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Scandinavian Names: Rising Stars and Rare Gems

Scandinavian Names: Rising Stars and Rare Gems

Just as the Nordic countries give us lifestyle and decor inspiration, so too do many parents turn to Scandinavian names for cool, tailored options.

Why choose a Scandinavian baby name? You may want to honor family heritage (there are estimated to be over 10 million Americans of Scandinavian ancestry), or be inspired by pop culture, whether that’s Frozen or Vikings or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Or maybe you just love the northernmost corner of Europe.

Here, we look at the best Scandi names that have already traveled abroad, and more that really should — plus the most popular baby names in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark today.

Popular Scandinavian Names

Despite their appeal, there are surprisingly few Nordic names at the top of the baby name charts. The most popular in the US is Axel, which ranked at number 76 in 2021. For girls, Freya is at number 152 and probably en route to the Top 100. (In England it’s already in the Top 10.)

Some Scandi names, like Eric and Kristin — and of course Karen — were hot in previous decades, but are too dated for most parents to consider now. Up-and-coming choices include Soren, Magnus, and Astrid: all rank among the most popular names on Nameberry, and are ones to watch in the next few years.

Here are the names with a Scandi flavor in the US Top 1000 — making them familiar, but certainly not overused.

Rare Scandinavian Baby Names

Let’s blow the secret: these are our favorite uncommon Nordic names — barely used outside Scandinavia — which we’d love to see go mainstream.

They include classics like Lars and Sigrid, names from Norse myth like Thor and Embla, spelling variations that look fresh to our eyes, like Kasper and Elin, and hot choices for parents in the Scandinavian countries today, like Emil and Ida — and we’ve got more of these below.

Top Baby Names in Scandinavia

Here are the top ten baby names in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

Popular Names in Denmark

Danish parents love short, feminine names for girls, and longer regal names for boys. International favorites like Emma and Oliver mingle with uniquely Danish choices like Malthe and Valdemar.

Top Baby Names in Sweden

Sweden’s top baby names have a pan-European feel, with just a few distinctly Scandi names like Astrid and Frans. There’s a strong trend for girl names ending in -LMA: Alma, Selma and Wilma all make the Top 10.

Most Popular Names in Norway

Norwegian parents also love both Nordic classics like Ingrid and Henrik, and internationally-popular names like Olivia and Noah. Norwegian spelling means that several names on the list have spellings that may feel novel and fresh to English speakers.

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. She has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at clare@nameberry.com