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16 Jun 2023 Bill on double surname

From 1 January 2024, parents will have the option to give their children a double surname. A child can then have the surname of both parents. What exactly does this bill entail?


Currently, it is not possible in the Netherlands to give children a double surname. Traditionally, children were automatically given the father's surname. Since 1998, it has also been possible to choose the mother's surname.

As of January, parents can combine names. This meets the wish of many parents to express the bond with their child in this way. In addition, the law may provide a solution for people who have different surnames due to different nationalities.
The possibility will be limited to two names and there will be no hyphen between them.

Mandatory choice?

Parents are allowed to choose a double surname. This is not an obligation. A single surname may also still be chosen. The moment of choice is with the first child. All children born after that are given the same surname. Parents may choose the order of the names themselves. If no choice is made, children are automatically given the surname of the father or duo mother if the parents are married or have a registered partnership. If there is no marriage or registered partnership, children will be given the name of the birth mother.

If one of the parents already has a double surname then this may be used in full and the name is considered a ''singular'' name.

Older children

The law will not only apply to children born after 1 January. If the eldest child was born on or after 1 January 2016, parents can still give the child a double surname. This is subject to a deadline of 1 year after the law comes into force.

adopted children

For adopted children, the options are even more extensive. Adoptive parents can opt for a combination of their surnames but also for a combination of the surname of one of them with the surname the child was given at birth. Again, the maximum is limited to two names.

If these parents have already chosen the family name of one of them or a combination of both with their first child, this choice also applies to future adopted children. The child will then still have the option to add the original surname to it as well.

Passing on a double surname

For the next generation, a maximum of two surnames also applies again. Parents with a double surname can then give their child the full double surname of one of them. If they want to combine their names, they can choose only 1 name and must drop the other name. A maximum of one surname from the combination can then be passed on.

The same applies if a child with a double surname wants to marry. When combining with the partner's surname, the child will have to drop one name.

Do you have questions or need advice on family law issues? If so, please feel free to contact one of our lawyers without obligation. We will be happy to assist you and keep you informed of further developments!

SPEE advocaten & mediation Maastricht


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