Green, white, and orange?
In an unusual move in baby naming, the fine parents of the Netherlands have taken the Irish to heart when it comes to giving their sons a name, with Liam now the most popular boys’ name for tykes who may have to hold off flooding by putting little fingers into things.
More than 168,000 children were born in the Netherlands in 2015, 82,000 of which are boys according to the social insurance bank, the body in charge of paying out child benefit. Liam, which the Dutch understand a derivative of William, was the most common name given to new boys, topping the list for the very first time.
The remaining four in the Dutch top-five boys’ names were Sem, Lucas, Luuk, and Noah. Liam’s success comes at the expense of Bram, which was the Dutch parents’ second most-popular choice for the last three years, but which has now plummeted to 13th – unlucky for some.
William, or the Dutch-language variant Willem, remains a common boys’ name in the Netherlands, and is the name of the country’s current monarch, King Willem-Alexander. The king, who was crowned after his mother Beatrix abdicated in 2013, is the latest in a long line of ruling Willems (and one Wilhelmina) in the House of Orange-Nassau, which has reigned over the Netherlands since William I, the father of the nation, ascended to the throne in 1533.
But Dutch families’ newfound fondness for the Irish name Liam seemingly has been linked to Ballymena actor Liam Neeson.
Speaking to the Irish Times, Aisling Casey, an Irish musician and director of Amsterdam’s annual St Patrick’s Day parade, said the name’s popularity is due in no small part to the 6’3” actor, popular for his work in films as diverse as Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia, Taken, and Schindler’s List.
“Young Dutch parents will certainly know Liam Neeson from the movies, but that’s about as far as it goes – they won’t necessarily have a clue what nationality he is,” Casey said.
The most popular names for girls in the Netherlands last year included Emma, Julia, Sophie, Anna, and Mila.
Amongst the 168,000 registered births were a handful of boys and girls with the names Goodluck, Dikshit, Genius, and Rooney, as well as one baby girl with the name Eh.