National Jan Day, celebrated on June 17, commemorates the distinguished European name, Jan, used for boys and girls. Jan is a popular choice in Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Germany, as a first and middle name. There’s no shortage of famous men and women who have shared this name, including politicians, scientists, musicians, and actors. ‘Jan’ is the anglicized version of ‘John’ and may also serve as the short form of Janice or Janet. The name’s versatility is its strongest suit. Aside from Europe, the name appears in Afrikaans and Kazakh dialects proving its long history and widespread popularity.
History of National Jan Day
Norwegian soldier Jan Baalsrud is a war hero and figure of legend from the Second World War. Baalsrud, born in 1917 in modern-day Oslo, is famous for serving in a Norwegian resistance unit, fighting in Vestfold, and getting convicted of espionage in Sweden. The seasoned commando, who trained with the British, cemented his status as a legend after swimming through ice-cold Arctic waters, evading capture by German soldiers for several weeks, and shooting a Gestapo officer with his pistol. Baalsrud passed away in 1988, but he remains a national figure in his home country, Norway. He has a street named in his honor, and Norwegians celebrate him every July 25 in the town of Troms.
Jan Akkerman, a Dutch guitarist, is best known for being a member of the music group Focus. Akkerman was born in Amsterdam and raised by iron scrap traders. A gifted musician from an early age, he studied music at the Amsterdam Music Lyceum for five years, where he groomed his arranging and composition skills. At 14, Akkerman joined his first band, Johnny and his Cellar Rockers, recording his first song in 1960. He later formed Focus with friend Thijs Van Leer, making progressive rock music hits like ‘Hocus Pocus’ and ‘Sylvia’ in the 1970s. Akkerman released his solo album “North Sea Jazz” in 2013.
Janice Brewer, better known as Jan Brewer, served as the 22nd governor of Arizona for seven years. Brewer, born in California, attended the Glendale Community College in Arizona, where she studied radiological technology. Brewer served as a state senator and representative from 1983 to 1996 and became the governor of Arizona in 2009. Under the Obama administration, she introduced sweeping tax reforms and economic initiatives. Brewer retired from politics in 2015 after her term came to an end.
National Jan Day timeline
Jan Lucembursky becomes the King of Bohemia.
Baalsrud of the Norwegian resistance movement heroically evades capture by the enemy after a mission gone wrong in German-occupied Norway.
Country singer Jan Howard gets nominated for ‘Best Female Country Vocal Performance.’
Jan Brewer becomes the third consecutive female governor of Arizona.
National Jan Day FAQs
Is Jan a boy or girl’s name?
Jan is a boy’s name but can be used as a girl’s name in some rare instances.
Why do Afghans say Jan after a name?
‘Jan’ is the Persian word for “soul.” It’s also used as a diminutive suffix attached to names and titles and means “[my] dear.”
Is Jan a Chinese name?
The last name Jan is popular among overseas Chinese populations worldwide. In actuality, Jan is a transcription of numerous Chinese last names. Its meaning varies depending on how it is spelled in Chinese and in which dialect it is pronounced.
National Jan Day Activities
Read about Jans Baalsrud
Baalsrud’s exploits during World War Two made him a folk legend in Norway. Read about his sensational missions, lucky escapes, and the work he did after the war.
Listen to Jan Akkerman
Akkerman’s music is described as supremely gifted. Bands like Iron Maiden and Marillion have covered his songs. Give them a listen on National Jan Day.
Explore King Jan’s history
King Jan Lucembursky, also known as John of Bohemia, was a legendary monarch who died in battle aged 50 after having gone blind for a decade. Dive into the life story of Lucembursky and learn a bit about Bohemian history.
5 Amazing Facts About Famous Jans
The guitar wasn’t his first love
Akkerman first played the accordion before settling on the guitar.
The Jan who beat the odds
Baalsrud battled frostbite, starvation, and gangrene to make it through World War II and return home as a hero.
A tribute to her heritage
Brewer’s grandparents were Norwegian immigrants, pointing to the ancestry of her first name.
The artistic Jan
Country music singer Howard also dabbled in poetry and wrote an autobiography.
Jan’s bohemian reformation
Czech theologian Jan Huss is credited with starting Hussitism, the predecessor of Protestant Christianity.
Why We Love National Jan Day
It’s short and sweet
Jan is a short, simple name. A good choice for a name that will stand out subtly.
Jan is an incredibly versatile name. It works for boys and girls as a complete name and a nickname.
It’s got a rich history
The name carries a lot of weight. Jan is even used to refer to cross-sections of European society and has found its way into many expressions.
National Jan Day dates