Not too long ago I was asked to look into gender neutral names for SCA members who are interested in developing a Dutch persona and have a name for both male and female.
I hit the archives almost immediately, because this is an interesting and important question! I managed to find 3 names so far but I hope there are more, so this could become a project! Feel free to contact me if you have a specific question.
The name Floor can come from one of these 2 names, Flora or Floris (in turn those come from Saint Florentius). Floor, however is also registered just like that for both boys and girls.
In our capitol Amsterdam, I found 2 baptisms (1 May 1567 and 2 November 1572) of children called Floor. It is not clear whether we are looking at boys or girls here.
In the pretty town of Enkhuizen, I found the baptism of a boy Aris on 1 October 1595, whose mother was called Floor Aris.
In the town of Vianen, I have found a wedding entry where the groom is called Floor Henricxz and the bride is called Maerijken Claes Cornelisz on 23 October 1603.
The pronunciation of Floor is, well… you’ve probably guessed it: simply Floor; like in English. I do not know if this is the kind of name you’d like to use, but it can at least be used for all.
Leen can come from Helena or from Leendert, a Germanic boys’ name meaning ‘strong as a lion’. Leen just like that is also common between the years 1500-1650.
Here, we have a mother listed as Leen, when her daughter Lisbeth in den Bocht is baptised in Venray on 29 May 1610.
In the town of Oudewater (read my post about that gorgeous place here), we have a father named Leen Claessen, who has his daughter Neeltgen baptised on 30 November 1610.
And again, in the town of Enkhuizen, on a cold wintery day (24 Jan 1580) we have a bride named Leen Cornelisdr van Egmont, marrying her beau Pieter Luitgesz.
The name Leen, for you English speakers, is pronounced as Lane. This could be something for you!
The name Luijt/Luit can come from the instrument lute or from the Germanic Lude, meaning people. For women, the name Luijtgardis/Ludgardis can also be found. The sources are unclear which is the origin of the name Luijt, but I can tell you the name Luijt is common in The Netherlands between 1500-1600.
In the pretty town of Hoorn (I feel like a tourist guide folks!) I have found the baptism of a little girl named Anna, on the 27th of December 1583. Her father is Luijt Jansz and her mother is Reijnu Pieters.
Also in Hoorn, on 1 September 1577 a lady named Luijt Fredericksdochter van Embden registers with the Lutheran church.
The name Luijt is probably the most difficult to pronounce. The double consonant U + I is tricky. You could settle for LUTE.
Please make sure you contact me if you have questions. I will continue to look for more gender neutral names, but if you have a request, just say so.
Updated 26 October 2021
Hi all, I have done more research on this topic and I have found 2 more names that would work for all.
Yep, you are reading this right. The name An was used for both male and female. Make sure you spell it like this: A+ N
Here is exhibit A:
The picture on the right is the baptism of a boy named Cornelis. The baptism is from Amsterdam and is dated 17 December 1569. The father is called An Winkis.
The picture on the left is also a baptism. The boy is named Dirck. The baptism is from Hoorn and is dated 21 May 1595. The father is called An Asmesz.
But, as it happens, there were also women named An.
Here is exhibit B:
On 9 February 1566 a boy is baptised named Lambert. The father is Lucas Lambertsz and the mother is An Isbrans.
Amsterdam is a big city, even in those days. This means the archives are better as well, compared to other towns and regions going back to the middle of the 16th century. There are 292 registrations of women named An in Amsterdam. Can’t list them all here, but you know now that they existed.
Here is another gem. In the month of May 1565, a couple named Otte Tiaertzs and his wife An settled in the town Molkwerum in Friesland:
In the year 1577 a bride named Auck Attis marries her Jan Cornelisz. van Amersfoort. The day and month aren’t legible anymore, but here is the entry in the church books.
In 1570 two ladies go to a notary to have it in writing that one is lending 25 guilders to the other. That is a nice amount of money! In this day and age it would be around 1700 euros (source: International Institute of Social History). The lender is Auck Jelles.
But there were also men named Auck. On 17 July 1583 a man named Auck Henrickszen had his daughter Hendrickgen baptised in the town of Hoorn.