Norwegian Baby Names: Happy (belated) Birthday, Henrik Ibsen!

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Last week was the birthday of Henrik Ibsen, the towering nineteenth century Norwegian playwright and poet who was one of the founders of Modernism in the theater.  Known for his realistic exploration of controversial social issues, his plays A Doll’s House  and Hedda Gabler are considered feminist landmarks.

Ibsen‘s twenty-six frequently produced plays are populated by a wide range of characters.  Those listed below offer an interesting selection of Norwegian names of that period (though a few are imports from other cultures), from the familiar (Ingrid, Nora, Finn) to those that are less known.



Anitra—Peer Gynt

AstaLittle Eyolf


Bolette—The Lady from the Sea


DagnyThe Vikings at Helgeland

ElineLady Inger

Ellida—The Lady from the Sea

FridaJohn Gabriel Borkman

HeddaHedda Gabler

HelgaPeer Gynt

IngaThe Pretenders

IngerLady Inger

IngridPeer Gynt

Kaja—The Master Builder

KirstenOlaf Liljekrans

LonaPillars of Society

MajaWhen We Dead Awaken

MargitThe Feast at Solhoug

MargreteThe Pretenders

Netta—Pillars of Society

Nevita—Emperor and Galilean

NoraA Doll’s House

Petra—An Enemy of the People


SigneThe Feast at Solhoug

SigridThe Pretenders

Sira—The Pretenders

TheaHedda Gabler

ThoraThe League of Youth



AndersThe League of Youth

BastianThe League of Youth

Bjørn–Lady Inger

FinnLady Inger

GunnarThe Vikings at Helgeland

IvarThe Pretenders

Jens—Lady Inger

Jörgen—Hedda Gabler

Jovian—Emperor and Galilean

KarstenPillars of Society

Knut—The Master Builder, The Feast at Silhoug

Maximus—Emperor and Galilean

NilsA Doll’s House, Lady Inger

OlafPillars of Society, Olaf Liljekrans


Torvald—A Doll’s House


Varro—Emperor and Galilean

Do you have a favorite Scandinavian name?

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13 Responses to “Norwegian Baby Names: Happy (belated) Birthday, Henrik Ibsen!”

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marypoppins Says:

March 25th, 2014 at 1:12 am

I quite like Scandinavian names in general. My favourites for boys are Rasmus and Pontus. For girls I Iike Pernilla, Linnea and Hilma.

miloowen Says:

March 25th, 2014 at 8:48 am

My grandmother was born in Bergen — and her mother was one of thirteen, with the following names: Berentine, Ottar, Ketil, Gudrun, Einar, Erling, Sofie-Katarine, Anna, and Solveig; all Ibsen era names. Growing up, I had cousins with names like Julianne, Kaj-Erik, Karl-Erik, Leif, Tobias, Thomas, Kristian, Janne, Kjersti, and Mai.

My favourite names include Solveig, Bertil, Ivar, Rune, Kai, Kirsten, Per, Magnus, Erling, Astrid (pronounced the Norwegian way), and Maud.

Saracita00 Says:

March 25th, 2014 at 9:18 am

Fun blog post today! Ragnar is my favorite Scandinavian name; it was our top boy name pick this pregnancy, but we had a girl. I also love Viggo and Leif for boys. For girls, Dagny, Sunniva, and Iverine.

ruolan Says:

March 25th, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Good timing on this one as I was just thinking about an impending trend for Norwegian names with the love of all things Frozen. I like so many of these!

Dantea Says:

March 25th, 2014 at 1:34 pm

I love so many Norwegian names, and names from the general area. I particularly like these from today’s post:

Anitra—I was in my German classes with a girl named Anitra 🙂
Aurelia– I like it under a different nationality
Signe—This one was in a combo until recently
Thea— but I like it under it’s Greek meaning


Anders—as a nickname
Bastian — we considered this once

Orangerolls Says:

March 25th, 2014 at 3:08 pm

My grandfather was of Danish decent and named Thorvald. It was shortened to Tom in the English speaking country I live in. We will probably use it if we have a boy.

QuizzicalZizzle Says:

March 25th, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristof, hehehe! (Frozen!)

Adriennejune Says:

March 25th, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Solveig for a girl, and Bjorn for a boy.

We live in Minnesota and I have met both Solveigs and Bjorns. I love these two names, and they are on the very top of my guilty pleasure list. I didn’t have the guts to actually use them for my kids. I am always trying to talk my very Scandinavian looking friends into using them though…I would love to see little Soveigs, Bjorns (and Leifs, and Kjerstis,…) running around the playground!

tuesdaytea Says:

March 25th, 2014 at 7:05 pm

I think it’s appropriate to name the two talented and funny Norwegian brothers that make up ‘Ylvis’ (“What Does the Fox Say?” fame) – Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker. I think both of those names are great!

Trix Says:

March 25th, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Viggo for boys, Eldrid (meaning ‘fiery spirit’) and Petra for girls

Fourthseason Says:

March 25th, 2014 at 8:37 pm

I had MANY MANY MANY Knute’s, Ottos, Ott’s and OLA’s in my family.

benjamelissa Says:

March 26th, 2014 at 7:32 am

My favorite Scandanavian name at the moment is Annika. I recently read Annika’s Secret Wish, by Beverly Lewis, to my boys. and I secretly wish for a girl. Don’t tell my husband.

Ginafrances Says:

March 27th, 2014 at 10:02 am

My sister in law is Norwegian & Cuban. She wanted first names that worked in English and Spanish and used the middle spot for the Norwegian names. My nephews names are Christian Aleksander and Lucas Anders.

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