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Danish first names

Are you looking for Danish boys’ or girls’ names for your baby, or want to know more about old family names? In Denmark, first names have several origins and, as elsewhere in the world, first names change over the centuries. There is a rich history, marked by the Viking period, a relatively slow Christianization, as well as rich exchanges and impactful wars, notably in the current territories of Sweden and Norway, for control of the North Sea and of the Baltic Strait, as well as in Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

Archaic first names

In past centuries, there were traditional rules for naming children in some Danish families. The first son was named after the paternal grandfather, the second after the maternal grandfather, the first daughter after the maternal grandmother, and the second after the paternal grandmother. It also happened that the first son or first daughter of the second marriage was given the first name of the deceased husband or wife.

Like other Scandinavian countries, and like Iceland even today, Denmark did not use surnames but patronymics: the father’s first name, followed by -sen for sons and -datter for daughters, became the children’s last name. The surname was therefore not passed down from generation to generation, the way a family name is today. At the beginning of the 19th century, a political reform imposed family names on the Danes, and some opposed it by giving their children multiple or very original first names!

Among the most common first names in Denmark today, there are short first names and many diminutives for women (Mette, Helle, Tina, Gitte, …). For men, biblical first names are more widespread than for younger generations (Peter, Michael, Jens, Thomas, Martin, …), but also much more typically Scandinavian first names (Lars, Søren, Morten, Jesper, Rasmus, …).

Original first names

Some Danish names are suitable for those looking for spelling variations of Scandinavian, German or English names, which are also often derived from Old Norse. But the Danes are less in favor of using completely original first names: if one of the parents is Danish, it is obligatory to give a baby a first name from a pre-established list of several tens of thousands of names. However, it is now easier for parents to have new names added to this list.

Popular first names

Every year, Danmarks Statistik publishes the list of the most popular baby names in Denmark. Thanks to our first name search feature, you will be able to know their origin, their popularity through the ages, and their geographical distribution! A similar page exists for surnames.

Danish girls’ first names

Here is the list of the 50 most popular Danish baby girls’ names in 2022. Click on each of these popular names to learn more:

Ella
Freja
Alma
Frida
Agnes
Luna
Ida
Nora
Olivia
Sofia

Emma
Clara
Asta
Alberte
Karla
Lily
Ellie
Anna
Ellen
Esther
Astrid
Isabella
Lærke
Josefine
Laura
Mathilde
Emily
Mille
Merle
Saga
Victoria
Aya
Maja
Marie
Vera
Leonora
Hannah
Vilma
Andrea
Liva
Liv
Elina
Lea
Molly
Gry
Eva
Johanne
Ingrid
Rosa
Emilie

Among the 50 most popular first names, we find first names from Norse mythology. For example, Liva and Liv derive from the Old Norse Lif, meaning Life, the name of the woman destined to survive Ragnarök to repopulate the world. We also find names of Latin or Italian origin (Emilie, Victoria, Clara, Isabella), Greek (Sofia, Ida), biblical first names (Josefine, Eva, Esther, Lea), first names of Germanic origin (Emma, ​​Alberte, Matilde first names evoking animals or natural phenomena (Lærke, Merle, Luna) or even diminutives of different origins (Vilma, diminutive of Vilhelmina; Ellie, derived from Elisabeth).

Danish boys’ first names

In the list of the 50 most popular boys’ names in 2022 in Denmark, we obviously find first names from Old Norse such as Valdemar, first name of a medieval king of Denmark, or Aksel, another name of the Danish bishop Absalon. There are also Latin first names (August, Emil), but also first names of Germanic origin (Karl, Konrad), or even American first names or those used in the United States (Eliott, Noah). Oscar, a first name of Irish origin like Liam, became popular in Scandinavia after Napoleon chose it for his godson, who became King Oscar I of Sweden. Others are old diminutives, like Malthe, derived like the German first name Helmut from Helmhold, or from names starting with Mahal (assembly).

Here is the list of 50 popular boys’ names for Danish babies in 2022:

Karl
Emil
Oscar
Malthe
Noah
Valdemar
Aksel
August
Oliver
Lucas
Alfred
Theo
Elias
Arthur
Otto
Elliot
Felix
Victor
Magnus

Hugo
Viggo
Matheo
Louie
Liam
Lauge
Anton
Theodor
Anker
Konrad
Nohr
Holger
Frederik
Alexander
Adam
Erik
Storm
Ebbe
Luca
Vincent
Albert
Pelle
Milas
Walter
Marius
Vilhelm
Asger
Johan
Christian
Villads

What were the first names of your ancestors?

To obtain the list of first names mentioned in your family tree at Geneanet, click on the menu of your online tree then on “genealogical statistics”. The “first names” page will give you the complete list of your ancestors’ first names and the number of people with each of these first names in your ancestry. Geneanet Premium members also have access to illustrated statistics, including a donut diagram displaying the 10 most common first names in their family tree.

Donut diagram displaying the 10 most common first names in a family tree.
This statistics chart is from an online family tree at Geneanet.

Start discovering first names on Geneanet now!