Capitals and lower-case letters

Foto van studerende student in de Universiteitsbibliotheek

Capitals are used in four instances: at the beginning of each sentence, in order to indicate a name, as an expression of respect and often in abbreviations.

 Upper caseLower case
Please use as seldom as possible, but if you do, always apply full stops.
In a formal text, write out in full. [1]
e.g., c.c., p.t.o., c.q., etc., no., p. 24. (plural pp.),

ed. (editor) – plural eds (no full stop) [2]

Communication equipment
  • TV
  • PC
  • CD, CD player
  • CD-ROM
  • DVD, DVD player
  • USB-stick
Organisation (parts),
companies and agencies
  • EUR
  • NATO
  • EU
  • department
  • office
  • capacity group
  • division
Types of school and class;
types of student
  • havo, vwo, hbo, wo
  • hbo-bachelor, vwo-6, havo-5
  • vwo-scholier, wo-student, havist, vwo’er [3]
School subjects
  • English
  • Dutch
  • mathematics
  • chemistry
  • biology
  • Economics
  • Business Administration
  • Sociology
Geographical names
  • The Hague, Gelderland, the Netherlands
  • South Africa
Names of buildings
  • T-building, Euromast
Names of languages, public holidays, eras and historical events
  • Russian, French
  • Christmas
  • the Middle Ages
  • World War II
Names of persons and personal names used as a brand
  • God, Allah,
  • Desiderius Erasmus,
  • the Erasmus Prize
In titles of books, brochures, dissertations, theses, the first word is capitalised, as are all other principal words (i.e., everything except articles, prepositions and conjunctions) – unlike in Dutch, where the first word only is capitalised. [4]
  • Mainport of Knowledge
  • Facts and Figures
  • The Music of the Netherlands in the Nineteenth Century
(do not use EUR)
XXeuro (to be written after the amount).
Example: 1 euro, 15 euros. Symbol € to be written before the amount with a space.


  • Whenever an external organisation has adopted an acronym for its name, it should be used. Examples: Sdu, AutoRai, Benelux.
  • Every sentence begins with a capital letter.

[1] Example: approximately, et cetera
NB: Abbreviations new to the public are always written out in full the first time, followed by the abbreviation in brackets

[2] NB: if abbreviations end with the last letter of complete word no full stop is used (Dr) and a full stop is used if it doesn’t (prof.)

[3] If used at all in an English text, these terms should be italicized to indicate they are foreign. Better still, include the translation in chapter 10.

[4] For further conventions on titles and bibliographies, see > courses and training > all courses > references and citations

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