Napoleon and Dutch Surnames

25 January, 2016

Napoleon and Dutch Surnames

In 1811 Napoleon had conquered the Netherlands and demanded that each citizen would get a surname (as all French people did, while most of Dutch people had only first names). The Dutch people were sure the annexation is just temporary, and right after the liberation the surnames would be cancelled anyway, so they started to get funny surnames, like "Piest" (urinating), "Rotmensen" (rotten people), or "Naaktgeboren" (born naked). Nevertheless, these surnames stayed, and their heritors still have them.


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