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Few Belgian parents choose double surname for children

21:53 17/04/2021

Giving your child a double surname has been legal in Belgium since 2014 - but there has been no rush to take advantage of the legal change, new figures reveal.

According to the newspapers of Mediahuis Group, the latest figures from SPF Interior indicate that tradition is very much alive since in 91% of cases the father’s family name was chosen alone.

Of the 94,577 children of Belgian nationality born last year in the country, 5,557 newborns received a double surname with the name of the father preceding that of the mother and 1,353 a double surname with that of the mother preceding that of the father. In Brussels and Wallonia, the mother's name is attributed a little more often, but it is still under 5%.

The sociologist Ignace Glorieux of the VUB does not expect any significant change. "It remains naturally very patriarchal with only the name of the father being used,” she said.

“One factor is that many families are very attached to their genealogy - it is the tradition. But it is not because we have been proceeding in this way for centuries that we should consider it normal that children should only bear the name of their father."

Written by Richard Harris