This week, to Holland!
The Kingdom of the Netherlands includes Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and the Netherlands - the nation is physically in Europe, the Caribbean, and South America. The royal family can trace its roots back to the 10th century, but I'll be focusing on the names of living members of the royal family.
Beatrix - Princess of the Netherlands (former Queen)
This name has only ranked on the US top 1000 once - #754 in 1883. But the literary connection to Beatrix Potter and the cool X-ending could definitely spark a place in the sun. It's currently trending slowly upwards in the UK, and allows for cool nicknames Bea or Trixie. The meaning "bringer of joy" is also a win - I highly recommend this name.
Maxima - Queen consort of the Netherlands
I really love the nickname Max for a girl, and this is a unique route - it's never ranked in the top 1000, and it's all-but-unheard of in English-speaking countries. It's the feminine version of Maximus, "the greatest", and perfect for a confident young woman.
Luana - Countess of Orange-Nassau
This name is believed to have originated in a Hawaiian play, "Bird of Paradise", in 1912, and means "joyous" in Hawaiian. It's very light and pretty, which could be why it's charting upwards in Portugal. Next to Luna, Lena, or Lucy, why not Luana?
Zaria - Countess of Orange-Nassau
An excellent name with Arabic origins, Zaria is bright and accessible, while retaining its uniqueness. It means "rose", and could honor a familial Rose or Arabic family history. It's been on the top 1000 since 1996, but hasn't broken into the top 400.
Constantijn - Prince of the Netherlands
The Dutch variation of imperial Constantine, meaning "steadfast", might not work well in an English-speaking school - stick with the Constantine spelling. Nicknames might be difficult to come by - the only obvious one to me is Stan - but it's a very powerful first name, and could do well with a short last name. International variations Kosta or Costel add a little more edge.
Laurentien - Princess of the Netherlands
Interestingly Laurentien is a combination of her parents' names, father Laurens and mother Jantien. Both of their names come from popular Lawrence and John, so this could be a cool combo to honor older relatives. Others might see the name as a pretentious Lauren update, but I think the royal connection will make it more accepted.
Claus-Casimir - Count of Orange-Nassau
A hyphenated first name I haven't seen before - hooray! Claus comes from Nicholas, "victory of the people", and kids will love the literary connection to Klaus Baudelaire of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Second part Casimir dropped off the top 1000 in 1943, but I think it's ready for a comeback - an unusual foreign sound, a great meaning ("declaration of peace"), and the cool nickname Caz.
Tell me your favorite names in the comments!