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Some Dutch academics - I think probably full professors with chairs - have a rather confusing string of abbreviated titles.

One example is M.J. Plasmeijer, but many other examples can be found by searching for that string.

What do these titles actually mean, individually and collectively?

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It means they work in a country with a long aristocratic history and that they have a high opinion of themselves. – Cape Code Jul 8 '14 at 22:14
@Jigg True about the tradition, less so about the high opinion. It is listed as "Formally:" on that guy's site, and not with the primary display of the name. I think it's preferable to list your full title somewhere on your site (some people may need it for formal documents), even if you hardly ever use it yourself. – Angew Jul 9 '14 at 8:51
Academic titles become part of a person's legal name (so would have to be stated on certain documentation) in some countries (Austria is one, I believe); to see the full title is certainly not necessarily evidence that the person is boasting. – dbmag9 Apr 17 '15 at 18:19
up vote 19 down vote accepted

Here you go:

  • prof is short for professor.
  • dr is short for doctor, which signifies either MD or PhD.
  • dr. h. c. stands for doctoratus honoris causa, which is an honorary title.
  • ir stands for engineer (ingenieur).

In this case it means a professor (with a PhD) with an engineering background, who got an honorary title at some point.

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@ThorstenS. And searching further, I can find plenty of references to a Marinus Jacobus Plasmeijer, where the initials would be M.J., and Marinus can easily be shortened to Rinus. Is that convincing enough? – hvd Jul 9 '14 at 0:04
@hvd Hands down, I am convinced. – Thorsten S. Jul 9 '14 at 0:05
I would add that drs. should not be confused with dr. This title, the Doctorandus, simply means that the holder is entitled to begin PhD research. – Moriarty Jul 9 '14 at 18:19

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