One of the flexibilities that many of us feel that we have in our name is whether or not to put a space after the "n" in "van". This flexibility seems to cause a lot of discussion, both within the family and without.

So what is the proper way?

Because "van" originates from the Dutch word "from", the proper way is probably to put the space in. However, anyone who has had their name filed under "B" at the hotel, the DMV, or on a class list, soon learns to remove the space on official forms or reservations. I find that when I have to spell my name with all capital letters, I always use a space. That way the reader knows that the "B" in Blaricum is to be capitalized. When I use mixed cases, I run the "n" and "B" together so that the name is filed properly under "v."

Any other opinions?

One other observation:
In the phone books in Holland, the "van" is not used at all. The "v" section of the book would be way too big.

Revised: June 03, 2000