By Linda Rosenkrantz
The list of Top 100 names in Sweden has just been released and it provides an interesting smorgasbord of food for thought, with a blend of internationally used names, Swedish names we’re already familiar with and others that are new to us but definitely exportable.
Let’s look first at the Top 10 girl names:
Yes, the Disney Frozen Snow Queen lands at the head of the list in Sweden. After decades in cold storage in the US, Elsa is rising rapidly here as well, thanks to the film and also to its similarity to Ella and other popular El-names. It’s now at 286, 197 on Nameberry, 50 in Spain and 104 in England.
Other familiar faces are Alice (Number 97 in the US), Ella (17), Lilly (124), Olivia (Number 2) and Julia (86), plus the less popular Wilma, which could conceivably make a comeback on the coattails of Willa.
More distinctively Swedish are Maja, the Scandinavian form of the Greek fertility goddess; Saga, which could be taken in this country as a literary word name a la Story and Fable; and Ebba, another attractive four-letter E name that could easily be adopted here.
Further down on the list are some other appealing choices:
Here are the Top 10 on the boy side:
Here again, an international menu, with only Axel betraying its Nordic/Germanic roots as the Scandinavian form of the biblical Absalom. Axel is experiencing an international explosion—it’s Number 145 in the US, 38 on Nameberry, and in the Top 50 in France, Mexico and Iceland, in addition to its eleventh place ranking in Sweden. Will Ferrell and his Swedish-born wife Viveca Paulin have a son named Axel (along with brothers Mattias and Magnus).
How do the other Swedish top boys’ names compare with their US rankings? Classic #1 William is the fifth most popular name in the US, Lucas is 19, Liam is Number 2, Oscar ranks at 183, Elias (just recently picked by Michael Bublé), Hugo is 438, Oliver, a top name in many English-speaking countries, is 32 and climbing, Charlie is 225 for boys and 229 for girls, and Vincent at 104.
Some other interesting high-ranking Swedish choices in the blue column:
Viggo—which is just starting to catch on here
Also worthy of note are some male names that are flourishing in Scandinavia but have shown no signs of returning here:
Do they stand a chance here?