Double surnames to make a comeback in Switzerland

The Local Switzerland
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Double surnames to make a comeback in Switzerland
They could choose to have double surnames. Photo: Pixabay

The National Council accepted a motion allowing engaged couples in Switzerland to choose the surname they will take on after marriage.


People who married before 2013, could choose double surnames. Women especially used this formula to keep their maiden and married names, with or without a hyphen in between.

For the past 10 years, however, this has no longer been allowed, with both husband and wife free to choose each other’s names, or keep their original ones — but just one.

However, on January 24th, 2024, the Federal Council has come out in favour of allowing "married couples to once again have a double name composed of their two names and formed with or without a hyphen." 

Now, after months of deliberations, the National Council decided on Thursday to allow double surnames again.

“We want to give married couples a free choice in this matter,” said MP Philippe Nantermod from the Liberal-Radical (PLR) party.

How will this work?

Couples who opt for double-barrelled surnames can choose from various combinations.

For instance, a woman can keep her maiden name and add on her husbands, or they can both take on double surnames, either hyphenated or not.

Meanwhile, when marrying people with double names, couples must limit themselves to just two surnames - quadruple names will not be allowed. 


This rule will apply to the couples only; their children will not be able to have double names.

The parents would have to decide which of their names the child would carry.

The new regulation would apply retroactively to people who are already married. This means single-surnamed couples can request the civil registry office to change them to double-barrelled ones.

When will this rule go into effect?

The motion now goes to the Council of States. 

If green-lighted there, the reform will come into force in 2025 at the earliest.

READ ALSO: Can you have a double surname after marriage in Switzerland?



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