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Danish names: The ultimate Danish name guide

Intrigued by Danish names? We get it. Denmark is an incredible country, packed with unique stories, history, and culture. It also happens to be one of the best places in the world to go searching for amazing Scandinavian names. 

For parents in search of inspiration from their Nordic heritage, or people just intrigued by the unique sounds created by Scandi monikers, Denmark is a treasure trove. 

You’ll find amazing titles here from all over Scandinavia, as well as plenty of titles borrowed from Norse, Finnish, Swedish, and Icelandic.

The most popular Danish names can bring a sense of hygge into your household and remind your child of where their ancestors come from. Alternatively, learning about a Danish name can be a great way to create a closer bond with the people you meet as you explore Copenhagen. 

Today, we’re going to be covering the top Danish names. This list will include Danish girl names, boy names, and even a few surnames. So let’s get started…

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Common Danish names for boys

Now more than ever, parents (and even pet parents) are searching for amazing names for their bundle of joy. The most popular Danish first names can be an excellent source of inspiration. Many of these titles combine a celebration of nature, with strong Norse heritage and unique sounds. 

If you’re looking for Danish names for boys, there’s no shortage of great choices to explore. Word-based names like Anker (taken from Anchor) are popular in Denmark. There are also plenty of popular titles which translate well into other parts of the world, like Noah, and Karl. 

Here are some of our top choices. 

1. Anker

As mentioned above, Anker is a German and Danish name referring to an “Anchor”, from a ship. Throughout history, this occupational name was often given to people who worked on boats in Germany. 

In Denmark, the title took on a unique meaning of its own, referencing an “eagle” in some parts of the country. 

2. Agner

Agner is a particularly interesting name in Denmark, as it stands for greatness. He is strong and heavy. Agner means “the great worrier“. This name was often given to sons of blacksmiths. 

3. Aske

An appealing Danish boy’s name with plenty of history. In Nordic mythology the name Aske was given to one of the two first humans(Ask and Embla). For most Danish parents, Aske coming from the name of a tree represents the perfect choice for a boy set to grow up with bravery and strength. 

4. Balder

Balder is a name you might have heard as part of the nordic mythology. He was apparently the most beautiful of all the gods and the son of Odin (the king of the nordic gods) and his wife the wise goddess Frigg. Balder himself was the god of justice. 

5. Bertil

If you really want to go beyond common Danish names and choose something unique, you can’t go wrong with Bertil. This interesting title is common within both Denmark and Norway, and it means “he who rules and shines with a bright light”. You won’t see names like this in most parts of the word.

6. Dan

This Danish name simply means a Danish person. According to history Dan was the first ever danish king. The country’s name Danmark was because of him, which gives it a fantastic sense of history

7. Henrik

At first glance, Henrik will probably remind you of the better-known name, Henry. This title does have a fun twist to it, however. Henrik means the lord of the house or rule of the home. There are various people throughout history which share this name, including Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark.

8. Gorm 

Taken from the name Guttorm(Gods protector), from Old Norse, Gorm is a Danish name with a lot of history, as he was a famous  Danish ruling king from around the year 930. 

9. Harald

As you might guess, the Danish name, Harald, comes from the Old Norse version of Harold. This title is made up of two elements. The first section “Har” means host, or army. The second section, “aldr” refers to a ruler, power, or leader. 

10. Halfdan

One of the popular Danish names for young boys come from the history of the Vikings. The name means “half-danish“ and historically he was the Danish king who led the crusades in England in the year 800. If you’re looking for a truly unique title, this could be it. 

11. Johan

Johan is a good choice among Danish names if you’re looking for something to translate well to various parts of the world. The title is common throughout the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Japan, and more. Johan simply means “God is gracious”. 

12. Knud

One of the more unusual choices from traditional Danish names, Knud, often spelled Knut in Swedish and Norwegian, is a Dutch and Scandinavian name. According to experts, this moniker comes from the Old Norse of “Knutr” which meant knot. 

13. Lauge

This is a fantastic Danish name with some Old Norse roots too. The title is a little lesser-known among experts, though many say it means something similar to partner, fellow, or simply friend. According to Old Norse history, the moniker comes from the Old Norse word, Felagi. 

14. Mads

Mads is an entirely Danish name, so if you’re looking for something perfect for your Scandinavian family, this could be it. The Danish version of Matthew Mads simply means “gift of god”. It’s a great alternative to Matt. 

15. Malthe

This might not be a name you hear very often around the UK or United States, but Maltthe is a common Danish name. The title has appeared throughout Denmark since the 13th century, and it often ranks in the top ten names. It means ruler or power. 

16. Noah

You’re probably familiar with Noah as a common name in many parts of the world, but did you know in Denmark, this name is actually Unisex? You can use it for either a girl or a boy, and it would be totally normal. Noah means harmony or relaxation. 

17. Roar

This is a fun old Nordic name from Denmark. Roar means a “distinguished” or a famous person in regards to warfare, and it’s common in Sweden as well as Denmark. It was very popular for Vikings and still is.  

18. Orn 

Taken from Scandinavia, Orn is often a female given name in Iceland, but it’s a male title for the residents of Denmark. Orn means “Eagle”, or it can simply refer to any bird. The name comes from the Old Norse name, Arn. 

19. Villads

Villads is a boy’s name in Finland, which often grabs our attention. The Danish title comes from a longer name, Willehadus, which is much tougher to remember. Villads means someone who desires battle. 

20. Tage

Tage is a boys name from Denmark which refers to “capturing” or “taking” something. One of the top names in both Denmark, and Sweden, this is a title you’ll probably see quite frequently in Scandinavia. Although it appears very little elsewhere in the world. 

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Danish first names for girls

Now you have plenty of inspiration for your Danish names for boys, it’s time to check out the girls’ monikers in the region. As you might expect, female names in Denmark are just as appealing as male given names, with plenty of references to the things which make Denmark famous

Common titles include everything from “Astrid”, meaning beautiful Goddess, to Sigrid, meaning beautiful victory. 

1. Annegrete

Common throughout Denmark, and Germany, Anngrete is a combination of the names, Anna, and grace, or Maragareth. Some people say the meaning has something to do with pearls and grace. Others say Annegrete means “God is gracious, and he’s answered our prayers.”

2. Andrea

If you want a popular Danish name that’s going to be easy to remember in other parts of the world, you might choose Andrea. This is the Danish variation of the name “Andrea”. Andrea means “virile”. 

3. Caja

Caja is a Danish and Greek name, with a great sound. Although this title has been adopted for an Ikea product over the years, don’t let this put you off. Caja means pure, and it comes from the longer Greek word, Katharos. 

4. Dagmar

Dagmar is an interesting Danish name, appearing frequently throughout Scandinavia. This name is usually female, but it can be given to men too. The title comes from an Old Norse word, meaning “day” and “daughter”, or “maiden”. 

5. Dorthe

Sometimes spelled without the “h”, making it “Dorte”, Dorthe is a popular name throughout Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norwegian, and many other parts of the world. The title comes from Dorothy, and it means “gift of God”. 

6. Frida

Frida is a Germanic and Danish name often popular throughout most regions of Scandinavia. The title comes from the Germanic word “Frid” which means peace. It can also come from the Norse word, Fríða. Usually, the title can also mean beloved or beautiful. 

7. Grethe

This is a Danish name for people who aren’t afraid to use a name derived from the English. This name is taken from Margaret. Grethe is common in Denmark for women of all ages, and it means “pearl” or “high quality material”. You won’t find a name like this outside of Scandinavia very often. 

8. Hanne

This name reminds us of the female version of the maverick character from Star Wars, written down. It’s pronounced “Han-ah”, and it’s Danish, German, and Norwegian in origin. Like the better-known, Hannah, Hanne means grace. 

9. Helle

Helle is a Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish name. The title comes from the Old Norse word Hella, which meant flat mountain, or flat stone. It could also derive from Hellir, which meant “cave”. This feminine name can also be a surname. 

10. Ida

A very popular Danish name, and a moniker often appearing throughout Scandinavia, Ida means “industrious one” or even “prosperous”. The name has some German roots, but it can also tie back to Ireland too. The spelling “Lida” is also common. 

11. Lærke

Thinking of experimenting with a different alphabet for your baby’s name? Lærke is a Danish name which comes from the Western word “Lark”. It was the fourth most popular name in Denmark for 2009, and this title is often very common throughout the country. 

12. Maja

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Maja is the Scandinavian version of the better-known name, Maya. The “j” sound in the middle is pronounced as a y in most parts of the country. Maja means “splendid”, and it’s a very easy title to remember. 

13. Nanna

Not to be confused with the British term for a grandmother, Nanna is a Scandinavian Danish name for young girls. The title comes from Norse mythology, and it’s one of the top 30 names in modern Denmark. Nanna means “daring”, and it’s sometimes used as a short version of Marianne, or Johanna. 

14. Rebekka

Rebekka is a Scandinavian version of the better-known name, Rebecca. This unique spelling is great for adding a touch of hygge to your household. The name means “a girl who traps and baits”, which connects to the better known meaning for Rebecca, “to bind”. 

15. Signe

One of the more powerful Danish girls names, Signe is common all throughout Scandinavia, and it often appears in Nordic and Baltic countries too. The title means “new victory”, and it’s great for anyone who’s sure to grow up strong. 

16. Jensine

Many of the popular names throughout Denmark today have a connection to Christianity and God. Jensine is no exception to the rule, this Danish name usually means “God is gracious”, it can also refer to generosity. 

17. Lise

Another example of a religious name from Denmark, Lise means “pledged to God”. It’s often found in the US and is commonly a shortened version of the name “Annalise”. Lise is a good choice if you want a fun alternative to Lisa. 

18. Sigrid

Sigrid is a title which appears frequently throughout the Nordic and Scandinavian parts of the world. This top Danish name often refers to victories won in wars or battles. Sigrid usually translates to “Beautiful Victory”. 

19. Vigga

Vigga is a fun Danish, Scandinavian name, which comes from the more traditional days of the Scandi region. Usually connected to the Vikings and Old Norse, Vigga, like the male name “Vigge” means war or battle. 

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Top Danish names: Surnames and last names

Though we won’t dive too deeply into Danish names given as a surname in this article, it’s worth giving a quick reference to some of the rules Denmark usually follows. Stereotypical Danish names are usually created with the patronymic tradition. 

This means you use the suffix “sen” to refer to the fact that someone was the son of someone else. 

The tradition was outlawed in the 1820s, but it took a while longer for Denmark to break free of these roots. Some of the most common Danish last names include Andersen, Hansen, Nielsen, and Pedersen. 

Indeed, nearly 5% of all the people in Denmark have the surname Jensen

Here are some popular Danish last names:

  • Jensen: Probably the best-known Danish last name around, Jensen is the surname of a huge percentage of the Danish popular. The title means “Son of Jens”, and Jens comes from the longer title Johannes, or it can sometimes link to John. 
  • Nielsen: Similar to Jensen, Nielsen means the “song of Niels”, although these titles could also be used for daughters too. In Denmark, the name “Niels” is a Scandinavian version of titles like Nicholas, meaning the victory of the people. 
  • Hansen: This patronymic surname refers to the sun of Hans. Hans is a pretty common name not just in Denmark, but in various parts of Scandinavia. The title Hans can sometimes come from Johannes, meaning gift of God. 
  • Lund: Moving away from the common “sen” surnames, Lund is a topographic name which appears frequently in Sweden, Norway, and even England. Lund refers to someone who lived in a grove, and comes from the old Norse word, Lundr. 
  • Holm: Another popular name throughout Scandinavia and Northern England, Holm is a topographic surname. The word “Holm” comes from the Old Norse Holmr, which means a “small island”. 
  • Schmidt: This German and Danish occupational surname used to be the title used to refer to metal workers and blacksmiths. The more common English version is “Smith”, which is something you’ll find all over the world. 
  • Østergaard: A slightly more complex surname to remember, this Danish name is topographical or habitational. It used to refer to where people came from, and often described families from the east of the farmstead.

Popular names in Denmark

Popular names in Denmark come from a variety of different backgrounds, and each has its own wonderful meaning. Though the common Danish names of the era change from one year to the next, it’s fair to say all Danish first names have their own unique charm. 

If you’re keen to learn more about Popular names in Denmark, make sure you check out some of our other lists of the top Danish names for girls and boys. You can also check out our list of Danish names used as surnames or discover the meaning of various Scandinavian names right here at Scandification. 

Scandification: Discovering Scandinavia.

Now read these:
Common Danish last names
Popular Danish female names
Popular Danish names for boys
Scandinavian names and their meanings
Viking and Norse names, and their origin
Your guide to Scandinavian people traits
Popular Scandinavian female names
Popular Scandinavian men’s names 
What is Denmark famous for?

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