I'm wondering if there is a finite set of tussenvoegsels. If so can someone please point me to the list? For example in the name Alice van Herk, the tussenvoegsel van. Wikipedia lists common tussenvoegsels but not all of them. I'm wondering if there is a rule to allow me to parse out the tussenvoegsel. Thank you!

3 Answers 3


The Rijksdienst voor Identiteitsgegevens (RVIG) maintains "table 36" with tussenvoegsels (they call them voorvoegsels): https://publicaties.rvig.nl/Landelijke_tabellen/Landelijke_tabellen_32_t_m_60_excl_tabel_35/Landelijke_Tabellen_32_t_m_60_in_pdf_formaat

I found this on the Dutch Wikipedia page, perhaps you were looking at the English one?

If you want to parse tussenvoegsels, it's probably easiest and most accurate to do it with a dictionary of the list.

  • Thank you! Yes I was looking at the English version. Aug 21, 2018 at 20:09
  • 2
    Note that the list not only contains native Dutch voorvoegsels, but also German, French, Italian, and Spanish ones. Aug 24, 2018 at 14:23

Ja, ze zijn beperkt. Meest tussenvoegsels zijn lidwoorden en voorzetsels. (Yes, they are finite. Most tussenvoegsels(tussen = between + voeg =insert, add) are articles and prepositions describing the link between the first name and the last name. Examample: Jaap van Hoofd(Jaap of Head) Monique de Jong(Monique the Young)

Here is a list of 333: https://www.vernoeming.nl/alle-333-voorvoegsels-tussenvoegsels-in-nederlandse-achternamen

  • Since tussenvoegsels are, as the whole last name, passed from parents to children, they don't show any link between the first and the last name. This was only true when last names started to be used. Similarly, someone called Bakker does not need to work in a bakery.
    – Keelan
    Aug 22, 2018 at 5:45
  • Hans de Boer( Hans the Farmer) is not a farmer, he most likely got that name because his ancestors were farmers. You cannot say "Hans het Boer", because Boer is masculine and not neuter. Those 'articles' and 'prepositions' certainly show a link. Aug 22, 2018 at 9:52
  • There is no link between "Hans" and "de Boer" in the sense that the latter gives any information about the former. You are correct that there are syntactic rules, but you are not correct that "most tussenvoegsels (...) [describe] the link between the first name and the last name".
    – Keelan
    Aug 22, 2018 at 10:06
  • You said that it did not show any link. The Farmer.. who is the Farmer? Frank is the Farmer. = Frank de Boer. In my world I see a link. Aug 22, 2018 at 10:31
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    This is is the same list as given in Keelan's answer: linguistics.stackexchange.com/a/28695 – for the purpose of a scientific quotation, the link given by Keelan is preferable to this blog entry. Aug 24, 2018 at 16:10

Yes, finite set of voorvoegsels in names, allright, with some mini-syntactic structure, which forms a potentially infinite set of complex names: 1) 'van' is a common prepositional voorvoegsel in names, e.g. Jan van Putten, means from or of. 2) ' van der' is another common, composed one, e.g. Johanna van der Sluis, here 'der' is genitive case - yes, good old case remnant in Dutch - and the preposition 'van' must precede 'der', as *'der van' would be ungrammatical. 3) 'ter' is less common simple case inflected one, meaning to or towards, directional dative, I guess (not much of a case expert) 4) there are rather more complex compositions in often blue blood names, like 'van Heerdt tot Eversberg' ('tot' means to as in limit), and 'van Tuyll van Serooskerken' or ones with French names like in 'Collot d'Escury' or 'd'Aulnis de Bourouill' - some are believed to date back to the 15th century, but it was Napoleon in 1811 who required everyone to have a last, family name. Lots of records of names on Wikipedia...

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