Baby Name of the Day: Hendrik

Hendrik

Henry is regal. Hendrix is rock royalty. This choice falls somewhere in between.

Thanks to Christy for suggesting Hendrik as our Baby Name of the Day.

Henry has been around for centuries. The Normans brought him to England, and the English have been ruled by an octet of Henrys. The French had five kings Henry, and there have been plenty of distinguished figures in the aristocracy, the church, and all realms of endeavor.

More recently, Henry has been a constant in the US Top 200, often ranking in the Top 100 and even making a few appearances in the Top Ten.

He’s an enduring classic, with oodles of spin-off names. A boy wizard made short form Harry stylish. Surname picks like Harris and Harrison are current, too.

But Hendrik and Henrik are largely overlooked in the US. Thanks to Danish royals, a Norwegian playwright, and a Swedish ice hockey star, Henrik feels like the Scandinavian option, while Hendrik feels more German. The line isn’t quite so clear and bright, though.

Likewise, you’ll find people answering to many surname forms of the name, including Hendricks and Hendrik and just Henry, too.

One of the appealing things about Hendrik is his -ik ending. For years, every boys’ name seemed to end in -n. Today, -r names like Asher and Gunnar are joining Connor in classrooms across the US.

Other ends-in-ik options include:

  • Alaric
  • Cedric
  • Derek
  • Eric
  • Frederick
  • Malik
  • Patrick
  • Vick

Add in foreign names, ends in -ek diminutives like the Slavic Darek or Janek, and old school choices like Theodoric and it is an electic bunch. It is easy to imagine parents gravitating to the sound in search of something just a little different.

Notable Hendriks include:

  • South Africa’s Hendrik Verwoerd was once lauded as first prime minister and prime mover in the establishment of the Republic of South Africa. As he’s also known as the “architect” of apartheid, he’s not much inspiration for a child’s name;
  • Hendrik Lorentz won the Nobel Prize in 1902 for his work in physics. Albert Einstein’s work is built on the theories of Lorentz;
  • Both an asteroid and a crater on the moon are named after Dutch astronomer Hendrik van Gent;
  • Head to Amsterdam and you can see the works of early 20th century Dutch architect Hendrik Berlage.

There are more figures like these – appearing in history books, but far from household names. Throw in a few athletes and odds are that you’ll hear Hendrik worn at some point.

The question is whether he’d wear well on a child born in 2011. Rick is dated, but Hank is a Henry nickname on the rise. On sound alone, it is no stretch to imagine parents discovering Hendrik.

Hendrix seems likely to catch on, but he’s more Jaxon than Alexander – the x feels just a little bit flashy.

Hendrick falls somewhere in between – he’s different, but seems restrained and dignified. He could use short form Hank or Harry.

Maybe the biggest challenge with Hendrick is one shared by many international variants of well-established names: they retain their classic status, but you’re still stuck spelling and explaining them, just as if you’d plucked a name out of the clear blue.

And yet that’s part of his charm, too. Hendrik is just a little bit different – so if that’s what you’re searching for, he could be the perfect fit.

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14 Comments

I wouldn’t worry about the Verwoerd association too much, as Hendrik is honestly just a normal,popular name in SA. It’s more a matter of ONE man having a negative association compared to people actually thinking of Verwoerd every time it is mentioned. Most of the Apartheid ( and it’s said TATE at the end, not TIDE) people or presidents are referred to by the surnames . The first names aren’t that strong of an association with any of the presidents or politicians e.g. Nelson Madela is Mandela or Madiba etc Hope this helps.

Hendrik fits our family’s heritage, but I despise the -drik ending, that little “d” just turned a pleasant name into dreck. Besides that it feels like a surname to me because I’ve known several people with the surname Hendricks, Hendrickson and Henderick.
I’d prefer to use Henry, Harry, Heinrich or Henrik.

I have a friend named Hendrik, so I have positive associations with the name. It’s cool. I still like Henry a little better, but Hendrik has a nice ring and a slightly different flavor to it.

I know a little Hendrik, the son of a college friend. They chose the name to honor mom’s Swedish heritage, and I’ve never heard them use a nickname. Initially I kept confusing his name with Henrik and Hendrick, so I can see the potential spelling headaches.

Yay for ends-in-ik! Of course, we kind of overdid it with the heavy assonance in Alaric (Mark Patrick)’s name.

The one Hendrick I’ve known preferred to go by Drickie. Henrik, on the other hand, makes me think of hockey player Henrik Sedin (identical twin of Daniel Sedin — they refuse to work on a team unless they’re on it together). I’ve also known a Harrick.

Speaking of Harrick and Patrick and hockey, I once heard of a Hatrick – a younger brother to two older boys with H names. I always wondered about that one …

I too see some issues with correcting people that “it’s Hendrik, not Hendrix”. I personally like the Hendrik spelling over Hendrick.

I like Hendrik and I do think the -ik endings offer that something different. I also think that Hendrik is a name that anyone could use, even if you don’t have any German or Scandinavian ties.

I remember meeting a Hendrik back in 2005 or early 2006. He was an older baby / young toddler at the time. This was in the US, but I think his Mom was from New Zealand. I remember thinking the name was unusual, but close to Henry and Hendrix. I wonder if you’d spend a lot of time saying “It’s Hendrick, not Hendrix.”

Also I noticed that you spelled the name Hendrick *and* Hendrik – not sure if that was intentional or not. So I guess you may spend the child’s life having to spell it out, which is a down-side to me.

Ack! No, the Hendrick/Hendrik was me not proofreading well … but yes, a good point that it would likely be an ongoing issue!

Hendrick’s neat-o! I could never, in a million years, use it. It was the surname of my 4th grade “boyfriend”. Richard was his first name. What a sweet guy he was. He moved that summer and I’ve not seen him since.

But Hendrik’s got a cool sound, a neat look and a load of fabulous nicknames. Am I the *only* one who hears “Rick” and thinks “Casablanca”? Rick’s Cafe American (minus accent marks because I’m lazy). I don’t think Rick’s that dated. Add in all the Henry nicknames and Hendrik turns up a winner in my book!