The names they are a-changin’

Recently, a Frisian municipality decided to use Frisian names for the localities and streets, in stead of their Dutch versions. (Frisian is a language that is spoken in the province Friesland, in the north of the Netherlands.)

In some cases, this means only a little change in the street type; so for example, ‘Van Sytzamaweg’ is changed to ‘Van Sytzamawei’. In other cases the resemblance is only knowledgeable for people who know both Dutch and Frisian: ‘Spreeuwenstraat’ is changed to ‘Protterstrjitte’.

bordeaux_streetLanguage preference issues like this form one of the reasons why streets or localities get a new name. There are also some other situations: sometimes people give a street a new name because they want to remember someone; sometimes it is the reverse: they want to forget the person who was in the old name.

Name changes can also occur if two localities are merged into one locality; in such situations it can occur that two streets in the new locality have the same name; then usually one of them gets a new name, in order to prevent confusion.

In some towns the names of the streets are carved in stone, like in Bordeaux (the beautiful French town that you should not miss if you go to the Service National de l’Adresse in order to get your French address standardization tool certified). As it is not so easy to erase a name that is carved in stone, this leads to the situation that the naming history of the streets is rather visible. This could help delivering mail that is sent to outdated addresses.

However, even in Bordeaux they have stopped carving names in stone. So it seems better to invest in a good data quality solution, that is able to replace the out-dated names by their new versions.

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