The New Dutch Law on Last Names

As of 2024, there is a new law governing the last names of children born in the Netherlands. Parents already had the option to chose either the mother’s or the father’s name. Now they can also choose to give the children both names, either hyphenated or non-hyphenated.

Baby on a scale

Baby on a scale. Credits: Nationaal Archief (Willem van de Poll)


Let’s say Peter Kamphuis and Lotte Ferwerda have a child together, a girl named Emma. They have the following options:

  • Emma Kamphuis
  • Emma Ferwerda
  • Emma Kamphuis Ferwerda
  • Emma Kamphuis-Ferwerda
  • Emma Ferwerda Kamphuis
  • Emma Ferwerda-Kamphuis

If little Emma later becomes a mother, she can only pass along one of her two last names. So the names will not explode if multiple generations choose to combine the names of both parents.

Parents have to make this choice once. Any subsequent children born to the same parents will get the same last name(s) as the first child.

Will this make it harder for future genealogists?

I do not think this will make things harder for future genealogists. Dutch records are excellent. It does not matter which name the parents choose for their child, since it will be documented. Vital records mention the person and both their parents, removing any ambiguity.

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate diploma in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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