Dutch increasingly changing their first names

Crowded train station in the Netherlands
Crowded train station in the Netherlands. Photo: Iijjccoo / Wikimedia Commons

An increasing number of Dutch are turning to the courts to change their first names, the Council for the Judiciary said on Friday. The Council does not have a clear explanation for the increase, NU.nl reports.

In order to change your given name, you need a lawyer to submit a petition. In 2015 a total of 503 people did so. In 2016 there were 583. And last year there was a small decrease to 576. 

"It shouldn't be to simple to change your name. The fewer changes in the registers of civil status, the better, is the idea", civil judge Jan Kloosterhuis said to the newspaper. According to him, the most important factor for a name change is that the person "really has a good story" for why he or she wants a different name. 

Kloosterhuis said that he doesn't receive many requests from people who want to change their names to something strange or extreme, and such requests are usually turned down. "It is certainly not the intention that someone changes their first name to something that can also be a surname, like Janssen. A name like Thomas is allowable, because that is a common given name. Other than that, it can not be an inappropriate name. That too is dictated by law."

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