van (in names)

Discussion in 'Nederlands (Dutch)' started by Santa Jac, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. Santa Jac New Member

    What does the word "van" mean in Dutch names? And is it so common that many people use it? (such as Vincent van Gogh and Marco van Basten)
  2. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)

    Welcome to WR and the Dutch Forum.

    In this context, 'van' or 'Van' is part of the family name (surname) and it normally means 'from' (+ place or place name).
    'Van Brussel', a common family name in Flanders, literally means 'from Brussels'.
    'Van den Broeck', another common name, literally means 'from the swamp'.


  3. Santa Jac New Member

    Thanks for your explanation~
  4. argentina84

    argentina84 Senior Member

    Göteborg, Sweden
    Argentina Spanish
    I have a Dutch friend who lives in Utrecht , and whose surname is Van Utrecht. Does it mean that his ancestors were originally from that place?
  5. HKK

    HKK Senior Member

    3010 Leuven, Be.
    Yes it does :)
  6. argentina84

    argentina84 Senior Member

    Göteborg, Sweden
    Argentina Spanish
    Oh! Wonderful!

  7. engineer222 New Member

    Hi there. My surname is van de Pas. Where do my ancestors come from? I have been trying to figure this out for almost ever. Thanks :)
  8. Lopes

    Lopes Senior Member

    Dutch (Amsterdam)
    Maybe La Paz, Bolivia? ;)

    I think Van de Pas refers to something commonly found in any village, like Van Dijk or Van der Sloot, so it would be difficult to specify your ancestry any further than Dutch/Flemish..
  9. HKK

    HKK Senior Member

    3010 Leuven, Be.
    Hi Engineer. You can always check this web site, it shows the geographical distribution of your last name in Belgium. In your case, Antwerp seems a good guess. The Dutch version seems to be down at the moment, but this site does the same thing. It seems your ancestors were probably from the old duchy of Brabant.
  10. Suehil

    Suehil Medemod

    Tillou, France
    British English
    Napoleon forced people to have surnames and many had to be invented on the spot. Some were trades, 'Bakker', 'Smid', etc., some were geographical 'van Breukelen', 'van Amsterdam' some were derived from the father's name 'Pieterszoon' (later to become 'Pieterson') and some were merely descriptive.
    'Van' doesn't always have to be a place name; my name, for instance, is 'van Overbeek', which means 'from the other side of the river'.
    Van de Pas could have many possible origins.
  11. ILoveStars New Member


    I searched your name and I'm pretty sure it means 'from the pass'. For me, a Pass is like a road, so probably your ancestors must have lived next to a small road or a carriage way. But it means from the pass so at least you know what it means now.
  12. JakeVY New Member

    hey guys. my surname is Van Yush and i've been looking everywhere for some insight for what 'Yush' could possibly mean in the Dutch language, and I've been having some trouble. can anyone here help me get some insight on where my ancestors come from? thanks
  13. Lopes

    Lopes Senior Member

    Dutch (Amsterdam)
    My first thought is maybe a misspelling by the immigration officers? Do you know for a fact that your ancestors were Dutch or Flemish?
  14. JakeVY New Member

    We don't, sadly. My great grandpa immigrated here and we have no information of him. And my father used to say that HIS father always told him the name was Dutch.
  15. Miliu Member

    And the great Ludvig Van, where was he from? From a beet - field (Beet hoven)?
  16. NewtonCircus Senior Member

    Dutch (Belgium)
    Likely. Unfortunately there are a lot of beethovens, even my grandfather had one :D

    - I am not an etymologist but I think hoven which is plural for hof means gardens, courts, or courtyards rather than field.
    - Beet, I believe is indeed the same as the English word beet. In contemporary Dutch it is spelled as biet.

    His grandfather came from the area of Mechelen (Between Antwerp and Brussels). This city was at the time sort of a regional centre for music. In fact it still is.

    I checked the Belgian online family name database for surnames and most of the Van Beethovens are still living in the area.
    One, we all know, left the place :D. What is pretty unusual, is that the Dutch database doesn't give a single hit one the name. I always believed this name sounded more Northern.

    Groetjes Herman
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  17. Lopes

    Lopes Senior Member

    Dutch (Amsterdam)
    According to wikipedia Beethoven could also mean 'Betuwe'

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