Expecting a baby boy? Fancy choosing a name that’s a bit cool, suggests strength and a don’t-mess-with-me vibe? How about picking a baddass Scandinavian name?
We’ve checked out some of the most popular Scandinavian boys’ names and their meanings, plus a few uncommon Scandinavian boys’ names too, so you can choose the name that best suits your newborn.
Some of the names we’ve chosen are ancient Norse names and some have Viking origins. Some are popular in one particular Nordic country, while others are widespread through the entire region.
Many of the old Scandinavian boys’ names have their origins in Norse mythology, and a few are even the names of the powerful Norse gods! Others derive from the natural world, such as Björn and Per – and we’ve thrown in a few cute Scandinavian boy names too!
We’ve trawled through a whole pile of Scandinavian boys’ names so you don’t have to, and picked our twelve favourite names. So, read on to find out our top Scandinavian boy names, where they come from and what they mean.
If you’re looking for traditional Scandinavian names for your boy, you can’t do better than Anders, which means “strong” and “manly”. Of Scandinavian origin, it’s popular in Sweden and Denmark in particular, though in Denmark it’s the name given to the cartoon character Donald Duck!
A similar variation is the Old Norse name Andor, but this comes from a combination of two words arn (eagle) and Þórr (the Norse god Thor), so means Thor’s eagle.
Alex is a Nordic boys’ name that has biblical origins and derives originally from the Hebrew for “My father is peace”.
The world’s most famous Axel is Alex Rose, lead singer of hard rock band Guns n Roses, though Eddie Murphy’s fictional detective Alex Foley in Beverly Hills Cop comes a close second!
An interesting variation of its spelling is Aksel, which is often seen in Norway and Denmark.
One of the best-known Scandinavian names, Björn has been around since Viking times but has shown a rise in its popularity in recent years. Of Swedish origin, it means “bear”, so has connotations of strength with a bit of cute and cuddly thrown in too!
The name is in widespread use throughout Scandinavia, though two of the best-known Björns are both Swedish – the tennis superstar Björn Borg and Björn Ulvaeus from Abba. And, of course, if you’re expecting a baby, you’ll probably be familiar with the Swedish baby goods brand BabyBjörn!
This old Norse name means “warrior” or “soldier” and is a popular name throughout Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. In Norse mythology, Gunnar was the son of King Giuki and Queen Grimhild of the Nibelungs. He succeeded in marrying the Valkyrie Brynhildr, with the help of his blood-brother Sigurd who he then had murdered!
The best-known Gunnar today is probably the Norwegian Ole Gunnar Solskjær, former manager and player at Manchester United football club.
Lars is a Scandinavian name, but one which comes from Latin roots meaning “laurel tree”, a symbol of victory and success. It’s popular in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, through the best known Lars are both Danish – controversial film director Lars von Trier and Lars Ulrich, co-founder and drummer of heavy metal band Metallica.
Derived from the Old Norse name Leifr, Leif (pronounced lay-f) is a popular Scandinavian boys’ name that means “heir” or “descendant”. The name was probably spread around the world due to the Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson, son of Eric the Red, who was the first European to land in America – some 500 years before Columbus.
A popular variation of Leif is the name Olaf, now best known as the lovable snowman in Frozen.
Although the name Lukas actually derives from the Latin name Lucas (meaning “from Lucania”), it’s one of the most popular Scandinavian baby boy names of recent years, particularly in Sweden and Norway.
Probably the best known Lukas of recent times is Danish pop band Lukas Graham (lead singer Lukas Forchhammer), whose huge international hit Seven years was the world’s seventh best-selling song in 2016.
Although deriving originally from the Latin meaning “great”, Magnus is also a variation of the Old Norse magni, which means “might” or “strength”.
It’s long been a popular name for royals in Scandinavia from King Magnus I of Norway and Denmark to the present-day Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway. In between, the name has been adopted by seven kings of Norway, four kings of Sweden and one Danish king.
Popular throughout Scandinavia, but particularly in Norway, the name Odin comes, of course, from the Norse god. Odin was the father of all gods, and is associated with art, wisdom, war and death, though the name itself means “anger”, fury” and “inspiration”.
Although of Greek origins, Per is a Scandinavian name, that is particularly popular in Sweden and Norway. It’s a variation of the name Peter and means “rock” or “stone”.
Popular in Denmark and Sweden, the name Sven comes form the Old Norse word sveinn, which means “young man” or “young warrior” – so it’s a great name for a newborn boy.
Famous Svens include the former England football manager Sven-Göran Eriksson, though the current popularity of the name is probably more down to Sven the friendly reindeer in the Disney classic Frozen.
The Scandinavian name Viggo dates from Viking times and is popular in Sweden and Denmark, in particular. It comes from the Old Norse word vig, which means “war” or “battle”. The best-known Viggo is probably the Danish/American actor Viggo Mortensen.
Cool female Viking names and their meanings
Finnish last names and their meanings
Norse names and their meanings