Old Germanic origin.
It means “resolute protector”.
Dutch form of the name William.
The leader of the Dutch revolt against Spain, that led to the Netherlands independence was Willem of Orange, also known as Willem the Silent.
Alternative forms of the name are: Wil, Wim, Wilhelm, Will, Vilhelm.
Famous bearers are Willem Dafoe, Willem de Kooning, Willem Einthoven, Willem Barentsz.
American actor Willem Dafoe is an extraordinary bearer of the name.
He is a film and stage actor, a member of “The Wooster Group” experimental theater company and he appears in several critical acclaimed films, such as Mississippi Burning, Platoon, Born on the 4rth of July, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Aviator, Streets of Fire, etc.
A reminder of some of his best acting appearances, in the following short video.