List of double placenames

List of double placenames

Double placenames prominently feature the placenames of two or more constituent geopolitical entities.

Such placenames are often created when two cities, provinces or other territories are amalgamated or merged, and a decision is taken to preserve the old names in double-barrelled form rather than invent a new name. This is often out of consideration for local sensitivities, since the smaller entity may resent its takeover, and may demand its symbolic perpetuation within an amalgamated name so as to propagate the impression of a merger between equals.



In their English forms, the conjoined names may have the following patterns:

The punctuation and capitalization practices in written English vary:

  • merging into one word without an intermediate space, e.g. Budapest
  • standing apart, e.g. Papua New Guinea
  • conjunction by hyphenation. While English-speakers are relaxed about using a hyphen or not, this punctuation once caused controversy between Czechs and Slovaks
  • CamelCase may sometimes be attempted, but many style guides recommend against this in formal English-language use.

Three-word names for two-part entities are often ambiguous. For example, it may not be clear whether North Rhine-Westphalia is an amalgamation between the north part of the Rhine Province on the one hand and Westphalia on the other (true) or the northern division of some pre-existing place called Rhine-Westphalia (false). While this problem does not arise in German, no entirely satisfactory punctuation of such names has been established in English. In the above case, the hyphen is often omitted because it is misleading. It has been proposed that this state's name be punctuated "North-Rhine/Westphalia" in English, but the solidus or forward slash is also ambiguous.


Some names have been merged and modified as an alternative to using hyphenation or grammatical conjunction:

False double placenames

Binomial placenames are not true double placenames, but elements in a hierarchical naming system. They are a means of distinguishing two entities which share a parent geographic feature. Examples:

They are often used for railway stations and airports:

  • King's Cross St. Pancras This is the London Underground station serving two separate London train tirminals, King's Cross and St. Pancras International train stations.
  • Paris - Orly Airport (one of two Paris airports)
  • Trenton-Mercer Airport (actually located in Ewing, outside Trenton, both in Mercer County)

Trenton-Mercer is an example of a marketing decision in which a small airport tries to associate itself with a larger city. Ryanair has been criticized for promoting names for airports unusually far from the city from which they are named, such as Paris Beauvais Tillé Airport (a triple name) and Frankfurt-Hahn Airport.

Binomial names may be seen in German language texts to denominate parts of towns:

  • Bergen-Belsen (the Belsen section within the municipality of Bergen: this form is now fixed in English when referring to the Nazi concentration camp and the present memorial there)
  • Berlin-Charlottenburg: the district of Charlottenburg, Berlin

The word "and" in its name does not always signify the union of two distinct territories:

In dual naming, words in two different languages have been joined by a hyphen or a slash to become the community's (or geographic feature's) official name, often because of language politics:

Similarly, places may simply have an official name which consists of two names, such as the Australian territory of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, which consists of the North Keeling Island and the South Keeling Islands.

Transitional names

Sometimes names will be concatenated during a name change. Zimbabwe Rhodesia was the name of the former Rhodesia and future Zimbabwe from June 1 to December 12, 1979.

Sovereign states

Non-sovereign entities

Dependent territories

Regions of states

States of federations

Seven regions of France, several federal subjects of Russia and some autonomous communities of Spain ( Castile and León, Castile-La Mancha) also feature two or more placenames conjoined by a hyphen or with the word "and" (or its translation).

Capital cities

  • Budapest formed in 1873 by the amalgamation of three former capitals, Buda and Óbuda (Old Buda) on the right bank of the Danube, and Pest on the left bank.

Former placenames

Includes defunct personal unions and dissolved political unions.

Triple placenames

Traditionally conjoined entities

Separate entities historically treated as one single unit by tradition or convention:

Smaller entities

United Kingdom


Northern Ireland



United States

Other countries

See also

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