobleman.” Jonkers was used in the Middle Ages for noblemen who weren’t yet knighted.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Young nobleman
  • Pronunciation: YOHN-Ker
  • Variations: Junker
  • Namesakes: Jan Jonkers, a Dutch racing cyclist who competed in the 1980 and 1981 Tour de France. Tim Jonkers, an Irish rugby league footballer for St Helens.
  • Popularity: Jonkers is rare worldwide, mostly used in South Africa, and ranked 300th in the Netherlands in 2014.
Unique, Old

Jorritsma

Jorritsma is a West Frisian name for a “descendent of Jorrit.” In 1920, there was one family named Jorritsma found in Colorado.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Jorrit’s son
  • Pronunciation: YOHR-ihtz-Mah
  • Namesakes: Annemarie Jorritsma, a member of the Senate since 2015. Gerben Jorritsma, a Dutch speed skater who won the ISU Speed Skating World Cup event in 2015.
  • Popularity: Jorritsma is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the Netherlands, where it ranked 1,494th in 2014.
Patronymic, Uncommon

Kappel

Kappel originally referred to someone from Kapelle, Germany. Kappel may be associated with the Austrian “chaepplingaern,” meaning “people living next to a chapel.” This could explain why Kappel is ranked highest in Austria.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Chapel
  • Pronunciation: KAH-pel
  • Variations: Kaeppel, Keppel
  • Namesakes: Frederick Kappel, an American businessman and the chairman of AT&T from 1961 to 1972. Rudi Kappel, a Surinamese pilot and one of the founders of the first airline in Suriname.
  • Popularity: Kappel is rare worldwide, primarily used in Germany, and ranked 714th in Austria in 2014.
Geographical, Unique

Kikkert

Kikkert is one of the most scarce Dutch family names. It derives from the Dutch “kikker,” meaning “frog,” so it becomes offbeat and cool all on its own.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Frog
  • Pronunciation: KEY-kert
  • Namesakes: Elizabeth Kikkert, a member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly since 2016. Jan Kikkert, a Dutch artist and member of the “Ars Aemula Naturae” art society.
  • Popularity: Kikkert is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands, ranking 1,413th in 2014.
Cute, Unusual

Kingma

Kingma is a surname based on the Dutch first name Kinge. It includes the Frisian suffix “-ma,” meaning “men of.” Kingma originally appeared as Kingum.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Descendent of Kinge
  • Pronunciation: KING-mah
  • Variations: Kinguma, Van Kingma
  • Namesakes: Elselijn Kingma, a Dutch philosopher and winner of the Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2020. Michael Kingma, an Australian-Dutch basketball player for the Sydney Kings.
  • Popularity: Kingma is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Netherlands, where it ranked 562nd in 2014.
Patronymic, Unique

Koenig

Koenig is based on the Dutch “koning,” meaning “king.” It appears as the German König. Koenig was a nickname for anyone who worked in a king’s estate, from a gardener to a cook and personal valet.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: King
  • Pronunciation: KAY-nig
  • Variations: de Koenig, de Koennig
  • Namesakes: Walter Koenig, an American actor best known for Star Trek: The Original Series (1967 to 1969). Friedrich Koenig, a German inventor who helped invent the steam-powered printing press.
  • Popularity: Koenig is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 960th in 2014.
Strong, Traditional

Kuiper

Kuiper was a Dutch occupational name for a “cooper.” It comes from the Middle Dutch “cup(e)re” and also means “barrel maker.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Cooper
  • Pronunciation: KAY-Pehr
  • Variations: Kuyper, Kuijper
  • Namesakes: Gerard Kuiper, a Dutch astronomer called the father of modern planetary science. Glen Kuiper, an American broadcaster and announcer on NBC Sports California.
  • Popularity: Kuiper is rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands, ranking 54th in 2014.
Occupational, Traditional

Leeuwenhoek

The first Leeuwenhoek lived “on the corner” of the Lion’s Gate, also called Leeuwenpoort. The alternate version of Van Leeuwen is more common as the American ice cream company.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Lion’s corner
  • Pronunciation: LEEW-vehn-Huuk
  • Variations: Van Leeuwenhoek
  • Namesakes: Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch microbiologist called “the Father of Microbiology.”
  • Popularity: Leeuwenhoek is extremely rare worldwide, with only 99 occurrences in 2014, mainly in the Netherlands.
Strong, Unusual

Linden

Linden is a shorter form of the Dutch Vanderlinden. It’s composed of “lind,” meaning “lime tree.” Linden also refers to a “dweller at a Linden tree.”

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Lime tree
  • Pronunciation: LIHN-duhn
  • Variations: Lynden, van der Linden
  • Namesakes: Mick Linden, a Scottish musician and bassist for the Celtic/Fusion group Bad Haggis. Edward Linden, an American cinematographer for the film King Kong.
  • Popularity: Linden is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 652nd in Finland in 2014.
Geographical, Unique

Loman

Loman is a place name given to someone “living by a wood or brushland.” It’s another version of the German Lohmann and a Gaelic boy’s name meaning “small bare one.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Dweller near a wood
  • Pronunciation: LOH-mahn
  • Variations: Lowman
  • Namesakes: Rudolf Loman, a Dutch chess master and the 1912 Dutch champion. Jamai Loman, a Dutch singer and winner of the first Dutch version of the Pop Idol series.
  • Popularity: Loman is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 1,622nd in the Netherlands in 2014.
Traditional, Geographical
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Martens

Martens is a surname used for a descendant of Marten. Martens is best known for Dr. Klaus Maertens. He was a World War II-era German soldier partly responsible for the prototype of Doc Martens boots.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Son of Martin
  • Pronunciation: MAAR-tens
  • Variations: Marten
  • Namesakes: George Martens, an Australian House of Representatives member from 1928 to 1946. Maarten Martens, a Belgian footballer with the Belgium national team.
  • Popularity: Martens is rare worldwide, mostly used in Germany, and ranked 19th in Belgium in 2014.
Traditional, Patronymic

Meijer

Meijer was an occupational surname given to a Dutch steward. It originated from the Latin “maior,” meaning “the great one.” It’s the Dutch version of the German Meyer.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Bailiff
  • Pronunciation: MAEY-her
  • Variations: Meier, Meyer
  • Namesakes: Connie Meijer, a Dutch cyclist and bronze medalist at the 1987 UCI Road World Championships. Ischa Meijer, a Dutch journalist for Vrij Nederland, a national weekly magazine.
  • Popularity: Meijer is rare worldwide and is mainly used in the Netherlands, ranking 12th in 2014.
Traditional, Occupational

Mesman

Mesman was used for a person who made or sold knives. It’s made up of the Dutch “mes,” meaning “knife.” Mesman can also refer to a “hawker” or “traveling salesman.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Knife salesman
  • Pronunciation: MES-Maan
  • Popularity: Mesman is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands.
Occupational, Uncommon

Mulder

Mulder is based on the Dutch “molenaar,” a name for someone who made wooden bowls. It comes from the Middle German “mulde,” meaning “rough,” and the suffix “-er.”

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Miller
  • Pronunciation: MUHL-der
  • Variations: Mueller, Muller
  • Namesakes: Boyito Mulder, a Dutch figure skater and the four-time Dutch national senior champion. Dennis Mulder, the mayor of Deltona, Florida, from 2005 to 2010.
  • Popularity: Mulder is rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands, where it ranked 11th in 2014.
Occupational, Old

Muyskens

Muyskens is one of the most unheard-of Netherlands’ last names. Other than its meaning “little mouse,” the Muyskens in the U.S. are found in Michigan, Washington, and Minnesota.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Little mouse
  • Pronunciation: MUW-skins
  • Variations: Muysken
  • Popularity: Muyskens is extremely rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Rare, Unusual

Naaktgeboren

Naaktgeboren is extremely obscure among Dutch surnames and is hardly found outside the Netherlands. It may be connected to the 1811 mandatory surnames registration, causing some to choose ridiculous meanings, like “born naked.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Born naked
  • Pronunciation: NAAHT-kaa-BOAR-ehn
  • Popularity: Naaktgeboren is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands.
Unusual, Rare

Nouwen

Nouwen isn’t found all that much in the Netherlands, Pennsylvania, or New York. It’s still uncommon in Belgium, with no meaning to be found. Most Nouwens are located in Western Germanic Europe.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: NOW-Ehn
  • Variations: Nouwèn
  • Namesakes: Henri Nouwen, a Dutch theologian who taught at Harvard Divinity School.
  • Popularity: Nouwen is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands.
Unique, Uncommon

Offermans

Offermans comes from the Dutch “offer,” meaning “offering” or “donation.” It referred to a verger or sexton, who collected donations during a church service.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Donation taker
  • Pronunciation: OFF-ehr-Maan
  • Variations: Offerman
  • Popularity: Offermans is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the Netherlands, ranking 1,908th in 2014.
Occupational, Traditional

Otto

Otto was given to a “descendant of Otto,” which appeared in German as Audo, Odo, or Udo. Germanic names beginning with “aud-” usually connoted “wealth” and “prosperity.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Son of Odo
  • Pronunciation: AUGHT-oh
  • Variations: Oto, Otto
  • Namesakes: Venantia Otto, a Namibian model who won the 2006 Face of Africa competition. John Otto, the American acting director of the FBI in 1987.
  • Popularity: Otto is uncommon worldwide and primarily used in Germany, ranking 78th in 2014 and 1,587th in the U.S. in 2010.
Patronymic, Old

Paardebek

Paardebek may be the top choice for the most hilarious of Dutch last names. It means “horse’s mouth,” with only one person named Paardebek found globally.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Horse’s mouth
  • Pronunciation: PAAR-deh-Bek
  • Variations: Pardabek, Perdebek
  • Popularity: Paardebek is extremely rare worldwide, with only one occurrence in 2014, in the Netherlands.
Unusual, Rare
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Peerenboom

Peerenboom was a name given to someone who had or lived near a pear orchard. It’s rare and mostly found in Europe, where 60% of Peerenbooms live.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Pear tree
  • Pronunciation: PEHR-en-Boom
  • Namesakes: Frederick Peerenboom, an American radio and TV personality appearing in the DC comic book, “The Power Of Shazam!” Heleen Peerenboom, a Dutch water polo player who competed at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Peerenboom is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Unusual, Rare

Peters

Peters is based on the first name Peter, originally the Greek Petros, meaning “rock.” Pieters was perhaps the original Dutch and German version, which became Peters in the U.S.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Son of Peter
  • Pronunciation: PEET-ers
  • Variations: Pieters
  • Namesakes: Evan Peters, an American actor appearing in the Netflix series Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. Arthur Peters, the ninth premier of Prince Edward Island from 1901 to 1908.
  • Popularity: Peters ranked 1,089th worldwide and is mainly used in the U.S., ranking 205th in 2010.
Patronymic, Strong

Prinsen

Prinsen is a patronymic surname based on the Dutch “prins,” meaning “prince.” It would have been used as a surname for anyone in service to the prince.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Son of the prince
  • Pronunciation: PRIHN-son
  • Variations: Prins
  • Namesakes: Lesmond Prinsen, a Dutch footballer for BV Veendam. Joost Prinsen, a Dutch actor appearing in the TV program De stratemakeropzeeshow.
  • Popularity: Prinsen is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands, where it ranked 578th in 2014.
Old, Patronymic

Rademaker

Rademaker was a name used for a wheelwright or a cartwright. It’s made up of the Middle Dutch “rat,” meaning “wheel,” and “makere,” meaning “maker.”

  • Origin: Dutch, Flemish
  • Meaning: Maker of wheels
  • Pronunciation: RAED-maik-Ehr
  • Variations: Rademacher
  • Namesakes: Stephen Rademaker, an American attorney, and former Bush Administration official. Fons Rademaker, a Dutch filmmaker and winner of the Silver Bear award in 1960.
  • Popularity: Rademaker is rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands, ranking 533rd in 2014.
Occupational, Unique

Reichard

Reichard is based on the given name Richard, meaning “brave.” Reichard was used for any “descendant of Ricohard” and comes with the strength of the name that inspired it.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Descendent of Richard
  • Pronunciation: RYE-kard
  • Variations: Richard, Reichhard
  • Namesakes: Maja Reichard, a Swedish swimmer and gold medalist at the 2010 IPC Swimming World Championships. Paul Reichard, a German explorer who contributed to the founding of the German East Africa Protectorate.
  • Popularity: Reichard is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 1,251st in Puerto Rico in 2014.
Patronymic, Strong

Rietveld

Rietveld was given to a person living near a “reed bed.” It’s made up of the Dutch “riet,” meaning “reed,” and “veld,” meaning “uncultivated land.” Rietveld is one of the Holland last names primarily found in the western part of the Netherlands.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Field of reed
  • Pronunciation: REET-veld
  • Namesakes: Georgie Davis (known as Kees Rietveld), a Dutch singer and one of the first participants in the Soundmixshow in 1985. Pelle Rietveld, a Dutch decathlete who competed at the 2013 World Championships.
  • Popularity: Rietveld is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands, where it ranked 188th in 2014.
Geographical, Nicknames

Roggeveen

Roggeveen is uncommon but exists mostly in Europe, where 81% percent of Roggeveens are located. 7% are also located in the U.S. and Canada.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Rye field
  • Pronunciation: RAHG-eh-Veen
  • Variations: Roggeven
  • Namesakes: Jacob Roggeveen, a Dutch explorer who discovered Easter Island in the 18th-century.
  • Popularity: Roggeveen is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands.
Uncommon, Unusual

Romeijnders

Romeijnders could be the most ancient of Dutch last names that date back to the Roman empire. It comes from the Dutch “romein,” meaning “person from Rome.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Roman
  • Pronunciation: ROW-mehn-durs
  • Variations: Romeijnder
  • Popularity: Romeijnders is extremely rare worldwide, with only 145 occurrences in 2014, mainly in the Netherlands.
Unusual, Rare

Ryskamp

Ryskamp is a more Anglo spelling of Rijskamp. It’s composed of the Dutch “rijs,” meaning “twig,” and “kamp,” meaning “enclosed field.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Dweller near a field
  • Pronunciation: RYE-Skamp
  • Variations: Rijskamp
  • Namesakes: Charles Ryskamp, an American art collector and director of The Frick Collection. Kenneth Ryskamp, an American judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida from 1986 to 2000.
  • Popularity: Ryskamp is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Rare, Geographical

Scheefnek

Scheefnek means “crooked neck” and has no popularity stats. Sometimes, funny Dutch nicknames were also used in French-run Dutch prisons for prisoners.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Crooked neck
  • Pronunciation: SHEEF-neck
Unusual, Rare
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Schenk

Schenk comes from the Middle Dutch “schenke,” meaning “cupbearer.” It’s also associated with the German “scenken,” meaning “to pour out or serve.” Schenk was also used for innkeepers.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Wine server
  • Pronunciation: SHEINK
  • Variations: Shenk, Schenck
  • Namesakes: Bert Schenk, a German boxer and the WBO Middleweight Champion in 1999. Heinz Schenk, a German TV host of Zum Blauen Bock from 1966 to 1987.
  • Popularity: Schenk is rare worldwide, primarily used in Germany, and ranked 108th in Switzerland in 2014.
Occupational, Old

Schertzinger

Schertzinger was used for anyone from a place called Scherzinger on Lake Constance. It’s more commonly spelled as Scherzinger, but Schertzingers are mostly found in France today.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: From Scherzinger
  • Pronunciation: SHERT-zing-Ehr
  • Variations: Scherzinger
  • Namesakes: Victor L. Schertzinger, an American composer known for the film The Fleet’s In (1942).
  • Popularity: Schertzinger is extremely rare worldwide and mostly used in France.
Rare, Geographical

Schoorl

Schoorl was originally given to someone from the town of Schoorl in the Noord-Holland province of the Netherlands. It’s based on the Dutch “scoronlo,” meaning “forest by the shore.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Forest by the shore
  • Pronunciation: SKOOL
  • Namesakes: Louis Schoorl, a Dutch-Australian songwriter with songs on The X Factor Australia. Mak Schoorl, a Dutch rower who competed at the 1936 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Schoorl is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the Netherlands, where it’s still slightly uncommon.
Uncommon, Geographical

Smit

Smit was given to someone working as a blacksmith. It’s one of the most common Netherlands’ last names, also based on an occupation. Smit is the Dutch version of the surname Smith.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Blacksmith
  • Pronunciation: SMIHT
  • Variations: Smet, Smits
  • Namesakes: Jörgen Smit, the Norwegian co-founder of the Rudolf Steiner Seminar in Sweden. Louise Smit, a South African children’s book author and creator of the TV series Wielie Walie.
  • Popularity: Smit is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in South Africa, and ranked 8th in the Netherlands in 2014.
Occupational, Traditional

Stegenga

Stegenga is a West Frisian short form of the personal name Steigunc. It may also relate to the surname, Ter Stege.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Descendent of Steigunc
  • Pronunciation: Steh-JENG-Ah
  • Variations: Staganga
  • Popularity: Stegenga is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands.
Uncommon, Patronymic

Strom

Strom is based on the Dutch “stroom,” meaning “river.” It may be a simpler American version of the original Dutch Van der Stroom. Strom was a name given to anyone who lived near a river or stream.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Stream
  • Pronunciation: STROME
  • Variations: Strome, Ström
  • Namesakes: Harry Strom, the ninth premier of Alberta from 1968 to 1971. Rick Strom, an American football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Popularity: Strom is rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S., where it’s mildly uncommon.
Geographical, Uncommon

Suikerbuik

Little known about the Dutch Suikerbuik besides its meaning of “sugarbelly.” It’s one of the funnier names the Dutch chose when forced to register surnames in 1811 under Napoleon.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Sugarbelly
  • Pronunciation: SWEE-ker-BOOK
  • Variations: Suijkerbuijk
  • Popularity: Suikerbuik is extremely rare worldwide, with only 116 occurrences in 2014, primarily in the Netherlands.
Cute, Unusual

ter Avest

Ter Avest refers to being located at an “eave” or “under a covered shelter.” It was used for someone who lived “at the edge” of something, such as a town or forest.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: At the edge
  • Pronunciation: Ter-AH-vest
  • Variations: TerAvest
  • Namesakes: Hidde ter Avest, a Dutch footballer for FC Utrecht. Alex ter Avest, an American actress appearing in the 2016 film Cell.
  • Popularity: Ter Avest is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands.
Unique, Geographical

Teuling

Nothing is known about the occupational surname Teuling other than the meaning “toll taker.” It was among the often black comic Dutch family names that began appearing in 1811.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Toll taker
  • Pronunciation: TUWL-ing
  • Variations: Teulings
  • Popularity: Teuling is extremely rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands.
Uncommon, Unusual

van Alphen

Van Alphen referred to a place name in South Holland. There was also an Alphen in North Brabant and one called Alpen in North Rhine, Germany.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: From Alphen
  • Pronunciation: Vaan-AHL-fen
  • Variations: Alphen
  • Namesakes: Hans Van Alphen, a Belgian decathlete and silver medalist at the 2007 Summer Universiade. Hieronymus van Alphen, a Dutch poet known for the children’s book Kleine gedigten voor kinderen (Utrecht 1778-1782).
  • Popularity: Van Alphen is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the Netherlands, ranking 367th in 2014.
Geographical, Traditional
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van der Beek

Van der Beek was a name given to a person in various places in the Netherlands and Belgium called Terbeek and Ter Beke. It’s based on the Dutch “beke,” meaning “stream” or “creek.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Of the stream
  • Pronunciation: VAN-der-Beek
  • Variations: van Beek, van Beeck, Vanderbeek
  • Namesakes: James Van Der Beek, an American actor known for the WB series Dawson’s Creek. Donny van de Beek, a Dutch footballer for the Netherlands national team.
  • Popularity: Van der Beek is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands, where it ranked 322nd in 2014.
Geographical, Traditional

van der Berg

Vanderburg was often given to a person who lived “by a hill.” It comes from the Middle Dutch “berghe,” meaning “mountain hill.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: At a mountain
  • Pronunciation: VAN-der-BURG
  • Variations: Van den Berg, Vanderberg
  • Namesakes: Hayes van der Berg, a South African cricketer for Western Province.
  • Popularity: Van der Berg is rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands, ranking 16th in 2014.
Geographical, Common

van der Donck

Van der Donck is a variation of Van der Donk, meaning “from the donk.” The Verdonk spelling variation is much more common in the Netherlands.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: From the swamp
  • Pronunciation: VAN-der-DONK
  • Variations: Verdonk, Verdonck
  • Namesakes: Adriaen van der Donck, a Dutch lawyer whose name inspired the city of Yonkers, New York.
  • Popularity: Van der Donck is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Belgium.
Uncommon, Unique

van der Ven

Van der Ven also means “from the pond.” It might have referred to people who lived “near a lake.” A Dutch “ven” also refers to a “small lake.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: From the lake
  • Pronunciation: VAN-der-VEN
  • Variations: Van der Veen, Van de Ven
  • Namesakes: Kees van der Ven, a former Dutch racer at the 1984 International Six Days Enduro. Rick van der Ven, a Dutch archer and silver medalist at the World Junior Championship in 2009.
  • Popularity: Van der Ven is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands, ranking 102nd in 2014.
Traditional, Geographical

van Dijk

Van Dijk also means “one who built the dike nearby.” The Netherlands is famous for its dykes, which prevent flooding from the many waterways. Van Dijk is the most common of Holland’s last names with “van.”

  • Origin: Dutch, Flemish
  • Meaning: From the dike
  • Pronunciation: Van-DIKE
  • Variations: Van Dyke, Vandyck
  • Namesakes: Virgil van Dijk, a Dutch footballer for Liverpool and the only defender to win UEFA Men’s Player of the Year. Wendy van Dijk, a Dutch TV presenter of the show Hart in Aktie between 2000 and 2006.
  • Popularity: Van Dijk is rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands, where it ranked 6th in 2014.
Traditional, Common

Vandroogenbroeck

Vandroogenbroek is mostly found in Brussels, built upon “dry marshes.” It also occasionally appears in Mexico, meaning “harsh regions.”

  • Origin: Dutch, Flemish
  • Meaning: From the dry marsh
  • Pronunciation: Vann-DROH-gen-BRUK
  • Variations: Van Drogenbroeck, Van Droogenbroek
  • Namesakes: Joël Vandroogenbroeck, a Belgian musician with the experimental rock group Brainticket.
  • Popularity: Vandroogenbroek is extremely rare worldwide, with only 18 occurrences in 2014, mostly in Belgium.
Rare, Unusual

van Hassel

Van Hassell was used for a Dutch person from Hasselt in the Netherlands. Hasselt is also the capital of Belgium and a town in Germany.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: From Hasselt
  • Pronunciation: Van-HASS-ehl
  • Variations: Von Hassel, Hassel
  • Popularity: Van Hassel is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the Netherlands.
Uncommon, Geographical

van Leeuwen

Van Leeuwen was originally a name for someone from Leeuwen in the Netherlands. The Dutch “leeuw” means “burial mound,” but “leeuwen” means “lion,” so the meanings vary.

  • Origin: Dutch, Flemish
  • Meaning: From Leeuwen
  • Pronunciation: Van-LEW-ehn
  • Variations: Leeuwen
  • Namesakes: Wilhelmus Frederik van Leeuwen, the Mayor of Amsterdam between 1901 and 1910. Robbie van Leeuwen, a Dutch musician with the band Shocking Blue.
  • Popularity: Van Leeuwen is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands, ranking 19th in 2014.
Geographical, Unique

van Nes

Van Nes was given to people who hailed from multiple places in Friesland called Nes. It’s also the name of several villages in Holland and can mean “dweller near an ash tree.”

  • Origin: Dutch, Flemish
  • Meaning: Dweller near the cape
  • Pronunciation: Van-NESS
  • Variations: Van Ness, Van Nesse
  • Namesakes: Irving van Nes, a Dutch field hockey player who competed at the 1972 Summer Olympics. Eeke van Nes, a Dutch rower and silver medalist at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Van Ness is very rare worldwide, mostly used in the Netherlands, and ranked 638th in Aruba in 2014.
Uncommon, Geographical

van Valkenburg

Van Valkenburg was originally used for people from two places in the Netherlands called Valkenburg. One was in Limburg, and one was in South Holland. It may have originally meant “falcon castle.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Castle of the Falcons
  • Pronunciation: Van-VAAL-ken-Burg
  • Variations: Valkenburg, Van Valkenburgh
  • Namesakes: Richard Van Valkenburg, an American Civil War veteran and a founding pioneer in Erie, Colorado. Wade Van Valkenburg, the Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives from 1953 and 1956.
  • Popularity: Van Valkenburg is very rare worldwide and mainly found in the U.S.
Geographical, Uncommon
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van Wegberg

Van Wegberg refers to anyone from Wegberg, a German town near the Dutch border. It’s derived from the Old German “weg,” meaning “way” or “path,” and “berg,” meaning “mountain.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: From Wegberg
  • Pronunciation: Van-VEG-burg
  • Variations: Wegberg
  • Namesakes: Renée van Wegberg, a Dutch actress known for the musical Wicked.
  • Popularity: Van Wegberg is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands.
Unique, Geographical

Visscher

Visscher is composed of the Dutch “visser,” meaning “fisherman.” It also refers to “one who caught or sold fish” and is most common in East Flanders.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Fisherman
  • Pronunciation: FISH-er
  • Variations: Visschers, De Visscher
  • Namesakes: Peter Visscher, a Dutch-Australian geneticist known for researching complex human traits. Frans Visscher, a Dutch mariner on the first voyage to the Southern Hemisphere in 1642 and 1643.
  • Popularity: Visscher is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Netherlands, ranking 166th in 2014.
Occupational, Old

Vogel

Vogel was a nickname given to a happy person or one who enjoyed singing like a bird. It might also be used as a bird catcher. It also appears as Fogel and as Bird or Byrd in English.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Bird
  • Pronunciation: VOH-gel
  • Variations: De Vogel
  • Namesakes: Michael Vogel, an American actor appearing in the NBC series The Brave (2017 to 2018). Julius Vogel, the eighth premier of New Zealand from 1873 to 1875.
  • Popularity: Vogel is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in Germany, and ranked 1,153rd in the U.S. in 2010.
Cute, Nicknames

Vos

Vos was originally a nickname given to a redhead when based on the “fox” meaning. Vos is one of many Dutch last names firmly rooted in South Africa.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Fox
  • Variations: Voss, De Vos
  • Namesakes: Freek Vos, a Dutch basketball player for Landstede Basketbal. Robin Vos, the 79th speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly since 2013.
  • Popularity: Vos is rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands, where it ranked 14th in 2014.
Nicknames, Cool

Vrooman

Vrooman is based on the Dutch “vroom,” meaning “honest,” “religious,” and “man.” It’s also related to the Germanic “frōda,” meaning “intelligent,” and “mundō,” meaning “protection.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Pious or wise man
  • Pronunciation: VREW-maan
  • Variations: Vroman
  • Namesakes: Julia Vrooman, an American writer who co-wrote The Lure and Lore of Travel with her husband in 1914. Carl Schurz Vrooman, the Assistant U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Woodrow Wilson.
  • Popularity: Vrooman is very rare worldwide and is mainly used in the U.S.
Nicknames, Uncommon

Waterman

Waterman means “the servant of water” and was a name given to a water carrier. It was also used for a person who lived near “a stretch of water.”

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: Boatman
  • Pronunciation: VAH-ter-Muhn
  • Variations: Watermann
  • Namesakes: Cecilio Waterman, a Panamanian footballer for the Panama national team. Pete Waterman, an English record producer and member of the Stock Aitken Waterman songwriting team.
  • Popularity: Waterman is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 184th in Barbados in 2014.
Occupational, Old

Westenberg

Westenberg was a place name located in Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg. It was originally used for a person who lived there and is still somewhat uncommon today.

  • Origin: Dutch
  • Meaning: West of the mountain
  • Pronunciation: WEST-en-Burg
  • Variations: Westerberg
  • Namesakes: Hans Westenberg, a Dutch-Indonesian agriculturist, and winner of the 1972 Ramon Magsaysay Award. Robert Westenberg, an American actor who appeared on Broadway in The Secret Garden.
  • Popularity: Westenberg is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the Netherlands, where it’s slightly uncommon.
Uncommon, Geographical

Wilms

Wilms is a Frisian surname based on a nickname for Wilhelm. It was first found in medieval Germany with one of the first noble feudal families.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Descendent of Wilhelm
  • Variations: Wilhem
  • Namesakes: Johann Wilhelm Wilms, a Dutch-German composer known for creating the Dutch national anthem from 1815 to 1932. André Wilms, a French actor and winner of the Best Supporting Actor award at the 1992 European Film Awards.
  • Popularity: Wilms is rare worldwide and mainly used in Germany, ranking 801st in 2014.
Patronymic, Unique

Zaal

Zaal also has other meanings, from the African “saddle” or “bed” to the Arabic “light.” It’s mostly found in Asia, where 71% of Zaals live.

  • Origin: Dutch, Arabic
  • Meaning: Hall
  • Pronunciation: ZAHL
  • Namesakes: Mohammed Zaal, a United Arab Emirates entrepreneur and real estate company KOA CEO. Wim Zaal, a Dutch journalist and the literary editor of Elsevier.
  • Popularity: Zaal is rare worldwide, primarily used in Iraq, and ranked 748th in Syria in 2014.
Unusual, Unique

Zelle

Zelle comes from the Dutch “zelle,” meaning “hermit’s cell.” It could have been used for people living near a hermit or at places called Zelle or Celle. Zelle was first recorded in German Bavaria.

  • Origin: Dutch, German
  • Meaning: Cell
  • Pronunciation: ZEHL
  • Variations: Zell
  • Popularity: Zelle is very rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 1,901st in Burkina Faso.
Old, Uncommon
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Dutch Family Names FAQs

Why Do Dutch Last Names Start with Van?

Dutch surnames traditionally use the name of the town or village they come from, along with the prefix ”van.” “Van” means “coming from” or “hailing from.” It was used by commoners and nobility alike. When used by noble families, “van” indicated the land or estate they owned vs. where they were born.

What Is a Common Dutch Last Name?

One of the most common Dutch surnames is de Jong. It means “the young” and was used to distinguish between the younger of two bearers of the same name. De Jong is composed of the Dutch “de,” meaning “the,” and “jong,” meaning “young.” It’s rare worldwide, yet mostly used in the Netherlands, where it ranked #1 in 2014.

Is Dutch a Surname?

Dutch is based on the Middle English “Duch,” which referred to a Dutch-German person. Dutch was used for both Dutch and Flemish immigrants. There were ten New York families with the last name Dutch in 1840. Dutch is rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S., where it’s still quite uncommon.

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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.
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