Quick tip – The suffix ‘-je’

In the Dutch language, the suffix ‘-je’ indicates a diminutive. Depending on the preceding word, it can be -je, -kje, -tje, -pje, or -etje; sometimes with an -n at the end. In Low Saxon dialects in the north-east of the Netherlands, -ke, -ske, -ken, -sken, or -chien are used.

The diminutive suffix is used for nouns and names. Many female names are diminutive forms of male names. The diminutive form of a name is also used for a young child, so studying the name in context is necessary to interpret it correctly. Some female names that have no male equivalent (“Maria”) can take a diminutive to create a variation or call name, often used for a younger child.

Examples of female names with a diminutive are: Jannetje, Jenneken, Harmpje, Hendrickjen, Derksken, Marietje, and Lammechien.

Baby on a scale

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

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG® 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 certificate 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.

Leave comment

*