From January 1st, more options available to choose a surname for a child

Having a surname is important; it says something about who you are and who you belong to. From January 1, 2024, the options for choosing a surname are expanded. From now on, parents will also have the option to choose a combination of both their surnames as the surname for their child.

Who can opt for a combined surname?

The choice of a combined surname becomes possible for children born from January 1, 2024. During pregnancy, when declaring the birth or when acknowledging the child, both parents can notify the Census office of their preference for a combined surname. The choice is one-off and also applies to subsequent children. Choosing a combined surname does not mean that the authority changes.

There is also a transitional scheme

This means that parents whose children were all born after January 1, 2016, can have the surname changed to a combined surname. The adjustment can only be made for all children together.

In case of adoption, other combinations are also possible

If the (adoptive) parents have chosen the surname of one of them or a combination of them for their first child, a subsequent adopted child can also be given that name. They can additionally choose the original name of the adopted child. Finally, they can combine (part of) the adopted child’s original surname with the previously chosen surname of either of them. Different adopted children in the family can thus have the same surname or different surnames.

Examples of combined surnames

At there are frequently asked questions and answers about choosing a combined surname. On the website, you can also find an infographic with several examples of choices.

Apply for a combined surname with Civil Affairs

You can apply for a combined surname with the Civil Affairs Department of the Public Entity. You can reach them via:

Bonaire: +599 715 5330, or

Saba: +599 416 3497,

St. Eustatius: +599 318 2497,


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One comment

  1. What if you wanted a boy and had a girl. Can you just call the girl a boy? Will that be allowed?

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