Cool Danish boy names and their meanings

Danish boy names can be simple, handsome-sounding and easy to pronounce. So if you’re looking for an interesting and unusual name for your newborn baby boy, why not take some inspiration from Denmark?

Classic Danish boy names
The top Danish boy names in 2022
Danish boy names and their meanings
Unusual Danish boy names
Famous Danish boy names
120 Danish boy names (A-Z)

Danish boy names often have Viking origins

Rightly or wrongly, lots of people associate the Danes with tall, healthy men who love outdoor pursuits, so you might want to consider some strong Danish boy names.

Perhaps you like the idea of a name with Viking origins, or one that derives from Danish folklore or nature. Either way, there are plenty of ideas below to get you started.

We’ve checked out some traditional old Danish boy names, plus some contemporary cool Danish boy names to give you ideas and inspiration for your baby’s name.

Classic Danish boy names

To get an accurate idea of what makes a truly classic Danish name, we looked at statistics from Denmark’s Central Population Register.

These official government stats show the most common Danish boy names across all age groups:

  • Peter (meaning ‘stone’ or ‘rock’)
  • Michael (meaning ‘who is like God’)
  • Lars (meaning ‘crowned with laurel’)
  • Jens (meaning ‘God is gracious’)
  • Thomas (meaning ‘twin’)
  • Henrik (meaning ‘lord of the house’)
  • Søren (meaning ‘severe’ or ‘strict’)
  • Christian (meaning ‘follower of Christ’)
  • Martin (meaning ‘warlike’)
  • Jan (meaning ‘God has been gracious’)

You’ll notice how a lot of these Danish names have religious meanings, and are a lot more Christian-sounding than anything you might have seen in Viking movies.

With nearly 47,000 men sharing the same first name, Peter is by far Denmark’s most popular boy name. Here are how the other popular names compare, in terms of the number of people registered with that name:

Peter46,981
Michael44,487
Lars43,598
Jens42,947
Thomas41,965
Henrik41,264
Søren39,127
Christian37,558
Martin37,033
Jan36,546
Stats correct as of January 2023

Wait a minute though… we promised you cool Danish names, and instead you got a list of names that seem more suited to a middle-aged Dane than a cute little newborn.

For that reason we’ve also included the top 10 Danish names for kids born more recently.

Danish boy names can take inspiration from Vikings or Christians

Top 10 Danish boy names in 2022

According to Denmark’s Central Population Register, these are the most popular names given to Danish boys in the first six months of 2022. Just bear in mind that although these names are popular in Denmark right now, they are not necessarily ‘classic’ Danish names.

  • William
  • Oscar
  • Carl
  • Malthe
  • Emil
  • Valdemar
  • Noah
  • Aksel
  • August
  • Theo

Under Danish law, parents have six months to register their child’s name, so the figures are not published until at least six months after the end of the period that is being counted.

NameNumber of boys given this name
William278
Oscar249
Carl241
Malthe238
Emil233
Valdemar228
Noah224
Aksel205
August203
Theo185

Danish boy names and their meanings

If you like the sound of some of these names, you’ll want to know a bit about their origins. 

Danish male names suggest a healthy, outdoor lifestyle
JIDE (CC)

William

A popular traditional name, William is a variant of the Germanic Wilhelm, which is made up of wil (“will” or “desire”) and helm (“helmet” or “protection”). 

A common Danish variant of this classic name is Vilhelm, as in the painter Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864–1916), known as the “Danish Vermeer”.

Oscar

The name Oscar comes from the Old Norse name Ásgeirr, which means “divine spear” (áss  means “god” and geirr  means “spear”).

Other sources trace the name’s roots back to Old Irish mythology, where Oscar was a great fighter and the name means “champion warrior”.

Carl

The Germanic and Nordic version of Charles, the name Carl has Old Norse origins and means “free man”.

The name and its variations are hugely popular throughout the US, but probably the most prominent Danish Carl is the influential composer, conductor and violinist Carl Nielsen (1865–1931).

Malthe

A popular Danish boy’s name since the thirteenth century, Malthe (pronounced m ah l t eh) means “rule” or “power”. 

It’s thought to be a shortened version of the Old High German name Helmwald, which comes from helmaz (meaning “helmet” or “protection”) and waldaz (meaning “ruler” or “powerful one”).

So if you’re looking for a strong Danish boy name, this could be a good option.

Emil

Emil is a traditional Germanic name, but its origins derive from one of the most powerful families in ancient Roman, called the Gens Aemilia. 

In Latin, Emil means “to strive”, “rival” or “excel”, so it could be a good choice for a hard-working and ambitious child.

Valdemar

No, not Voldemort. The Nordic version of Vladimir, Valdemar is an Old High German name and means “great or famous ruler” and “powerful”. It comes from the German words waltan meaning “to rule” and mari, meaning “famous”.

Valdemar I Knudsen, also known as Valdemar the Great (Valdemar den Store in Danish), was king of Denmark from 1154–1182.

Later his son Valdemar II of Denmark, known as Valdemar the Victorious, took over the throne and ruled from 1202–1241.

Both kings ruled during an era when Denmark was a powerful and influential force in the Nordic region. 

Noah

A traditional name of Hebrew origins, Noah means “rest”, “repose” or “peace”.

Danish Pop duo NOAH
Danish Pop duo NOAH / Noahmusicdk (CC)

In Denmark, NOAH was the stage name of Danish singer songwriter Troels Gustavsen (originally part of a duo with Lasse Dyrholm) from 2011–2015.

Aksel

Aksel, and its variation Axel, is an enduringly popular Danish name of medieval Danish and Old Norse origins. It means “the father is peace”, a gentle name for a boy child.

In Denmark it has royal connotations, being the name of Prince Axel of Denmark (1888–1964), but the American singer Axl Rose from Guns N’ Roses is probably better known internationally (although it’s not his birth name, and he removed the ‘e’).

August

Although popular in Denmark, August is actually of Latin origin and derives from Latin word augere, which means “to increase”.

Its variation Augustus was commonly bestowed on Roman emperors as an honour, and means dignity, esteemed, respected and admired – well, august really!

Aside from Roman emperors, the Swedish author August Strindberg is probably the best-known Nordic August.

Theo

From the ancient Greek word for god, Theo means “gift of god” or “divine gift”. Other sources suggest it has Germanic roots, deriving from the Germanic word theud (people) and means “brave or bold people”.

Unusual Danish boy names

But you might fancy something a little different, so here are a few more unusual Danish boy names.

How about simply calling your son Dane (meaning “one who is from Denmark”) or Halfdan (literally “half Danish”)?

And if you like names deriving from nature, what about Arne (meaning “eagle”) or Bernte (“brave as a bear”).

Canute (or Cnut), of course, is a famous Danish name that is pretty rare nowadays – it means “kindness” – or there’s Henning, which means “peacemaker”.

And if you want to go really off-piste, how about Lothen (“one who has much hair”) or Vidar (“fighter in the woods”)?

For more ideas of unusual Nordic names, read our posts on Icelandic boy names and cool Viking names.

Famous Danish names

Mads is a popular dog's name in Denmark, after the actor Mads Mikkelsen
Mads Mikkelsen / Gage Skidmore (CC)

If you want a Danish name that’s instantly recognisable, why not take inspiration from some famous Danes? 

How about Viggo (after the actor Viggo Mortensen), or Mads (meaning “master’s gift”) after the Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen?

If you want a Danish name that is obviously inspired by the Vikings, check out this guide to the best Viking names for boys!

Full list of 120 Danish boy names (A–Z)

Still not sure which Danish name to choose? Here’s an alphabetical list of 120 top Danish boy names, including true classics and some more modern options!

Aage Alfred Anders
Anton Arne Asger
Axel Bendt Benny
Bent Bjørn Borge
Carl Carsten Christian
Christoffer Claus Daniel
David Dennis Edvard
Egon Ejvind Emil
Erik Ernst Esben
Finn Flemming Frederik
Frode Georg Gorm
Gunnar Gustav Hans
Harald Heino Henning
Henrik Holger Ib
Ingolf Isak Jacob
Jakob Jan Jens
Jesper Johan Johannes
Jørgen Jørn Kai
Kaj Karl Keld
Ken Kenneth Kjeld
Klaus Knud Kristian
Kurt Lars Leif
Leon Louie Ludvig
Mads Magnus Martin
Mathias Michael Mikkel
Morten Niels Nicolai
Nikolaj Olaf Ole
Oliver Oscar Otto
Palle Patrick Paul
Peer Per Peter
Poul Preben Rasmus
René Richard Robert
Roald Roger Rolf
Ronald Roy Ruben
Rune Sigurd Simon
Steen Stefan Stig
Svend Søren Thomas
Thor Thorkil Tobias
Toke Torben Torkild
Ulf Uffe Valdemar
Victor Viggo Vilhelm
Werner Wilhelm Xander
Yngve Zacharias Ziggy

See also:
Swedish boys names
Norwegian boys names
The best Norse names and their meanings

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