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Scandinavian boys’ names: 30 popular Scandinavian men’s names

Just like any region, Scandinavia has its own unique trends to consider when it comes to naming children. This unique location, inspired by ancient Norse myths and fairy tales, benefits from some of the most imaginative names around. 

While some of them are already becoming quite common in other parts of the world, like Eric and Sven, others haven’t captured the world by storm just yet. 

Whether you’re trying to think up the perfect Scandinavian boys’ name because you’re expecting a new member of the family or just want to know the origin behind your new pal’s title, we’ve got you covered.

We will be introducing you to some of the best-known boys’ names around Scandinavia, hailing from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. We might even include a few names from Iceland and the surrounding regions too! 

Let’s get started. 

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Popular Scandinavian boys’ names

Scandinavian names often have unique meanings that make them particularly special to the people who own them. You can trace many of these titles back to the ancient era of the Vikings, as well as to various Norse gods and stories. 

Although many of the Scandinavian male names are traditional, some newer options are gaining popularity too. 

1. Aaren (Pronounced: Ar-ren)

Aaren is a Scandinavian name with origins in the Dutch and German languages. This unique title is similar in style to “Aaron” which is the better-known Hebrew version of the name, common in the UK and the USA. 

The name Aaren is associated with inspiration in Scandinavia. It’s a meaningful title that’s perfect for a parent naming a child who they believe will turn out to be a pretty big deal in their adult years. 

2. Odin (Pronounced Oh-din)

Odin is one of the most well-known gods in Norse mythology, making the name “Odin” quite a big deal across most parts of Scandinavia. The god Odin is known for art and wisdom, although he has a connection with a few less-positive things. 

The name Odin is very popular in Norway in particular, but it has a strong hold in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland too. In some parts of the world, people use Odin as an interesting alternative to the name “Owen”. 

3. Leif (Pronounced: Lay-f)

Leif is a name with old Norse origins that’s related to the titles of Olaf and Elof. Common among regions like Denmark and Sweden, this name is very popular in the Scandi space. 

Some people in Scandinavia also pronounce this name as “Life”. If you meet a man named Leif in America and North America, they’re more likely to pronoun their name as “Leaf,” which gives it a more natural vibe. 

The name “Leif” means heir or beloved in Scandinavia.  

4. Gunnar (Pronounced: Gun-ar)

Gunnar comes from the old Norse name Gunnarr, which came from the compound words for warrior and war. As Scandinavian boys’ names go, this one is very similar to a few better-known options, like Gunther or even Gunner in the US. 

Gunnar was a key figure in Norse legend, and the name is a favorite among many Nordic regions

5. Hannes (Pronounced: Han-nes)

Hannes is one of the many Scandinavian male names that often sounds strange outside of the Nordic countries. Although you’ve probably heard the name “Hans” from Germany, this Finnish version is slightly different, with a more focused pronunciation on the second half of the word. 

In Finland and Estonia, the name means quick-minded and loving. 

6. Anders (Pronounced: An-ders)

Anders is one of the more popular Scandinavian names that has a massive influence in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. This is one of the most masculine names any boy can have, as it basically means “manly.” 

In Sweden, Anders has been one of the most common names for centuries. What’s more, in Denmark, the name of Donald Duck is Anders And. Similar names from the western world include Andrew and Andre. 

7. Soren (Pronounced: Suh-ren)

Soren is a soft and gentle sounding name for boys in Scandinavia. However, the title’s meaning is a little harsher, as it usually translates to mean stern or severe. In recent years, Soren has emerged as a more popular name outside of Denmark – where it’s particularly common. 

Soren is a common name in the literary world, appearing in the Game of Thrones novels by George R.R. Martin. 

8. Arne (Pronounced: Arn-eh)

Arne is a short-form version of an Old Norse name that translates to “Eagle.” It’s a popular title across various parts of Scandinavia, including Denmark and Norway. This was the most popular and most common name for men born in Norway in the 1910s, 20s, and 30s! 

The title also gained a lot of traction in Sweden, where you might also hear the version “Arni.” 

9. Bjorn (Pronounced: B-orn)

Bjorn is a name you probably associate with the Baby Bjorn brand – if you grew up with those toys. However, it’s also an extremely popular male name throughout the Nordic region. Bjorn means “bear” – which obviously conjures ideas of strength and power. 

You’ll find plenty of guys name Bjorn if you’re exploring Iceland, Hungary, Sweden, and the Farose Islands. There’s also a slightly different version of Bjorn common in Norway and Danish, spelled Bjørn. 

10. Kai (Pronounced: Kye)

Kai is a popular multi-cultural name with history in regions from Germany and Norway to Hawaii, Wales, and Germany. This incredible title, which often means things like “restoration” and “recovery,” has earned its stripes among the US and the UK in recent years. 

Some people associate the name with the word “warrior” too. One of the reasons that Kai is such an attractive name in Denmark is that there’s a character named Kai in the Snow Queen, a book by Hans Christian Andersen. 

11. Raum (Pronounced: Row-m)

Raum is an unusual name with an interesting sound — something unlike anything most people hear in the US and the UK. Raum was the name of a mythical Norwegian king, so it’s great for anyone who wants a title connected to royalty. 

The title has been popular in Norway for centuries, although it hasn’t gained much popularity elsewhere in the world yet. Aside from its connection with mythical kings, Raum also means “big.” 

12. Magnus (Pronounced: Mag-nus)

Magnus is one of the few Scandinavian boys’ names that you’ve probably already heard, no matter where you live. This Scandinavian forename dates back to Charlemagne’s Latin title: Carolus Magnus”. 

The name Magnus is pretty big in pop culture, showing up in everything from Will Ferrell Movies, to the Roald Dahl character in Matilda. Magnus means “powerhouse” or “great,” depending on where you are in the world. 

13. Viggo (Pronounced Vig-oh)

If you’re a fan of Ghostbusters 2, then you’re probably already familiar with the name “Viggo.” This is a latinised form of the older Norse title Vigge, which also appears in other Germanic names. A closely related name to Viggo is Ludvig. 

This is the kind of Scandinavian boys’ name often associated with warriors and great fighters. The term “Vig” in Old Norse translates to battle, after all. 

14. Casper (Pronounced: Kas-per)

Casper isn’t just a friendly ghost from your TV screen — it’s also a popular name in Scandinavia. Casper comes from the name Chaldean, which translates to “treasure.” 

It’s a name that appears a lot in various regions around the world and can sometimes mean “bringer of treasure” too. Alternative spellings include Kasper, and sometimes even Gaspar. 

15. Von (Pronounced: V-ohn)

Von is probably a pretty strange sounding name for most people who aren’t used to Scandinavian male names. This title came from the Germanic origins that inspired much of the language in the Norse countries. 

It’s actually a title taken from a common prefix in Germany that used to mean “son of” or “from the family of.” Often used as an alternative to the slightly better-known Vaughn, Von means little or junior – which is pretty cute. 

16. Axel (Pronounced: Ax-el)

Axel is one of the better known Scandinavian boys’ names around the world today. The Scandi title has a very rock and roll feeling to it. However, the meaning behind Axel is a little softer than you might expect — it stands for “my father is peace” or “defending men.” 

Similar related names include Absalom, and Alexander. It’s more common in Norway and Denmark to see this male name spelled with a “k,” as in Aksel. 

17. Nils (Pronounced: Kneels)

Nils, or Niels is a Danish name commonly used as an alternative to Niklas. You might already be familiar with this name if you know of the rock guitarist Nils Lofgren. Nils often translates to victory of the people, which makes it a great name for a future leader or a powerful guy. 

An interesting alternative to this name is Nike — although you might be reluctant to use that one due to its connection with the athletic brand. 

18. Mathias (Pronounced: Muth-eye-us)

Mathias is a regal sounding name that has origins in Hebrew and old Norse. Common among regions like Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway, there are various ways to spell this name, including Mathios, Matiaas, and even Mathías. 

Although it sounds quite unique, Mathias is just an exotic version of Matthew, and it translates to mean “gift”. 

19. Bo (Pronounced: Boh)

Bo is a quite simple but attractive option on our list of Scandinavian boys’ names. This title is common mostly in Denmark and Sweden, but you’ll encounter it throughout most of the Norse countries. 

Like many male Scandinavian names, Bo has an origin in an old Norse nickname, bua. This meant “to live”. A variation of Bo you might find in Sweden is “Bosse”. You might also see some people using Bo as a nickname for the name “Beaufort”.

20. Eero (Pronounced: Ee-roh)

Eero is another Scandinavian boy’s name that’s often underappreciated elsewhere in the world. The title translates to “Ruler,” and it’s got a unique sci-fi vibe to it, for modern parents in search of an intriguing name. 

Notable figures with this name include Eero Saarinen. The title is most popular in Finland, but you’ll hear it all around Scandinavia. 

21. Jens (Pronounced: Yens)

Jens is an interesting option for those interested in Scandinavian male names because it is often referred to as the Scandi version of “John.” The title comes from Johannes, which is a popular title throughout Denmark and Sweden. 

Jens is pretty popular in the Netherlands and Germany, it hasn’t gained much attention in the US yet. 

22. Stellan (Pronounced: Stel-lan)

Stellan was a relatively unknown Scandinavian name for quite a while. However, the title gained a lot of popularity lately thanks to actors like Stellan Skarsgard. Stellan is a masculine name that comes primarily from Sweden, and it usually translates to mean “calm” or “peace.” 

The Nordic title does have some origins in Germany too so that you might hear it on a visit to Germany. 

23. Olaf (Pronounced Oh-laf)

Olaf is probably one of the best-known names from the Scandi region right now, thanks to the movie Frozen and the snowman mascot from the title. You might also be familiar with the name Olaf if you like the Lemony Snicket novels. 

This title has a lot of background in Norway, and it comes from an Old Norse word that means “ancestor’s descendants.” 

24. Stieg (Pronounced Stee-g)

Stieg is a name from Sweden that earned more attention in recent years thanks to Novelists like Stieg Larsson, who wrote The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. 

Steig, sometimes spelled “Stig,” is a common masculine name in Scandinavia, with origins in the Old Norse term “Stigr” and the word “Stiga” which translates to “wanderer.”

25. Lars (Pronounced: L-ars)

Lars is a pretty well-known title from the Scandinavian region these days. You’ve probably heard it in reference to the director from Denmark, Lars Von Trier. On the other hand, you might be a fan of Lars because you’re familiar with Lars Ulrich, the drummer from Metallica. 

Lars is a great name that’s easy to spell. It comes from the word Laurentius, which means “man from the place of laurel.” Some people also say this name means “victory”. 

26. Thor (Pronounced: Th-or)

Scandi people were calling their children “Thor” long before the name became popular thanks to Marvel movies. Thor is a powerful name that comes straight from Norse Mythology. 

The title refers to the god of Thunder, and it’s sure to grab attention in any room. If you’re looking for a slightly different version of this cool moniker, why not try “Tor” instead?

27. Ivar (Pronounced Ee-vor)

Ivar is a name that sounds a little like “Igor”, the horror-movie name that most people know from Frankenstein. Although it looks like you should say this name with an “Ay” sound, the Norwegian title always has an “Ee” at the beginning. 

Ivar is a brilliant Viking name that comes from Iceland and Norway, and often translates to god or warrior. 

28. Oslo (Pronounced: Os-low)

Oslo is the name of the Capital city in Norway, but it’s also a popular Scandinavian boy’s name too. This title is great because it’s easy to remember and spell. It often ranks alongside popular oh-sound names in Norway, like Odin and Olaf.  

29. Sven (Pronounced: Sv-en)

Sven is another name that has shot up the rankings in terms of popularity around the world lately. 

Although Sven is a name that appears pretty frequently in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, it’s also gaining a lot of attention in other regions around the world, particularly following the success of the Frozen movie, where Sven is the name of a friendly reindeer. 

The Danish and Norwegian title translates to “young warrior” or “young man.” 

30. Otto (Ot-toh)

Otto is a playful-sounding name that’s sure to be a popular choice wherever you go in Scandinavia. Easy to pronounce and spell, this name is German origins and often appears alongside names like Otis and Otho in traditional German titles. 

The name “Otto” translates into “royal” and rich. It can also mean “wealthy.” 

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Trends in Scandinavian men’s names

Most of the popular Scandinavian boys’ names are similar in their origins, with many having backgrounds in Norse mythology or Viking texts. 

There’s also a lot of German influence in Nordic names, which may have something to do with the fact that many of the Scandinavian countries built their language with a few borrowed phrases and terms from Germany. 

Scandinavian men’s names are very diverse, with a lot of unique sounds to choose from. Here are some of the most popular names of 2020 throughout the Scandi region. 

In Denmark, the most popular Scandinavian boy’s names of 2020 are:

  • Peter
  • Jens
  • Michael

In Finland, the most popular Scandinavian boy’s names of 2020 are:

  • Leo
  • Elias
  • Eino

In Sweden the most popular Scandinavian boy’s names of 2020 are:

  • Lucas
  • Elias
  • Axel

In Norway, the most popular Scandinavian boy’s names of 2020 are:

  • Jakob
  • Lucas
  • Filip

In Iceland, the most popular Scandinavian boy’s names of 2020 are:

  • Jón
  • Sigurður
  • Guðmundur
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The best Scandinavian names for men

Just like anywhere else in the world, the trends for Scandinavian boys’ names are constantly changing. 

You might be familiar with some of the most popular names right now, like Sven and Olaf, and as pop culture continues to showcase more of Scandi culture around the world, the familiarity with these names will grow. 

For those in search of a unique name for a baby boy, or those interested in learning more about Scandinavian culture, Scandi male names are fantastic. 

As long as you avoid some of the complicated pronunciations and special letters that are common in certain parts of the Nordic region (particularly Iceland), you can easily translate most Scandinavian boys names into popular titles throughout the US and UK too. 

Don’t forget to check out our other articles here at Scandification to learn more about some of the unique quirks of Scandinavia. 

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