Ilias Eoin Linus Xavier Macdonald

Our difficulties with choosing names for our children are well documented. If reading that gives you a sense of déjà vu, that’s hardly surprising, because they’re actually really well documented.

This was almost the hardest decision we’ve ever had to make, to my mind surpassed only by the deliberations that surrounded deciding whether or not to buy our current home a few years ago.

We’ve had a good idea what the baby’s first name would be for several months, regardless of a male or female outcome, but the cerebration regarding the other names continued through the weekend, the result of which was that one final change was instituted late yesterday afternoon. For us, girls are easier to name than boys. We don’t really understand why that is so, but it’s definitely true for both Sarah and myself. As such, we had quite a firm idea of the additional names we would bestow on a girl, whereas our options for a boy were much more provisional.

When Sarah and I awoke this morning, we had no further doubts and thus knew that we had finally arrived at our new son’s name.

The Dutch sun must have been waiting for August, because the transition from July has seen the weather here dramatically improve. Today is a beautiful, sunny day.

Once I’d seen to the morning’s immediate chores, I biked over to the stadsdeelkantoor on the President Kennedylaan and registered the birth of our latest offspring. Today is the our final day to do so without risking the wrath of the Dutch bureaucratic hydra, so I wanted to be there well before closing time. It was very busy, probably because a lot of their staff are now away on their holidays.

Whereas Lucas was given a hooded bath towel for the achievement of being born, Ilias’s gift was a cuddly toy in the same I Amsterdam theme. The gift was accompanied by a card emblazoned with the message Welkom nieuwe Amsterdammer! (Welcome, new Amsterdammer!). The text on the other side, loosely translated, reads:

Dear parent,

The city has gained a new Amsterdammer! Congratulations on the birth of your child. And with this birth gift, I would like to welcome your child to our city.

Amsterdam is a vivacious, idiosyncratic and colourful city. We feel it’s important that your child grows up healthy and makes use of the facilities that the city has to offer, playing with friends, actively participating at school, taking part in sports, dancing or making music. Together with you, we’ll work to make this happen.

I wish you and your child a bright future,

The mayor of Amsterdam
Eberhard van de Laan


It’s the little things in life that count, don’t you think? I think it’s a nice touch that new babies (and their parents) are welcomed to the city in this way. It promotes a sense of belonging.

The outside of the house is decorated with blue streamers and a couple of large plastic storks, so no-one in the neighbourhood can be in any doubt that our family has gained a new member. Most people are probably on holiday, anyway.

I took care of Ilias’s health insurance this afternoon, adding him to our family’s policy. Hopefully he won’t be causing me to make any claims on it for the foreseeable future, but it’s good to take care of such details as soon as possible.

Time, now, to turn my attention to more photos. Yesterday’s photos are already on-line.

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