Top 100 Danish Last Names Or Surnames, With Meanings

Danish Last Names Or Surnames, With Meanings

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Danish surnames are often patronymic, meaning they are derived from fathers’ and grandfathers’ names. Patronymic surnames are popular in several Scandinavian countries, such as Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.

Many Danish surnames come from other Scandinavian languages and German due to the close proximity of Germany to Denmark. Several surnames are indicative of aristocracy, occupation, and habitation. Here is a list of 100 common Danish last names or surnames.

Danish Last Names Or Surnames, With Meanings

1. Agard

Agard is a farm-based habitational surname popular in Denmark. It finds its roots in Danish and Norwegian history and refers to a family that may have grown up on a farm near a stream.

2. Andersen

Anderson is a patronymic surname, which is derived from the title “Anders.” Anders is a variant of Andrews, meaning “masculine.” The surname is extremely famous not only in Denmark but throughout the Nordic countries. The word translates to “son of Anders.”

3. Anselm

This name originates from Germany. Many Danes adopted German surnames due to the closeness of the two countries. Anselm means protection or “divine helmet.” This title was used for someone at war and who is protected by God.

4. Arntzen

Arntzen is a patronymic name of Danish, Swedish, and German origin. The word is an amalgamation of two elements, “arn,” meaning eagle and “wald,” meaning rule. It refers to someone as powerful as an eagle. 

5. Beck

Beck is a strong Danish surname linked to the name “Bach”. Bach finds its roots in Old Norse, England, and Germany. The name literally means “stream.”

6. Bille

In Old Norse, Bille finds its origins as a personal name. It is a powerful ornamental name meaning “axe.”

7. Boe

The Swedish-based surname is derived from the term “bo,” meaning farm. It is a toponymic surname, which ultimately comes from Old Norse. It could also be a derivative of “bode,” meaning dwelling.

8. Bohr

This name has been recorded in Denmark since the 18th century. It is derived from the short form of the Slavic personal name Boris. It could also be a shortened form of the medieval name Liborius, who was the patron saint of the city of Paderborn.

9. Borges

It finds its roots in the German patronymic name Borchers. Borchers is a variant of the medieval personal name Burkhard, which is a combination of burg meaning “fort” or “castle” and “hard,” meaning “brave” or “strong.”

10. Buske

It is a toponymic name, which comes from “busk,” meaning “bush” in Danish.

11. Christensen

The name means “son of Christen.” Christen comes from the word Christian.

12. Clausen

Clausen is a Danish patronymic last name and means “child of Claus.” This name is likely a form of Nicholas, which means “victory of the people.”

13.  Colding

The Danish surname is a toponymic surname that refers to Kolding, a fjord in Denmark. The name “Kolding” means “cold river.”

14. Collin

The Danish surname Collin is derived from Nicholas, which means “victory of the people.”

15. Corse

The Danish surname comes from the personal name Corse, which was a variant of Carsten, meaning “a follower of Christ.”

16. Dahl

The name originates from an Old Norse word meaning “valley.” It is a popular toponymic name.

17. Dastrup

Dastrup is a toponymic name from any of the several villages and towns called Dastrup in Denmark. 

18. Detlefsen

Detlefsen is a patronymic name from Denmark and North Germany. It is derived from the personal name Ditlev or Detlef composed of the Middle Low German words, “theudo,” meaning “people” and “lef,” meaning “life.” 

19. Digman

It is a toponymic name and a combination of the words “dig,” referring to a dike and “man.” The name likely referred to someone who lived near a dike.

20. Drewes

Drewes is a variant of the Scottish or English personal name Drew. It is a patronymic title and is considered a vernacular form of Andreas, which comes from Greek and means “masculine.”

21. Eilert

This name finds its roots in North Germany. It comes from the German name Egilhard, meaning “edge of a sword” or “brave and hardy.”

22. Egeberg

Egeberg Is a Norwegian and Danish toponymic surname derived from a place with the same name. “Ege” means “oak” and “berg” means “mountain” or “hill.”

23. Faaborg

Faaborg is a Danish toponymic last name from a place by the same name.  It is an old port town situated on the Faaborg fjord.

24. Fisker

The name Fisker refers to a fisherman in Danish. This surname is prevalent throughout the Nordic countries and Scandinavia.

25. Fogt

This Danish occupational name comes from the Danish word “foged,” meaning “bailiff” or “sheriff.”

26. Frandsen

Frandsen is a Danish patronymic last name meaning “son of Frand.” It is a variant of the personal name Franz or Frans, which likely referred to a Frenchman.

27. Frederiksen

This Danish patronymic name means “son of Frederik.” The name Frederik comes from German and means a “peaceful ruler.”

28. Gram

This Danish surname is likely a derivation of “gran,” which means “grain” in Danish. The name could have been an occupational one referring to a farmer.

29. Hansen

It refers to the “son of Hans.” The name “Hans” is a short form of Johannes, meaning “a gift from God.”

30. Hassing

The surname likely comes from the Middle High German word “haz” meaning “hatred.”

31. Helt

Helt is a German and Dutch variation of Held, which likely comes from Yiddish and means “a hero.”

32. Henriksen

The surname means the “son of Henrik.” Henrik is a variation of Henry, which comes from the German name Heimirich, meaning “home ruler.” 

33. Hertz

Hertz is a surname of German origin. It comes from the Middle High German word “herze,” meaning “heart.” The name likely referred to a brave or big-hearted person.

34. Hjort

Hjort is a Danish and Swedish ornamental name derived from “hjort,” meaning “deer” or “stag.”

35. Holm

It is a Nordic surname that means “small island.” The name likely comes from Old Norse.

36. Iversen

The surname means “son of Iver.” The name Iver comes from Old Norse, meaning “archer.”

37. Jakobsen

It is a patronymic Norwegian and Danish surname meaning “son of Jakob.” Jakob comes from Jacob, which means “supplanter.”

38. Jensen

It means “son of Jen.” The name Jen is a variation of John, which comes from Hebrew and means “God is gracious.”

39. Jespersen

It means “son of Jesper.” The name Jesper is a Scandinavian version of the Hebrew word “gizbar,” meaning “treasurer.”

40. Johansen

It means the “son of John.” The name John comes from Hebrew and means “God is gracious.”

41. Jorgensen

It means “son of Jorgen.” The name Jorgen is a Danish variant of George, which an occupational Greek name referring to a farmer.

42. Jurs

Jurs is a vernacular variant of the name George, which comes from Greek and refers to a farmer.

43. Kaas

Kaas is the Danish word for cheese. It is likely an occupational surname for someone who makes cheese.

44. Kaysen

Kaysen means “son of Kay.” The name Kay comes from the Old Norse word “kalfr,” meaning “calf.” The name was an occupational name for someone who reared cattle”.

45. Kjaer

This toponymic surname is a variation of the Danish word “kaer,” meaning “marsh.”

46. Knudsen

The surname means “son of Knud.” The name Knud comes from the Old Norse “knutr,” meaning “knot.”

47. Krag

The name has its origin in German. It comes from the German word “kragen,” meaning “collar.” The name may have been used as a nickname for someone who wore a dress with a distinctive collar, perhaps suggesting aristocracy.

48. Kristensen

This patronymic name means “son of Kristen.” The name Kristen is derived from Christian.

49. Larsen

It means “son of Lars.” Lars is a variant of Lawrence, which comes from the Roman name Laurentius referring to someone from the place called Laurentum.

50. Lauridsen

It means “son of Laurids.” The name Laurids is a variant of Laurits, which comes from Lawrence.

51. Lund

Lund is a toponymic surname referring to someone from Lund, Sweden. The name Lund comes from the Old Norse word “lundr,” meaning “grove.”

52. Lykke

It is the Danish word for “happiness.” The name may have started as a nickname for a cheerful person.

53. Madsen

It means “son of Mads.” The name Mads is a variation of the Hebrew name Matthew, which means “gift of God.”  

54. Mathiasen

It means “son of Mathias.” Mathias is a Scandinavian variation of Matthew.

55. Mogensen

It is a patronymic Norwegian and Danish surname and means the “son of Mogens.” Mogens is a variation of the Latin name Magnus, meaning “great.”

56. Moller

Moller is an occupational surname that comes from the Middle High German word “muller,” meaning a “miller.”

57. Mortensen

The name means “son of Morten.” Morten is a variant of Martin, which is a Roman name referring to the Mars God.

58. Nielsen

It means “son of Niels.” Niels comes from the Greek name Nicholas, meaning “victory of the people.”

59. Nissen

The patronymic Danish surname means “son of Nis.” Nis is the Danish short form of Nicholas.

60. Norgaard

The Danish last name is a combination of the word “nord,” meaning “north,” and “gard,” meaning “farmstead.”

61. Nyman

Nyman is a fusion of the Danish words “ny,” meaning “new,” and “man,” meaning “man.” The name may have been a nickname for a foreigner or stranger.

62. Olsen

It means “son of Ole.” The name Ole comes from Olaf, which comes from the Old Norse and means “descendant.”

63. Oster

It is a Danish surname that comes from the word “ost,” meaning “east.” This could have been a toponymic or ornamental name.

64. Overby

This unique surname is also a word in English. The word likely comes from Scottish and means “over the way” or “across the way.”

65. Paske

It is the Danish derivation of the Latin name Pascal, which comes from the Latin word Pascha, meaning Easter.

66. Pedersen

It means “son of Peder.” Peder comes from the Greek name Peter meaning “stone.”

67. Pelle

Pelle is a Nordic variant of the Greek name Peter. Pelle is a common surname in several Nordic countries.

68. Pio

Pio is a short form of the Latin name Pius, which means “pious” or “devout.”

69. Poulsen

It means “son of Poul.” Poul is a variant of Paul, which comes from Latin and means “humble.”

70. Quist

It is derived from the word “kvist,” which means “twig” in Danish. The name may have started out as a nickname.

71. Randrup

Randrup is a Danish family name and the name of several homesteads owned by them across Denmark.

72. Rasmussen

It means “son of Rasmus.” Rasmus comes from the Greek name Erasmus, which means “beloved.”

73. Riber

It is a toponymic surname referring to someone originally from Ribe, a town in Denmark.

74. Ronne

The name comes from the Old German word “hraban,” meaning “raven.” It is also the name of a place in Denmark.

75. Salling

It is a toponymic name for someone from Salling, a peninsula in Northern Europe and a part of Denmark.

76. Sander

It is the Scandinavian version of Alexander, which comes from Greek and means the “defender of men.”

77. Schmidt

It comes from the Middle High German word “smit,” meaning a “smith” or “metalworker.” It is an occupational surname.

78. Schou

Schou comes from the Danish word “skov,” meaning “forest” or “woods.” The name is a toponymic one and originally would have referred to someone who lived by a forest.

79. Simonsen

It means “son of Simon.” The name Simon comes from Hebrew and means “he has heard.”

80. Skov

Skov is the Danish word for “forest.” It is a toponymic surname.

81. Soenksen

It means “son of Soenk.” The name Soenk likely comes from the Middle High German word “soen,” meaning “son.”

82. Sondergaard

This Danish surname is a combination of the word “sonder,” meaning “to the south,” and “gaard,” meaning “farmstead.” It is a toponymic name for someone from a farm located to the south.

83. Sorensen

It means “son of Soren.” The name Soren traces its roots to the Roman name Severus, which comes from Latin and means “stern.”

84. Storjohann

The name is a fusion of the Danish word “stor,” meaning “large” and “Johann,” meaning “John.” The name likely referred to a taller John or older John among various Johns. John comes from Hebrew and means “God is gracious.”

85. Strand

Strand is a toponymic surname and comes from the Old Norse word “strond,” meaning “beach” or “seashore.”

86. Svendsen

It means “son of Svend.” Svend comes from the Old Norse word “sveinn,” meaning “boy.”

87. Sylvest

Sylvest is a Danish variant of Sylvester, which comes from the Latin word “silva,” meaning “forest.” It is a toponymic surname.

88. Thagard

It refers to a homestead owned by a family or person named “Tha.” The name is likely a toponymic one, and is also spelled as Thagaard.

89. Thomsen

It means “son of Thom.” Thom comes from Thomas, which comes from Aramaic and means “twins.”

90. Thorn

It is a toponymic surname referring to someone who lived by a thorn bush or a hedge. The word “thorn” comes from Old Norse.

91. Thorup

Thorup is the Old Scandinavian word for a group of houses. Several settlement or hamlet names ended with the name Thorup or Thorpe. The surname may have been toponymic or occupational, referring to someone who made houses.

92. Tranbarger

The name is a toponymic one and refers to someone originally from Tranebjerg in Denmark.

93. Ursin

Ursin is a Danish variant of the Roman name Ursinus, which comes from the Latin word “ursus,” meaning a “bear.”

94. Vang

Vang comes from the Old Norse word “vangr,” meaning a “grassy slope” or a “meadow.” It is a toponymic surname.

95. Vester

It is a contraction of Sylvester, which comes from the Latin word “silva,” meaning “forest.” It is a Danish toponymic surname.

96. Vestergaard

It is a combination of the name Vester and “gard,” meaning “farmstead.” The toponymic Danish surname originally referred to a farmstead owned by a person or family named Vester.

97. Winther

It is a Swedish and Danish variant of the name Winter, which comes from English and refers to the winter season.

98. Wivell

Wivell is a toponymic surname referring to someone from the Danish town of Vivild.

99. Wolff

It is a variant of the name Wolf, which comes from English and refers to the animal wolf. The Danish surname may have originally been a nickname or an ornamental title.

100. Work

The toponymic surname likely refers to someone from the place called Work in Scotland. 

Although the patronymic discipline of Danish surnames prevailed, the tradition has become less common. This list of 100 common Danish last names or surnames, with meanings, gives you a glimpse of the region’s various naming-related cultural norms and practices.

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