Arrow Downward Arrow Downward Close Close Done Done Cart Cart clock clock
Personal guidance

We are always happy to help you! Contact us via e-mail or Whatsapp.

If you would like us to call you back, please provide your phone number and how you can be reached. We will be happy to call you for a personal consultation. WhatsApp

Surname Willems - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'W'

TITLE Surprising Discovery: An Unanticipated Blend of European Ancestry in My DNA Test Results

LEAD Embarking on an ancestral journey with the iGENEA DNA test, I discovered surprising twists in my bloodline. The Dutch origins of my surname, Willems, initially led me to anticipate a strong Northern European connection. However, the results opened a panorama of diverse ancestral roots, ranging from Central Europe to the Iberian Peninsula and even a touch of Eastern Europe!

M. Willems

read more

Willems: What does the surname Willems mean?

The last name Willems is a patronymic surname, meaning it is derived from the given name of a male ancestor. It is usually found in the Netherlands, especially in the Flemish region of Belgium, although there are some bearers of the name in other countries. In Dutch, the name Willems means "son of Willem". Willem is a Germanic name, derived from the words wil, meaning "will", and helm, meaning "helmet".

The surname Willems is also found among the Dutch ethnic minorities in Canada, Suriname, and the United States. It is most common in the Dutch provinces of Antwerp, Flemish Brabant, East Flanders, and Limburg.

The name Willems is likely to have originated in the Middle Ages, most likely in northern Europe. It was then used as a patronymic to distinguish between the sons of different patriarchs. Today, Willems is one of the most common surnames in the Netherlands and other Dutch-speaking regions, and its presence in English-speaking countries reflects the strong historical ties between the Dutch and British peoples.

The meaning of the name Willems holds an important role in Dutch culture, and it is the surname of many notable Dutch people in history. Examples include historical feminist Wilhelmina Drucker (1847-1925), politician Rogier Willems (1867-1941), and football player/coach Guus Willems (1909-1982).

Order DNA origin analysis

Willems: Where does the name Willems come from?

The last name Willems is primarily found in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, and parts of France. It is also common in the United States among immigrants from those countries.

In the Netherlands, Willems is the 15th most commonly occurring surname, and approximately 60,000 people bear this name. The original spelling was Willemse, but it was shortened over time. This name is derived from the given name Willem, which derives from a Germanic name meaning “will helmet”.

In Belgium, Willems is the 22nd most common name with approximately 30,000 people bearing this name. Its etymological origins are similar to the Dutch spelling. In Luxembourg, Willems is the 41st most common surname with about 3,500 people using it. The French variant, Guillaume, is also popular in Luxembourg.

In Germany, Willems is much rarer. Approximately 5,500 people use this name in Germany, and it is the 230th most common surname. In Austria, Willems is the 238th most common surname with around 2,000 people having this name. This surname is also found among certain German-speaking communities in France, where it comes in at around 1,400 people.

In the United States, Willems is used by a mixture of immigrants and descendants of immigrants from the European countries where this name originated. Its use is mainly found in the Midwest, particularly in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio. It is not among the top 1,000 surnames in the United States.

Variations of the surname Willems

The surname Willems is derived from the Germanic first name Wilhelm, meaning ‘determined protector’. Variants of this name have different spellings and surnames from different countries all over the world.

In Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and parts of France, the name Willem is spelled as Willems or Wilhelms. Other variants include Wilhelmi, Wilhelmus, Vilhelmi (in Finland) and Carmers (in Austria).

In the United States, the name is generally spelled as Williams, or occasionally as Willey, Willem, Willemsen or even Wilmerson. Other variations include Willemsma, Willemsmeyer, Wilms and Wilmot.

In the United Kingdom, variants for the name Willems include William, Wilks, Willy, Willmott and Willmot.

In Spain, variants include Guillermo, Guilemes and Guilmes, which is the Galician form of the name.

In Latin countries such as Italy, Portugal, Brazil and Mexico, the name is commonly spelled as Guillermo or Guillerme.

In Scotland, the Highlands and Western Isles variant of the name is Wilms.

In Eastern Europe variants such as Wilimovsky/Wilimowska, Wilkiewicz, Wilim, Velim and Vilimovsky are commonly found.

Different middle names may also be added, making the surname Willems vary even more. Examples include Willems van Bergen, Willemsen van de Waardenburg and Willemsen de Ruijter.

Famous people with the name Willems

  • Willem Dafoe: American actor, director, and producer perhaps best known for his role as the Green Goblin in the Spiderman franchise.
  • Willem van Hanegem: Former Dutch footballer and manager who made 11 appearances playing for the Netherlands national team.
  • Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands: King of the Netherlands since 2013.
  • Willem Jeths: Dutch composer and professor of composition at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam.
  • Willem Nijholt: Late Dutch actor, singer, and television host best known for playing the main role in the television program Het Klokhuis.
  • Willem de Kooning: Dutch-born American painter who was one of the leading figures in Abstract Expressionism in the 1940s and 1950s.
  • Willem Bussing: Dutch physicist and historian of science, best known for his research into the history of astronomy and mathematics.
  • Willem Smit: South African swimmer who won a bronze medal in the 200m butterfly at the 2012 London Olympics.
  • Willem Drost: Dutch painter and printmaker who was a student of Rembrandt's and a notable influence on other Dutch painters in the late 1600s.
  • Willem Geubbels: Notable French footballer who currently plays for French club Olympique Lyonnais.

Other surnames


Write comments or make additions to the name "Willems"

DNA Test Discount Today