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Belgians to be able to change surname once without justification

15:29 26/11/2023

A bill tabled by Ecolo-Groen would allow Belgians to change their last name at will once in their lives, choosing between their father’s or mother’s surname, or a combination of the two.

Currently, a change of surname is only possible on serious grounds or in exceptional circumstances, and must be authorised by the justice ministry.

“In short, it's completely out of date,” said MP Stefaan Van Hecke, who co-authored the text with Claire Hugon.

According to the MPs, there were 1,120 people who went through the arduous surname-changing procedure in 2022 – double the number since 2006.

“Soon, every adult will be able to take or add the name of their other parent, more easily, more quickly and without having to justify it,” Claire Hugon said on the social network X (formerly Twitter).

The Chamber's justice committee has adopted the bill and it can now be placed on the plenary agenda.

Written by Helen Lyons