What’s in a Dutch male name? Part 2

All good sequels have a decent amount of time between them. Just think about the years between each Harry Potter book/movie, each Twilight book/movie, each wave of COVID-19.

That’s the official justification my PR manager advised me to give every time I’ve been asked when there will be a follow up to the articles I wrote many moons ago entitled ‘What’s in a Dutch name?’

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: My claim to fame, my party trick, my one true talent is being ‘one of those people who is good with names.’ One day I’ll get a tattoo of this moniker but for now, it’ll simply underpin the importance of a name (to me at least).

I’ve gotten much better with my pronunciation and coherence of Dutch names and being a woman of the people, I’d like to share what I’ve learned; what follows is thus the long-awaited (by no one) sequel to ‘What’s in a (male Dutch) name?


Gotcha! Looks like the English version, doesn’t it? Spelled the same and pronounced the same, I put this one down to start us off easy. Tim as in Tim as in Tim.


Definitely cranking us up to the medium difficulty level. I personally really like the way this name looks aesthetically. Do you ever get that too or am I the only one? The way it sounds is also pretty nice (in fact, it rhymes with nice) — start yourself off with a soft ‘t’ then end with ‘ice’ to get this name rolling off your tongue right.


Advanced difficulty. If you pronounce the ‘Th’ as a ‘Tee’ sound you will be off to a solid start. Oh, but then there’s the ‘-ij-‘ part which will come out sounding like the word ‘eye’ in English. So ‘T-eye-men’ is how it sounds. Practice makes perfect.


Like Tim, of course. Short and snappy.


So this name is… unusual. In my previous article on Dutch names, I mentioned the name ‘Jelle.’ Pelle is basically the brother of Jelle. Not in reality, obviously (confirm relatedness of Jelle’s and Pelle’s with any that you personally know), but in spelling! So accordingly you don’t pronounce this name as ‘Pel’ but more as ‘Pell-Uh’… a bit like the word ‘Fella’ in English I suppose.

You can remember this with my self-made rhyme: ‘Pelle and Jelle are some nice, young fella(s).’


While it sounds the same, it is not to be confused with the fish species (Bass) or the instrument (Bass — spelt the same as the fish but pronounced differently). Bas is a super popular name. Short, easy and mysterious: Is your full name just ‘Bas’? Or is it short for Sebastiaan? Or perhaps shorter for Bastiaan? Varies on a case-by-case basis.

Sebastiaan, Bastiaan

Variations of Sebastian. Like the anxious crab in The Little Mermaid. See above note on Bas.


Not to be confused with the name ‘Gus’ like the adorable little mouse Gus-Gus from the original animated version of the movie ‘Cinderella.’

Dutch names are just names to Dutch men — so the confusion is confusing. Image: khosrork/Depositphotos

I once had a colleague named Guus and I laughingly tried to explain to him the reference to Cinderella, showing him a cute picture of Gus-Gus from Google. Guus smiled but the look in his eyes made it pretty clear he had no idea what the link was/is/will ever be. His loss because that reference was gold.


Like Thijs above, but I have no tie to the aesthetic of this name. For this name try a guttural Dutch “G” sound and then the English word “Ace”. Thank me later.


As in Geert Wilders. Think of how you may pronounce the end of the word ‘yoghurt.’ Loosely translated in English as Git Wilders.


As in Thierry Baudet, just whilst we are on the topic of Dutch politicians. Technically the name Thierry is 100% French- at least that’s what I thought. But the Dutch don’t pronounce it ‘Thierry’ or indeed as the similar-sounding version in English, ‘Terry’ but instead say ‘Cherry’. As in Cherry Baudet. This is a true story.


My personal favourite. Sjaak as in /Shaak/ as in Sjaak(ira). So basically my name in a cute and fun Dutch way! I love it! Although Sjaak (or Sjaakie) is a male name so maybe the similarity ends in the phonetics of this name.

Another fun fact that that ‘Sjaakie en de Chocoladefabriek’ is the Dutch version of the Roald Dahl classic ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. Schattig.

The list of names is never ending and endlessly interesting but there are so many still to learn.

Drop me a note in the comments with any ones I’ve missed and I might just feature them in Part 3!

Featured Image: londondeposit/Depositphotos

Shaakira Vania
20-something year old traveller, coconut lover (Seriously-anything coconut), and Libran. I recently made the cross-continent move to Amsterdam and spend my weekends exploring the country, meeting new people and telling myself I will finish a book every month (a promise I'm yet to keep). If I had to sum myself up in three words they would be: quirky, curious, and meme-lover.

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