Double surname bill adopted

From now on, children may get the surname of both parents. A legislative proposal to this end by Minister Weerwind for Legal Protection was adopted by the Dutch Senate today. 

“Your surname is part of your identity. Your name says something about your family, your history and the people you belong with. This proposal broadens parents’ choice. They are now able to both express their relationship with the child in the name”,

says Minister Weerwind.

Since the introduction of the Civil Registry in the Netherlands in 1811, children have automatically received the surname of the father. Since 1998, it has also been possible to decide for the surname of the mother. The new act allows parents to give their children a double surname. 

The new act will be effective as from 1 January 2024. Parents may use this new option when their child is born on or after 1 January 2024. The surname will then apply to all subsequent children.

In addition, the act includes a transitional arrangement. If the eldest child was born on or after 1 January 2016, the parents may still opt for a double surname. As from 1 January 2024, they have one year to still decide for the double surname.


For the group of people who already have a double surname or multiple surnames, such as Van Bergen Henegouwen, such a surname will be considered a single surname also after 1 January 2024. If they wish, they may also give their child a double surname, such as Van Bergen Henegouwen De Boer. 

For adopted children, it will be possible to choose a combination of their surname at birth and the name of one of the adoptive parents. A maximum of two names in total applies here as well.

The new act may also offer a solution to people with a different surname in another country due to multiple nationalities. Now, name change proceedings are required sometimes to achieve a uniform surname. That will no longer be necessary. 

The double surname option is not mandatory. If that option is not decided on, a child will receive the surname of the birth mother if the parents are not married or registered partners. If the parents are married or registered partners, the child will receive the surname of the father or the co-mother.