I can only get health insurance by breaking the law


My last name is Stüvel. Apparently, this is very difficult for many programmers and testers to understand. Here are a few of the ways that my name is displayed by various applications:

  1. St??vel
  2. St�vel
  3. St++vel
  4. Stüvel
  5. Stüvel
  6. St\xc3\xbcvel
  7. St vel
  8. St☐☐vel
  9. St³vel
  10. StĂźvel
  11. StÃ╝vel
  12. St? <Input Name=
  13. St~vel
  14. StÃ☐üvel
  15. StÃOvel
  16. St?üvel
  17. your last name contains illegal characters

Names with accents are really common here in The Netherlands, and even more so in the entire continent of Europe. Many people from all over the world immigrate to The Netherlands, so every application in our country that requires a person to fill in their name should be equipped to handle at least European names.

Nowadays it gets so bad that I’m having trouble applying for health insurance! When applying, I have to fill in my name and other personal information on the insurer’s website. There is much money (and fraud) involved in health insurance, so they stress that you are obliged by law to correctly fill in your personal information. This is something I cannot do. When I give them “Stüvel”, they ask me to confirm that my name is “Stüvel”, which I cannot do by law. Then again, I am not allowed to give any other name than my real name, so “Stuvel” is out of the question - it is forbidden by law. In other words: I can only get health insurance by breaking the law.

Pretty please with sugar on top, accept that we live in a world that is made up of more than A-Z and design your systems for it. Unicode has been a published standard since 1991. Perhaps it’s a good idea to start using it.

dr. Sybren A. Stüvel
dr. Sybren A. Stüvel
Open Source software developer, photographer, drummer, and electronics tinkerer