Friday, November 4, 2011

What's in a name?

There are many interesting looking and sounding Dutch last names. Over the last few months, I have heard and seen quite a few funny ones! There is a good story behind these names. It begins in the 1800's when Napoleon was occupying The Netherlands. At that time many people were just adding "_____'s daughter/son" or "from (insert hometown here)" to their first name to identify themselves. Well, Napoleon did not think this was enough so he signed a law requiring all Dutch to choose and register a last name. So when chosing the last names many chose something descriptive. These include Van Buren (from Buren), Bakker (Baker), Visser (Fisherman), Vandenberg (From the hill), etc. Then there are the unfortunate names like Kip (chicken), Goedkoop (cheap), Beenhakke (leg chopper), Kaasenbrood (cheese bread), Aarsman (ass man), and my favorite Naaktgeboren (born naked). It is said that these less attractive names are around because people didn't think the last names would stick around after Napoleon was gone and they could go back to their way. Ooops!

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