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Robin finally correctly named

14 August 2003

In the Netherlands a "newborn parent" is obliged by law to report a birth to the local government within three days of the birth of the child. In the report are collected the names and addresses of his parents and of the person "turning the child in"! A child cannot have both of the surnames (familynames) of its parents, so they have to choose which name they will give their child(ren). If a surname has been chosen for the first child, all following children will have the same surname. For Casper we chose to use the familyname of Marjolijn, just because NAAFS is a lot less common than VAN DIJK (a little like SMITH in the English speaking world!). This means that Robin would have Marjolijns surname - by law automatically. At least, that's what we thought!


Three days after Robin was born I went to City Hall to report Robin as being my newborn son, and tell the local government what names we would like to give him. "He shall be named: Robin Peter Thabo Naafs," I proudly told the office clerk, a sweet lady, who when I asked if she would make a picture of me and Casper signing the documents, exclaimed: "What an honour. My husband never lets me go near any technical equipment, especially his camera!" I now know why! Not only did she get the pictures wrong, even worse, she got Robin's surname wrong! Only I didn't realize this until I got home and Marjolijn, who had warned me this would go wrong, said: "How nice, Robin is a van Dijk like you, and not a Naafs as he should've been!" I looked at the birth certificate, and yes, the office clerk had gotten it wrong. Even after having filled in the name by hand on a form (stating the surname should be "Naafs"), doublechecking the form as she had entered it into the computersystem, signing both copies of the entered form (which both said "Naafs" as surname), she managed to enter the wrong surname on the birth certificate. Now this is prohibited by law you would think, so the system shouldn't have accepted it. But alas, not all systems work in the way you wish. As this system of the local government. If I had tried to give Robin my surname, I would have failed. But the office clerk has noone telling him/her that s/he is breaking the law!

Now this wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't been for the fact that the local government informs several institutions of the birth of Robin with the data of the birth certificate. All these institutions now receive the wrong surname for Robin and can we call all these institutions to change his surname. Fun huh? But it gets worse!

I went back on Monday to inform them of their mistake. Luckily (or not?) I got the same lady as on the Friday. Her first reaction to me saying there had been a mistake in the registration was: "But that's not possible!" I know, but you got it wrong anyway lady! I explained what I thought had happened, but still she refused to believe that she'd made a mistake. Anyway, she said that she would go get the first form I'd filled in and check that. "Go your gang", I said. After some time she came back, not really flushed in the face, but a little agitated. She admitted I had filled in the form correctly and that there had been a mistake from her side. She would correct the mistake in the computer after I had left that afternoon, no later than the next day, she promised. Then she made another mistake. She gave me a new birth certificate! Fine by me, at least then I had an official document finally stating that Robin was a Naafs and not a van Dijk. But what she did was illegal. You cannot hand out a birth certificate with data that is NOT deduced from the birth registry, which was what she at that instance did. She hadn't changed the birth registry but gave me a new certificate based on changes she would do in the future. A big no-no! I left a happy man, thinking she would keep her promise. But as it turns out, even local government office clerks cannot be trusted!

Three weeks later, yesterday that is, we got a letter from the central innoculation agency. The letter contained information on the planning for innoculations for Robin. But it was addressed to Robin van Dijk, NOT Robin Naafs. As you can understand we got quite frustrated about this. Marjolijn called the agency and asked if they hadn't received a mutation on the surname of Robin from the local government. This they hadn't. So Marjolijn called the local government asking why this hadn't been done. As we feared the mutation the office clerk had promised to do hadn't been entered into the birth registry. Marjolijn got quite upset and angry about this, but the person we got on the phone was very helpful. After a thorough explanation he promised to return our call when everything was fixed. One hour later we got the call. Everything was now OK (Robin finally got the surname he should've had all along) and he would send us a new birth certificate as insurance that the data really had been changed. Hopefully this person actually has changed the birth registry and not done the same thing as the lady who helped me! Have faith, have faith!

Posted by Sebastiaan Naafs - van Dijk | top

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  1.  posted:

    ... on 16 July 2024 @ 16:30