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Swedish first names: Your guide to common Swedish names

These days, people are keen to bring Scandinavian culture into their lives however they can. There are even some parents out there that are naming their children with traditional Swedish first names. Which is why we’ve created this guide to the most common Swedish names…

If you’ve fallen in love with the Swedes, and you want to learn more about the Swedish names that help to make this culture so compelling, you’re in the right place. 

From Axel to Elsa, there are tons of beautiful names out there, with histories that date back to the Vikings, Anglo-Saxon settlements, and so much more. 

We’ve put together our list of the best Swedish name for girls, boys, and even surnames so that you can make a more informed decision (or just learn a thing or two). 

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Popular Swedish first names for girls

The most popular names in Sweden change all the time, driven by pop culture and trends throughout the country. If you’re keen to dive deeper into Swedish living, there are lots of great girl names to get started with. 

If you’re looking for some of the most attractive names for baby girls, the following options are currently at the top of the list. 

1. Alice

Alice is a name with a lot of history. Popular in Sweden since the 1800s, this name comes from Germanic origins, and the name “Adalheidis,” or “Adelaide.” Most people love the title thanks to its history in the Lewis Carrol books. 

Although the meaning of this Swedish name can vary depending on who you ask, it often means noble, kind, and fair. 

2. Alma

One of our favorite Swedish names for girls, Alma is an attractive name that’s sure to still capture a lot of attention in various parts of the Western world.

3. Astrid

Astrid is one of the more common Scandinavian names, with origins in the name Ástríðr, which actually comes from old Norse. The title combines two Norse words which translate to beautiful and “goddess”. 

You can show your beloved daughter how divinely beautiful you think she is with this name. Astrid can also mean “divine strength”. 

4. Ella

Many parents are now choosing the alternative name to Ella, “Elsa” as their ideal girl’s name thanks to recent Disney movies. However, Ella is still a popular choice for a lot of families. The name Ella often translates to light, or “All knowing”. 

There are tons of way to transform this name with different spellings like Elah, or Alla. 

5. Ebba

Here’s a name you might not have heard often outside of Sweden. Ebba means the fortress of riches, or the strength of a boar, which is quite an interesting definition. 

The feminine version of Eberhard, this is a name you’ll hear often among Germans, but it’s virtually unknown in America. 

6. Olivia

With roots in the name Olive, Olivia is a popular name in Sweden, and it’s also found its way into many corners of the world too. This delightful name can also shift to “Oliwia” for some Icelandic, Swedish, and Norwegian families. 

The name refers to the olive tree and has connections to things like life and fertility too. 

7. Maja

Often spelled either Maja, or Maya, this Swedish girl name has a soft sound to it. The title comes from Maia in Greek mythology and is also a short form for Maria, and it’s an ideal for those who want to convey beauty and gentleness in their child. 

Maja translates to “princess” in Greek and ”beloved” and ”daughter” in Hindi. There is also an Indian God called Maja.

8. Lilly 

A British name originally, often chosen for its reference to the stunning natural flower, Lily is a great Swedish name with organic roots. This name isn’t just a reference to plant life though. The title can also translate to mean “God is in abundance”, and many people say that it has links to purity, and rebirth. 

The Swedes often use the spelling Lily too. 

9. Wilma

With German, Swedish, and Scottish origins, Wilma is short for Wilhelmina and a name with quite a diverse past. Recently, it’s gained a lot of popularity in the Scandinavian landscape, thanks to it’s Nordic heritage. Some parents prefer the spelling “Vilma”. 

Wilma usually means “Resolute protection” or safety. 

10. Vera

Vera is one of the older names in our list of Swedish titles, but it still has a beautiful meaning, and a great deal of appeal. Known for its connection to feelings of faith and dedication, Vera is a highly spiritual name that grew in popularity during the 19th century. 

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A list of Swedish names for boys

If you’re interested in finding Swedish names for a new born baby boy — don’t worry, there are a lot of options out there. Some of the most common names in the UK and US also have histories in Scandinavia. 

However, there are bound to be some stereotypical Swedish names that you don’t know as well too. 

Here are some of the top 10… 

1. Adam

Popular as a biblical name in countries all around the world, Adam is actually the Hebrew word for “Man,” and it has roots all over the world. 

The Swedes love the name Adam, and prefer to use the common spelling, while other parts of Scandinavia opt for “Aadam” and even “Attan.” 

2. Adrian

Taken from the Latin name “Adrianus,” the title Adrian is pretty common in Sweden, and there’s a lot of famous people that bear this title too, including tennis player Adrian Garcia from Chile. The name translates to “sea” or water,” as many people believe it comes from the Illyrian word Adur. 

3. Axel

A common and popular title throughout Sweden, Axel means father of peace, and it’s one of the many titles from Sweden that has spread around the entire world. Axel is the name of Will Ferrell’s son too. 

Alexander is a popular alternative for Axel, and there are also other spellings, like Aksel which is common in other Scandinavian countries. 

4. Elias

We love this name, which has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. Elias is Nordic in origin and started gaining popularity in the 1800s. The name is similar to “Elis” which is also a common name for boys in Sweden. 

Elias and Elis mean “The Lord is my God” and has many connections to the bible. 

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5. Lukas

Sometimes spelled “Lukasz” or “Luca” in other parts of the world, Lukas is a name that has origins in regions all over the world, including Scandinavia. It’s also often spelled ”Lucas”. One of the most popular names in Sweden right now, it translates to mean “Light” and illumination. 

6. Liam

Here’s a name that you might not consider as a stereotypical Swedish name at first glance. Truth is it became popular round about the same time as Oasis, with Liam Gallagher, had their breakthrough, so it’s not a very traditional Swedish name at all.

The name comes from the Germanic name “William,” and it has a lot of meanings to choose from, including “Guardian” or “Protector.” 

7. Hugo

Hugo is a common first name in Sweden. This title has German origins, and is often linked to biblical stories. The name usually means “Heart” or “Father of many” according to some. 

8. Matteo

Matteo is a slightly different alternative to the more common names of Matt and Matthew across the US and the UK. The name means the “Gift of God”, and is similar to another Swedish name, “Mattias”. 

In France Matteo can also be a common patronymic surname, which means that you’re the descendant of someone else with the same title. 

9. Noah

You may have noticed that many of the popular Swedish names for boys have biblical backgrounds. Here’s another example of that.

It stands for comfort, rest, and quietness, which may well be what you’re wishing for when welcoming a new child. 

10. Oskar

Oskar is a Keltic name, and it has belonged to many members in Scandinavian royal families over the years. It’s also commonly spelled ”Oscar”. This title has a beautiful connection to the natural landscape of Sweden, as it means “Loving deer” or “Friend of deer”. 

A lot of people believe that the name “Oskar” refers to someone who is one with nature.

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Stereotypical Swedish names

So far, we’ve looked at both boys and girls titles that stand among the most common Swedish names available right now. Some of the titles we’ve covered are Swedish Christian names, which started to gain popularity when the Christian religion moved into Scandinavia. 

Other top Swedish names are more stereotypical, and date all the way back to the days of Old Norse and the Vikings

Here are some more stereotypical Swedish names that you may have heard when exploring Sweden on your adventures, and an insight into what they mean. 

1. Ingrid 

Ingrid is a very popular Swedish name for girls that translates to “fair”, or even just “beautiful”. Not only is Ingrid a royal name in Scandinavia, it’s also one of the higher ranking names in the US with Norse origins too. 

The Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman has this name, and similar titles include Ingrida and Ingri. 

2. Hanna

Most of us already know the name Hanna spelled with an extra “h” on the end. However, this title is a little different in Sweden than it is in the rest of the world. In Sweden, Hanna is either short for Johanna, or it may be the female form of “Hans”. 

3. Åsa

Usually pronounced “O-sa”, Åsa is a very interesting name in Sweden and a popular choice for those who want something traditionally Scandinavian. Taken from Old Norse, Asa means “goddess”, and it sometimes refers to the hawk too. 

4. Frida

With tons of spellings to choose from, including Frinta and Freida, this beautiful female name means “Peace”, and it’s a shortened version of a variety of compound names from a Germanic background. 

Frida is also a common name in Spain, where it translates into “Freedom”. 

5. Ulrika 

Also spelled “Ulrica,” this German and Scandinavian name often has connections to power and prosperity. British people are pretty familiar with the name Ulrika from Ulrika Jonsson. 

Ulrika Jonsson’s birth name is actually Eva Ulrika, and Eva is another very popular name in Sweden. 

6. Linnea 

Another female name of Swedish origin, Linnea actually comes from a family name Linnaeus, which also connects to “Lind”, a kind of lime tree in Sweden. In Sweden, the name was the 7th most popular female name in 2008, and the most popular title in the same year for Norway. 

7. Andreas

Switching over to common Scandinavian names for boys, the title “Andreas” comes from Scandinavia, and some of the earliest versions of it link to an ancient runestone from the 12th century. Most people say that the name simply means “man” or “male”. 

8. Niklas

Probably one of the more inspiring Swedish names available right now, Niklas was a popular boy’s name in the 70’s and 80’s, which translates to “Victory of the people”. This Swedish name has a lot of popular alternative spellings and is very similar to “Nicolas” for people in other parts of the world. 

9. Sören

Sören has both Danish, Norwegian and Swedish backgrounds, making it an excellent choice for people all across Scandinavia. This male name is often linked to the title “Severus” which usually means Stern. If you’re looking for a name that’s all seriousness, this could be the title for you. 

10. Ulf

Ulf is a masculine name that’s very common in regions all across Scandinavia, including Sweden. This stereotypical Swedish names has roots in Old Norse, and translates to “Wolf” (”Ulv”). One of the oldest known records of this name being used comes from the 11th century. 

11. Gustav

Popular when spent both with a V and an F, Gustav is a Swedish male name that experts say comes from the ancient days of Sweden. 

A common choice across various Scandinavian countries and Norse regions, Gustav means the “Staff of the gods”, which makes it a very powerful title for a young man. 

12. Linus

Linus is pronounced as “Line-us” in English, but it’s more commonly spoken as “Leen-os” in Swedish and other Scandinavian languages. This fantastic boy’s name usually means “Flax”, which is why it would be a popular choice for men with blond or light-colored hair. 

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Top Swedish names: Last names

So far, we’ve had a great discussion about the kind of Swedish first names you might see around Scandinavia. However, just as various regions of the US and UK have common last names, like Smith, or Johnson, Swedes have some last names that appear more often too. 

Here are some of the most common last names in Sweden

1. Andersson

Andersson is a patronymic last name, which means it’s often passed down from one generation to the next, through the men of the family. Andersson means “Son of Anders”, and the extra “S” is an important feature in Sweden. 

2. Johansson 

Similar to Andersson, this patronymic family name is common in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Usually, Johansson (son of Johan) is the most common spelling in Sweden, where other parts of the world use “Johansen.” 

3. Karlsson

Karlsson is a Scandinavian surname meaning “Son of Karl.” It’s one of the most common surnames in Sweden, and it’s also one of two potential spelling. Carlsson is the second most common variation of this title. 

4. Nilsson

Like the other Swedish surnames that we’ve covered so far, Nilsson refers to the “Son of Nils”. Nils was a very common name throughout the nineteenth century in Sweden, which helped this secondary name to grow in popularity. 

5. Eriksson

Meaning son of Erik, Eriksson has been a common name throughout Sweden for a multitude of years. This fantastic name has a variety of alternative spellings such as Ericson and Erikson. The name “Erik” comes from old Norse. 

6. Larsson 

Larsson, or Larson naturally refers to the “Son of Lars”, another popular name during the early days of the Swedes settling in Scandinavia. The surname also has a strong presence in Denmark, and Norway, and occasionally appears within the UK, referring to the “son of Lawrence”. 

7. Olsson

Olsson might be a surname that you don’t hear very often in the US or UK, but it’s very popular in Sweden thanks to its connection to “Olof” or “Ola”. As you might expect, the name means Son of Olof, Olaf, or Ola.  

8. Persson 

Persson is one of the top ten most common family names in Sweden, and it literally means “Son of Per”. Like most of the top surnames in Sweden, this is a patronymic surname, passed down form the house of Per, or Pär (linked closely to Peter). 

9. Svensson

You guessed it, Svensson means the “Son of Sven”, and it comes with the common extra S that appears frequently in most Swedish surnames. In some cases, Svensson might also mean the son of Sveinn, which is an Old Norse name. 

10. Gustafsson

Finally, Gustafsson, or Gustavsson, is one of the more interesting possible surnames in Sweden today, although still one of the most common (and popular). As you’d imagine, the name means “Son of Gustaf”, or Son of Gustav in some cases. 

Exploring the top Swedish names

The Swedes are an amazing culture of people who share many things with their Scandinavian relatives, from a beautiful selection of natural places to explore to some of the world’s happiest people. 

However, despite its links to the rest of the Nordic landscape, Sweden remains a very unique place in its own right. The location has a lot of traditions and history that make it special. 

In Sweden, for instance, the kind of first and last names you hear when you’re speaking to the locals are likely to be a world apart from the ones we hear back home. 

Although some of the Swedish names we’ve mentioned today have a presence elsewhere in the world, unique meanings and spellings help them to retain their Swedish roots. 

With a little luck, this article has helped you to learn a little more about the heritage of Sweden, and the names that are passed down through the decades. 

Check out our other naming articles for more insights into the top titles that appear all over the Scandinavian and Nordic regions. 

Scandification: Discovering Scandinavia.

Now read these:
The top Swedish female names
Common Swedish surnames
Popular Swedish men’s names
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 

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