In Dutch, the word 'van' means from. It's quite common to see it as a prefix in Dutch last names: or 'van der' meaning 'from the' is also common.
My family heritage is Dutch but up until October 2010, I couldn't apply for dual citizenship. Despite my father's Dutch heritage, the fact that he became a Canadian citizen at age 22 and was not a Dutch citizen when I was born (even though my mother was a Dutch citizen at that time), meant that I could not apply for citizenship. Citizenship was through the paternal line and not the maternal.
There was a push in Holland that this sexist rule be changed and in October 2010 there was success. People like myself can now apply for citizenship through their mother's heritage under the special title of 'Latent Dutch' ('Latente Nederlanders'.
This process has not been simple and I just at the beginning of it still. I'm hoping that my blog posts might be able to help other people who might be wanting to apply as Latent Dutch also.
Thursday Journal with Neet
1 day ago