Dutch Boy Names: a comprehensive guide

Daan, Tijn and Teun are names which are not very common in English speaking countries. This is not a surprise as those names are typical Dutch male names in the Netherlands.

This guide covers many examples of Dutch boy names, including traditional as well as modern names, in addition to names which are common and those which are rare in the Netherlands.

Traditional Dutch boy names

Traditional Dutch boy names are very short and easy to pronounce. They mostly consist of two or three syllables.

There are many Dutch traditional boy names in the Netherlands that are still very common to hear and do not exist in other languages.

The following names are Dutch traditional boy names that have roots in the Dutch language.

Typical Dutch male names

One of the Southern provinces of the Netherlands named Zeeland has a very unique way of naming Dutch boys.

This province is just above Belgium and was therefore highly influenced by Flemish and French sounding names, but with a clear Dutch twist.

Some typical Dutch male names from Zeeland are:

Old-fashioned Dutch boy names

In the Netherlands there are seven old-fashioned Dutch boy names that are timeless as well, which means that they were popular for centuries and are still given to Dutch boys today.

Here are those examples of Old-fashioned Dutch boy names:

There are many more Dutch timeless boy names than Dutch timeless girl names. There is a good explanation for that. Traditionally, boys were the family members that made sure that money was made by having jobs.

They were head of the family and were given much more serious names than girls, who were raised to be stay-at-home mothers instead of having a job.

Girls, however, were perceived as more fragile and feminime and therefore were given more frivolous names.

This way of thinking resulted in these old-fashioned names but because of the strong preference for traditions of some families, they are still very popular today.

Traditional Frisian (Northern-Dutch) boy names

The Netherlands is a mix of cultures and languages. Each province has its own dialect. All of them derived from the Dutch language, but none of them are multi-intelligible.

However, one of the most northern provinces called Friesland has its own official language, which is considered the second official language of the Netherlands.

This language called “Frisian” is not similar to Dutch at all and therefore has its own names as well. The names are often very short and consist of no more than seven letters and one or two syllables.

Here is a list of some of the most popular Frisian boy names:.

These names are so common in the north, that other people from the Netherlands will recognise that the person who is called one of these names is from the province of Friesland.

Dutch traditional boy names from grandparents

The traditional names Jan, Johannes, Hendrik and Cornelis are typical names passed on from father to son.

It is typically the case that Dutch boys with these names were named after their fathers and in turn they were named after their fathers.

The nicknames that these boys are given are mostly different from their father’s in order to distinguish them, even though they have the same given name.

The names Thomas, Willem and Pieter are very traditional names that often come from family.

Since these names are very fashionable as well they are also given to people who do not have family with these names.

Biblical Dutch boy names

Because of the strict Christian background of the Netherlands, it was (and still is) very common to give biblical dutch boy names.

These names are often related to names from the Hebrew, Greek or Latin languages.

The Netherlands has very unique translations of biblical names that are originally from other languages, making them typically Dutch.

Some examples of biblical Dutch boy names are:

Common & rare Dutch boy names

Original Dutch boy names

Dutch people are often encouraged to think outside the box and this has had great influence on the name giving culture.

The results of this way of thinking on one’s own and not going with the traditional flow are some original Dutch boy names.

Examples of original Dutch boy names are, for example:

Cool Dutch boy names

Cool Dutch boy names are often short names of three or four letters made up out of no more than two syllables.

For Dutch boy names these are often English names, but there are certainly some great Dutch examples, such as:

Popular Dutch boy names

The name Noah is the most popular Dutch boy name in the Netherlands and has been for some decades.

Every year, approximately one thousand Dutch boys receive the name Noah. This name is short and international and is given because it can be understood and pronounced in many languages.

Since the Netherlands is a small country surrounded largely by water, it is highly dependent on other countries. This is the reason that the Netherlands does a lot of export and business abroad.

For this international mindset it is necessary to have an international name and therefore English or English sounding names are very popular.

Other popular Dutch boy names in the Netherlands are:

Common Dutch boy names

Some names in the Netherlands are common because they have been popular names for many years. Common Dutch boy names are often very short and easy to pronounce.

When asking a Dutch person what very common names would be, it is very likely that they will give similar answers. In the Netherlands, some of the most common names for boys are:

Noah has been the most popular name in the Netherlands for some years. It is an international name but it is also a very biblical name.

The name Noah (ending in -h) is a common Dutch boy name, whereas Noa (without 'h') is a common Dutch girl name.

The reason that Noah is so popular is not only because it is a very biblical name, but also because it is a short, easy and international name.

Since the Netherlands is so small and reliant on other countries, this is a perfect name to give a boy in the Netherlands.

Unique Dutch boy names

In the Netherlands, among different social classes there are different names that are given to children.

A higher social class specifically from a region in the Netherlands called Het Gooi in the province of Noord-Holland is famous for giving names only seen in high social classes.

These names have a posh feeling to them and therefore will probably not be used a lot in other parts of the Netherlands.

They are therefore very unique and specific to the richest areas. Some examples of unique Dutch boy names that sound quite posh, are:

Dutch nicknames for boy names

For the name Jan, another name is usually added making it a dual name, such as:

For the name Johannes, a boy could get the nicknames:

The name Hendrik has fewer options. Boys named Hendrik would get the nickname Henk or a dual name such as:

Cornelis (or Cornelius) has a longer list of possible nicknames, making it a very versatile name. Nicknames could be:

Rare Dutch boy names

Some Dutch people find it important to give children rare Dutch boy names to ensure their uniqueness.

This resulted in some very unique names that you will probably not hear very often, but are unique to the Netherlands. Some examples are:

Dutch boy names explained

Meaning of Dutch boy names

Picking a name that has a beautiful meaning is one of the main reasons why people pick a specific name.

Some names are so old that it is not very clear where the names came from, but there are certainly some pretty Dutch boy names that have beautiful meanings. Below are some examples:

Reinier

Reinier is a name that came from the Germanic language and consists of two parts. The first part came from “regin” which means advisor or advice. The second part comes from the Germanic word “her” which means army.

The meaning of Reinier could therefore be strong army or advisor of the army.

Diederik

Diederik is a Germanic name consisting of the Germanic words “diet” en “rijk”. Diet means people of the nation and rijk means powerful.

Diederik therefore probably means powerful person of the nation.

Rutger

Rutger is a typical Germanic name and is very popular. The name consists of two Germanic words, namely “rot”and “ger”. “Rot” stands for fame and “ger” means spear.

The meaning of this name could possibly be something like: famous warrior with a spear.

Trends in Dutch boy names

Just like clothes from previous eras come back into fashion, Dutch boy names from different periods also become popular again.

For instance, the name Lucas started to become popular in the 1920’s, was popular in the 1960’s again and it is a very popular name in the 21st century as well.

The name Daniël was first introduced in the 1920’s, became popular in the 1970’s, 1980’s and is once again a very popular name at the moment.

Lastly, the name Simon was popular in the 1920’, 1940’s, 1960’s and 1980’s and is a very popular Dutch boy name again this century.

These names never made it very high on the lists of popular Dutch boy names, but since they are easy to pronounce and simple names they became timeless and will likely always be popular.

Origin of Dutch names

The Dutch language derived from the Low Franconian language, which is a classification of the Germanic language. The language started to develop in the Netherlands around the year 400 A.D after the breaking up of the Germanic colony in Northern Germany.

Nowadays, most of the typical Dutch male names that are given to children have clear relations with the Germanic language.

Some of these names are still very popular today, such as the name Koen. The word “koen”in the Germanic language literally meant brave, or the name Rein, which in the Germanic language literally means advice or advisor.

Conclusion

There are lots of unique Dutch boy names in the Netherlands and a lot of them have beautiful meanings. However, Noah is the most popular Dutch boy name and has been for some decades.

The Netherlands is a small country that was greatly influenced by the countries around it. Therefore, English names became very popular.

English names are also very popular because the Dutch travel and do a lot of business abroad. Having an English name makes it easier for the Dutch to introduce themselves in other countries.

A Dutch parent that wants a cool name will probably choose a short name that consists of one or two syllables.

When a parent wants to give the kid a posh name they will probably choose a name specifically from the richest areas of the Netherlands, like Jurriaan, Marnix or Berend.

Hopefully this guide has been a good help in understanding the meaning of Dutch boy names or for choosing a Dutch baby name.

We have also written a full guide to Dutch girl names. Editor's note: You can use our free language tool to make your own vocabulary lists, and record your own phrases.