Which app on my Android device tries to outsmart (read: ruin) my Outlook contacts?

Frequent Contributor

After my Windows Phone had to be replaced I was forced to use either iPhone or Android. I chose Android and am now using a Nokia 7 Plus for about 1 month. The following problem started when I switched to the Nokia, so I presume the cause is something on this device, but it could also be something else.


For years I carefully maintained my Outlook contact list and never experienced any problems. Though I am Dutch and live in The Netherlands all my software is set to the English language.


In the Netherlands names are separated in First name insert (tussenvoegsel) Last name. So, my name Michiel van den Broek is filled in forms like so:

First name: Michiel

Insert (tussenvoegsel): van den

Last name: Broek.

Alphabetically ordered by last name, it would be written as Broek, Michiel van den:


Broek, Michiel van den (Michiel van den Broek)

Dam, Willem van (Willem van Dam)

Waard, John de (John de Waard)


This prevents most of my contacts to be ordered under D (De, Der, etc.) and V (van, van der, van den, van de, voor, etc.).


To accomplish this in Outlook I use the Middle field:

First: Michiel

Middle: Van Den

Last: Broek


This has always worked well, although some software will ignore the middle field and will write Broek, Michiel... Dan, Willem, etc. But I was willing to accept this.


Now... since my use of Android some app is ruining my contacts, most importantly the name. It either is trying to outsmart and help me or it is just some wrong thing it should NEVER be allowed to do.


I installed the Outlook app on my Android device and switched the "sync contacts". This will show my outlook/exchange contacts in the Android Contacts app.... I also installed apps like WhatsApp and LinkedIn and allowed to sync their contacts to my main list.


Then I noticed that several contacts with "van" or "de" in their name to appear alphabetically under "V" and "D". On Android I could not figure out why as it links contacts from several sources and of course on Linked in the last name contains "Van Den Broek".


I more closely examined the contact in the Outlook desktop app and found out that most of my contacts are ruined! Something has added the insert (tussenvoegsel) to the last name, but left the insert filled. So John de Waard has "De" in both insert and last name, so in full name it became "John De De Waard". To make things worse. A name like Michiel van den Broek will add the "Van" to my first name and "Den" to my last name, so Michiel van van den den Broek will be ordered under "D"!


I cannot find out what is causing it. If it's the Outlook app or the Android contacts app. It happens at random to contacts. It seems unrelated to LinkedIn, cause it also happens to contacts that don't have a LinkedIn account.


At the same time with ruining the name, it also ruins the "Display As" field in Outlook, leaving only the email address instead of "John de Waard (johndewaard@outlook.com)"....


1 Reply

My only suggestion would be to turn off the WhatsApp and linkedin (and any other) syncing.  Create some dummy contacts in Outlook/Exchange and see if the issue still occurs.