Immerseel is a toponym from the border region between what was once the heerlijkheid (seignory) of Wommelgem and the parish of Deurne only a short distance east of Antwerp.

The word is derived from “Imberts Seele” or the “farm of Imbert” and is Frankish in origin. When the knight Jan van Liere received the seignory of Wommelgem as a feudal holding from Jan I, Duke of Brabant in 1277 he built his castle on the land known as Immerseel.

After building his castle he took on the name Jan, Heer van Immerseel, a surname which was further passed on to his descendants.

The van Immerseel family played an important political and economic role in Antwerp. They served as Markgraven of and Burgemeesters of Antwerp and in the 16th century their descendants established a merchant company known as the Firma van Immerseel which had world wide trade activities.

The above information is a submission by the Van Immerseel researcher John Van Immerseel.

The research by the Van Immerseels has been richly rewarded and should serve as a sign post for every “Van” Something as they wonder about the origin of their surname.

That origin can be very obscure. It does not help when people restrict themselves to modern Dutch word meanings.

For example, consider the syllable “seel” in Immerseel. The word is from before the 13th century but not found in recent Dutch dictionaries or word lists.

A bit of research in early Dutch sources can be rewarding.


  1. Van Immerseel Luc
    Mon 23rd Sep 2013 at 4:31 am

    Very interessant !


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