What is the difference between Von and Van? - ProProfs Discuss
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What is the difference between Von and Van?

Asked by R. Barnes, Last updated: Jun 04, 2022

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S. Barnes

S. Barnes

Driving down to Knowledge town

S. Barnes
S. Barnes, Chauffeur, Graduate, Seattle

Answered Dec 04, 2020

Von and Van are words used as prefixes in both last name and surnames in most European countries. The prefix Von has a German root. The usage of the prefix Von started in Germany and was used by people until the Middle Ages.

During this period, all members of the prominent family used “Von” as a prefix before their surname. The reason for the addition of “Von” is to reveal their status. However, citizens from countries like Russia and Austria also use the prefix, Von, when writing their surname.

Van, on the other hand, has a Dutch root. The usage of Van is not only peculiar to the notable families, common people can also use Van as a prefix to their surname. It is also common to see people using Van to show geographical location. At times, when Van is attached to a surname without any space in between, it is just a modern way to convert the Dutch name to English.

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M. Porter

M. Porter

Here to relax my mind a bit

M. Porter
M. Porter, Senior Executive, Master of Art, San Jose

Answered Oct 22, 2020


Van and von are two of the types of surname prefixes that are in those with European surnames. Van means from, while von means for. One of the differences between them is the origin of each of the names. Van has a Dutch origin.

When Van is used, it is normally attached to the surname and it can help identify where a person is located or came from. An example of Van is with Van der. Von has a German origin. It was popular during the middle ages and was used by noble families. Over time, it has transformed into being used by commoners.

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B. Denton

B. Denton

Who wants to travel all the world and capture all the moment in his camera.

B. Denton
B. Denton, Traveler, journalism, Greater Manchester

Answered Oct 15, 2020

The surname prefixes von and van are often found in European surnames or people of European descent. The meaning of von and van is said to be of or from. Historically, most surnames are procured from different areas or someone in their family, and it could also come from personal or physical characteristics, professions, or territory of origin.

Von is of German origin. All members of the noble families have used it in German countries until the middle ages. Von will also sometimes come from nobility or status. Van is of Dutch origin, and it is used by common folk, and quite often, it is found in common areas. It generally indicates a geographical location or place.

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I. Muller

I. Muller

I. Muller
I. Muller, Math Professor, North Carolina

Answered Oct 07, 2020

When you say “von” in German, this means “of” or “from” There are some people who know that this is a part of a German family name. This is something that can be used to indicate the type of lineage that the person may have.

There are some people who think that everyone who uses “von” will come from nobility but over the past years, this does not prove to be true anymore. There are also some people who use “van” for the Swiss and Dutch nobility. It can be very common to see the names of rich and famous people to have “von” and “van.”

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C. Marcus

C. Marcus

C. Marcus
C. Marcus, Content Developer, Washington

Answered Sep 16, 2020

Van and von are surname prefixes that are found in European surnames; there are also other prefixes in other European languages, and countries like the French have prefixes like De, La, Le, Des, and Du. The Portuguese have prefixes like Da and Dos.

The Spanish have prefixes like Las, De, las, Del. and other European countries have prefixes too. Some people's surname was adopted from a different point of reference, which identifies them from others, from a person's father or ancestors, profession, physical characteristics, place of origin, etc.

Van and von are prefixed surname, which means from and for. Von is the German origin used by members of noble families in the middle ages after the middle age is have to be transformed to the common prefix in German that it is even used by commoners.

Van is Dutch in origin; it is used by common folks, and also it indicates a geographical location, and van is attached to the surname itself. The van can come in other forms, too, like Van der.

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M. Klose

M. Klose

M. Klose
M. Klose, Content Writer, Oakland

Answered May 05, 2020

Two prefixes that are usually used with European names are von and van, which meanings are of and from. These two are usually used with surnames (or last names). Surnames are frequently obtained from one's fathers on ancestor's name, place of origin or territory, profession, physical or personal traits.

A similarity between von and van is that they are used as glue between your surname and your given name. Von is generally used among the Germans, and it has been used by relatively all the noble families member until the middle age. On the other hand, the van is generally used among the Dutch.

Van is often used by any mere person in society, unlike von, which was first used only by the noble families’ members. Van actually indicates a place or geographical location, and it can even be used in elegant mansions and shops. However, von, to is now used by the common citizens in this present age.

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