Baby Naming Laws In Germany Posted by Constanze on Apr 29, 2020 in Culture
Guten Tag! Today I thought we’d look at Germany’s baby naming laws.
Firstly, what is a naming law? A naming law places restrictions upon what parents can call their children. These differ from country to country, with some countries having more relaxed laws than others. For that reason, I thought it would be interesting to look at what the baby naming laws are in Germany.
In Germany, there are three rules when it comes to naming your baby:
- Previously, the rule was that a baby’s first name had to indicate their gender clearly, and if it didn’t, then either the name had to be changed or a second, gender-specific name had to be added. However, this is no longer the case, and names can be gender-neutral.
- Your baby’s name cannot be a surname, product, or object.
- Lastly, you cannot name your baby anything that might negatively affect them when they are older.
All babies’ names in Germany must be approved by the Standesamt (German civil registration office). If the name you choose gets rejected by the Standesamt, you can either appeal this decision or pick a new name.
Most German parents pick simple names because these are guaranteed to be accepted, thus making the process quick and hassle-free. If one or both parents are from a different country and opt for a name native to their home country, then the relevant foreign embassy will be consulted for this name.
Baby names that have been previously rejected in Germany include: Matti (gender not clear), Kohl (possibly because it’s a surname, or because it means cabbage), Stompie (gender not clear/not clear as a first name), Osama bin Laden (will negatively affect child), and Adolf Hitler (will negatively affect child).
In Switzerland the rules are similar, with a few extra ones. For example, Swiss babies cannot be named after brand names; biblical villains; or place names. Previously rejected names in Switzerland include Judas (biblical villain), Chanel (brand), Paris (place), Schmid (surname) and Mercedes (brand).
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