From clean, simple furniture to hygge — the Danish lifestyle concept that encompasses all things cozy and content — we’re pretty much in love with all things Scandinavian. And according to recent trends, that love extends to Scandinavian baby names as well.
Whether you’re looking to honor your Nordic roots or just love the sound of names hailing from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland, we’ve compiled a list of the coolest Scandinavian baby names to warm up to. And hopefully, you’ll find something you and your partner can agree on … even when you’re going through the strain of assembling that IKEA crib.
In Scandinavian languages, the letter “J” is pronounced like a “Y” (just look at Johan as an example!) so technically this one’s pronounced YOO-nee. But if you live in a predominantly English-speaking country where that pronunciation isn’t exactly common knowledge, using the hard J sound isn’t going to hurt anybody (and it might save your little Juni quite a bit of explaining throughout her lifetime). If you like the idea of this name but want to stay true to pronunciation, try Juna or Juno.
This name combines the Scandinavian tradition we love (it’s the Swedish and Norwegian short form of Margaret) with the trendy sound of names like Merit. There is also the option of Berit, which is a short form of Birgit.
In Sweden, you often find this name spelled “Ebba,” but the pronunciation is the same. It makes a unique — and definitely lesser-used — alternative to popular yet similar names like Abby and Emma.
This modern name is the Dutch equivalent of a name you’re probably very familiar with: Danielle! (Which, of course, is the feminine form of Daniel.) It would be a great way to pay homage to a special Daniel in your life if the name Danielle is feeling a little stale.
Ann and Anna have been popular names since … well, forever. But when it comes to Scandinavian baby names, Annika is a diminutive of those names even though it’s longer. A diminutive is like an endearing nickname, like we might refer to a loved one named Ann as “Annie.” And whether you spell it with two Ns or one (as in Anika), it’s adorable.
There are so many possible ways to pronounce this name, too. MAY-lin, mah-LINN, MAL-lin … but traditionally, this Scandinavian baby name is pronounced MAH-lin. Swedish-born actress Malin Åkerman (who pronounces it the traditional way) helped bring this name into American consciousness.
In Norse mythology, Freya is the equivalent of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. It’s been steadily gaining ground on the U.S. Social Security Administration’s baby name popularity charts for the last few years, currently standing at #266. You can also spell it Freyja or Freja, though again, this may cause some confusion with that “J” thrown in. The traditional J-spelling, Freyja, is at #3 right now on Iceland’s charts!
Both Norway and Denmark have prominent female figures with this name: Mette Frederiksen is the Prime Minister of Denmark, and Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby is the Crown Princess of Norway.
We have Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus to thank for this beautiful name. When he discovered what is more commonly known as the “twinflower,” he named it after himself: Linnaea borealis. From that, we get Linnea.
RELATED: The Best Botanical Baby Names
English speakers will intuitively pronounce this one THOR-ah, partially because we’re used to words like “thanks” and “thought,” but also because actress Thora Birch pronounces her name that way. Technically, though, it’s TOR-ah. Either way, it’s the feminine form of Thor, who was the Norse god of thunder, so it’s a badass name no matter how you say it.
This one also has a couple of possible pronunciations: the most accurate Scandinavian pronunciation is like “lottery” without the “ry,” but English speakers may be more inclined to pronounce it “Lottie.” Either way, it’s cute and unique, and would be a great diminutive of the increasingly-popular Charlotte.
Like Elaine, Helena, Alena, and Laney, Elin is a form of the ancient Greek name Helen — the Scandinavian form, that is. Model Elin Nordegren brought the name to the United States popularity charts in 2006.
This name originated in German, as a diminutive of Margarethe. But thanks to famous Swedes like legendary screen actress Greta Garbo (born Greta Gustafsson) and teenage climate change dynamo Greta Thunberg, it has a distinctly Scandinavian feel.
Janne is a diminutive, a “pet” form, of a longer name — in this case, Johan or Jan. So it’s basically like Johnny, but with a Scandinavian flavor. And also like Johnny (or Johnnie!) this one is suitable for all genders.
With the popularity of other Alexander-derivatives like Xander and Zander, this makes the perfect alternative. Funny how changing the “distinctive” X or Z into something more simple like an S actually makes this name more unique! If this is still too close to its uber-popular counterparts for comfort, there’s also Anders, another Scandinavian baby name with a similar sound (though it has a different root name).
This one is the Scandinavian form of Laurence, but it feels so much more approachable these days than Larry. Its medieval diminutive was Larkin, which could also be cute — or its shorter form, Lark.
While Kyle peaked in 1990 and Lyle sounds like your grandpa, Nyle (which is the Scandinavian version of Neil) has a fresher sound to it — maybe because it’s pronounced like the river Nile, and place names are really hot these days.
Norwegian and Swedish nobility have long borne this name, which means “the greatest.” But if you feel like this is too big a name for your little guy — at least while he’s growing up — there’s the possibility of calling him the much friendlier-sounding diminutive, Gus.
Remember Janne? Like that name, this one is another diminutive of Johan or Jan, but it’s a little less unisex. And you can use Nick as a short form if you want a Danish name, but feel that Jannick is a little too overtly Scandinavian for everyday use.
Though this is not a new baby name by any stretch of the imagination, it has a contemporary feel thanks to its trendy K and close proximity to popular names like Carson and Carter.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you might like this one: it is the Scandinavian form of the Roman family name Severus … as in Severus Snape!
Jonas is the Scandinavian version of the Biblical name Jonah, and Biblical names have been in style for centuries (just look at Noah, which has been at #2 on the popularity charts for the past two years, and at #1 for the four years before that).
This is the Latinized version of the Danish name Tyge, and it was most famously borne by the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. So if you’re into stars — and the nickname “Ty” that doesn’t come from Tyler or Tyson — this name might be perfect for your little guy.
Speaking of stars, the meaning of this name sometimes gets muddled — because the similar-sounding female name Stella, of Latin origin, means “star.” But Stellan is said to stem from the Old Norse word stilling, which means “calm.”
The medieval Danish form of the Biblical name Absolom, this has a much more modern sound, and the “X” brings it into trendy territory. And if you wanna get a little edgy, you can always just call him “Ax” for short.
This Scandanavian name means “god is beautiful” and is an homage to Ing, the Norse god of peace, prosperity, and fertility. Love the name and want a nickname variant? Many Ingrids are called Inga for short.
This gorgeous Scandanavian name for girls means “divinely beautiful” and has a classic old lady name ring to it. The good news is that old lady names are coming back in style, so your little Astrid will be in vogue.
As in, yes, “Anders’ son” or “son of Anders.” Although this patronymic name really shot up in popularity in the 2000s (perhaps due to Anderson Cooper?), it peaked in popularity all the way back in 1880.
These Scandinavian baby names are unique enough to stand out, but at the same time, they’re familiar enough not to fall into the “weird names” category. You’re sure to find one that’ll fit your little cutie like a Norwegian sweater.
Calling all Friends fans — this name is the Scandinavian variation of Gunther. Also spelled Gunnar, it means “bold warrior.”
For baby name inspiration, advice, name meanings and more, check out Scary Mommy’s baby name database!
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