Frequently asked questions combined surname

What is the maximum number of names that can be notified?

There is a maximum of two name elements to this scheme. If people with a combined surname have children of their own, they can also choose a maximum of two name elements in total for these children. Elements of the name will then be dropped to arrive at the combined surname.

I have a blended family and I want to select the same combined surname for all children. Is this possible?

No, this is not possible. The law allows children of the same parents to have the same surname. So for children of different parents, you choose different combinations of surnames. However, there is an exception when it comes to guardianship. You can check this with a public entity.

I only want to give my child one surname, is this possible?

You do not need to select a combined surname. One surname is also possible. This is then the surname of the one parent or of the other parent. Sometimes this happens automatically, sometimes you need to go to the municipality for this. Inquire with the public entity what the relevant rules are. You can read what the relevant rules for this are at or on the site of your public entity.

Is it possible to change the combined surname of my child at a later date?

This is not possible yet in the Caribbean Netherlands. However, work is underway to make this possible in the future.

Is the scheme also applicable with retroactive effect to adopted children who were born after January 1, 2016 and who were adopted before January 1, 2024?

Yes. You can organise this with the civil registrar. It may be that costs are associated with this.

How about children who were born before January 1, 2024 but for whom the parents yet apply for the combined surname?

This scheme is only applicable to children who were born after January 1, 2024 or to children who were born after January 1, 2016. Unfortunately, older children cannot rely on this scheme. Please note: it is only possible to rely on the scheme for children born before 2024 if the eldest child of the parents was born on or after January 1, 2016. The choice then applies to all children together.

Does the choice for a combined surname affect other legal matters, e.g. authority, nationality, or passport applications for the child?

The choice for a combined surname does not imply that someone automatically also receives authority in respect of a child. If the child already has a passport, identity card, or sedula then this document is no longer valid. To travel, you need to apply for a new identity document, with the (new) combined surname. The relevant costs are at your expense.

Is the choice for a combined surname implemented automatically upon the birth of the child, or do the parents actively need to apply for this?

The choice for a combined surname must be made by both parents at the Civil Affairs Department of the public entity. If the parents do not make a choice then, in case of a married couple, the child will automatically have the name of the father or the co-mother. If the parents are not married then the child automatically receives the name of the mother. If you already have children then you do not need to make a choice again. The subsequent children you have together, receive the same name as the first child you had together.

Parents of children who were born on or after January 1, 2016 who want a combined surname for their child (children) do this together at the Civil Affairs Department of the public entity.

Does the choice of a surname affect who exercises the authority?

No, the choice of a surname has nothing to do with having or receiving authority.

One of the parents has a combined surname, e.g. a Spanish or Portuguese surname. Is this qualified as one name or can I notify a part of it?

The main rule is that Dutch people have one surname. This can be a double name. Dutch people who can demonstrate that their surname is a combination of the names of their parents can request the Census office entity to pass a part of it onto their children.