Every inhabitant of the Netherlands has a name, comprising of a first name and a surname. Everyone receives a surname at birth in the context of the arising of the official family tie. Which surname the child gets depends on the relationship under family law with the parents. All children in one family will have the same surname; the surname of the first child is the determining factor in this respect. At the registration of the birth, one or more first names will be given to the child and this will be recorded in the registers of the registrar of births, deaths and marriages. A change of name is still simple within three days from the registration. However, special procedures must be followed for a change of name after those first three days.

Possibilities for change of name

For most people their name is appropriate and they have no need to change this. The name is in principle recorded and it enables you, the authorities and others to identify you. This is the reason why the law on surnames specifies that a change of name is not possible without a reason. However, some people cannot or do not want to continue with the name they have for various reasons. Dutch law offers limited possibilities for changing a first name or surname at a later time in life.

Change of first name

A court decision is necessary for changing a first name. The engagement of a lawyer is necessary for this, since proceedings may only be conducted by a lawyer. An application for changing a first name must be properly substantiated. You might no longer want to use your first name due to personal experiences; your name no longer suits your identity as a result of a sex change or the wrong name was stated at the registration of your birth. The choice of the new first name is limited in the law. The name may not be unsuitable and the first name may not be the same as the surname, unless it concerns a common first name.

Change of surname

It is possible to change a surname for various reasons, such as adoption, acknowledgement and paternity suit, but this can only take place subject to strict conditions. It is also possible to change the surname because it is apparently unbecoming, ridiculous or spelled incorrectly. An application must be submitted for this to the Dienst Justis, the Justice Agency of the Ministry of Security and Justice. It is important that this takes place in the correct manner, since there are costs attached to the submission of an application. Different rules apply for the change of a surname for adults and for minors. The Secretary of State of the Ministry of Security and Justice ultimately decides if the surname can be changed. If the application is rejected, you can register a notice of objection against this. A change of surname is often a far-reaching decision. It is therefore of great importance that you are assisted by a specialised lawyer. Legal assistance during the possibilities (impossibilities) of a change of name is necessary, taking into consideration the specific legislation and regulations. VAN LEEUWEN LAW FIRM can assist you with the bringing and conducting of proceedings for acquiring or changing one or more first names and/or surnames. The firm can also advise you in the field of the law on surnames.

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