German: Leyen


Senior Member
Standard Italian

The name of the new President of the European Commission is Ursula von der Leyen. I would like to know whether the word 'Leyen' has any meaning - maybe in old German? Or is it the name of a place, of a castle..? Based on the article 'der' (sing.dative) it should be feminine… Does anyone know the origin of that lady's name?

Thank you in advance.
  • berndf

    German (Germany)
    Ley or von der Leyen is a toponym in Bergischer Kreis, East of Cologne. The family is named after the place. There are two possible explanations: Ley is a regional expression meaning rock or cliff (as, e.g., in Loreley). The other possibility is a derivation from St. Eligius, patron of gold and black smiths. Both derivations are regionally plausible.
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