Choose a surname for your child

Parents can decide whether to give their first-born child the mother’s surname or the father’s surname. You can register your choice at the municipality in a declaration of surname choice. The ‘uniformity in name within the family’ rule applies then to any children who come later. This means that they must take the same surname if they are born into the same relationship with the same partners.


You can have a declaration of surname choice (akte van naamskeuze) drawn up before you register the birth.



How long does it take?

The choice of surname will be registered immediately.

Make an appointment

  • Both parents must report the choice of surname in person at the Department of Public Service counter at City Hall Spui or the Leyweg City Office. Both parents should take a valid form of identification.
  • Make an appointment to do this.

    Make an appointment

    Non-Dutch nationality

    Does the child have the nationality of another country? The municipality will examine what the law of that country determines on the possibility of choosing names.

    Single parent

    If you are an unmarried mother and the father does not acknowledge your child, then the child will take your surname.

    Parent with a same-sex partner

    If a woman who has a partner of the same sex bears a child, the child will take the name of the biological mother in principle. Do you have a different preference? Consult the section on Family law on the website of the Dutch government.

    Unmarried parents

    If parents are not married, the child will automatically take the mother’s surname. If you want the child to take the father’s surname, the father has to formally acknowledge the child before the birth (erkenning voor de geboorte) and the parents must both make a joint application regarding the child’s name. This surname choice can be altered if the parents later marry or enter into a registered partnership.

    What happens if you do not make a choice?

    It is not compulsory to have a certificate of surname choice drawn up. If you do not do this, the following rules apply:

    • Are the parents married? Then the child automatically takes the father’s surname.
    • Are the parents unmarried? Then the child takes the mother’s surname.

    These rules are only valid under Dutch naming law.