100 Scandinavian Last Names Or Surnames With Meanings

 100 Scandinavian Last Names Or Surnames With Meanings

Image: Shutterstock

Scandinavia is the European region that encompasses Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. As these countries have strong cultural and linguistic ties, it is no wonder that they have a lot in common in the surnames too.

The ancestors of modern Scandinavians used a patronymic naming system. The nobles were the first to take last names, and the trend spread to artisans, merchants, and clergies.

Last names were used with primary patronyms along with a suffix . Some of the patronymic suffixes are ‘-sen,’ ‘-sson,’ ‘-son,’ ‘-datter,’ ‘-dorrit,’ ‘-dotter,’ ‘-fen,’ ‘-ler,’ ‘-zen,’ and ‘-zon.’ For instance, Johannes Jensen means ‘Johannes, the son of Jens.’ Maren Pedesdatter means ‘Maren, the daughter of Peder.’ Until the 1900s, Scandinavian women did not take the surname of their husbands and carried only the maiden surnames throughout their married life.

In this MomJunction post, we give you a list of 100 Scandinavian last names or surnames with interesting origins and meanings.

Scandinavian Last Names With Meanings

1. Aaberg

It is a name taken from Scandinavian elements, ‘aa’ meaning ‘river’ and ‘berg’ meaning ‘mountain or hill.’ The name is believed to be of Swedish origin and is also spelled as Aberg.

2. Aland

This surname has a toponymic origin and refers to the Aland Islands in the south of Finland within the Gulf of Bothnia.

3. Alfson

It is an anglicized form of Alfsson, and refers to ‘son of Alf.’ Alf is a derivative of Old Norse ‘alfr’ or ‘elf’ which, in the Norse legend, was the name of a king.

4. Axel

It is a derivative of Old Norse ‘Asketill’ with elements ‘oss’ or ‘ass’ meaning ‘god’ and ‘ketill’ meaning ‘kettle’ or a ‘sacrificial cauldron.’ The other variants of the name are Axcell, Axell, and Aksell. It is also a shortened name for patronymic names Axelson or Axelsson.

5. Backe

It is a variation of the name ‘Bakke’ that has Dutch and Norwegian origins. It comes from the Middle Dutch word ‘bac’ meaning a ‘bucket’ or a ‘beaker.’ It likely refers to someone who was in the occupation of making buckets or other vessels. Another origin is from the name of numerous farmsteads in Norway. The name, in this case, comes from the Old Norse name ‘Bakki’ meaning ‘bank’ or ‘hillside.’

6. Beck

It comes from the Swedish word ‘back’ meaning a brook or a stream. It is a toponymic name for a person who resided by a stream or a riverbank. Other variants of the surname include Back, Bekk, and Baek.

7. Bell

This surname has both German and English origins. In German, it is a toponymic name for someone hailing from Bell of Rhineland, or from Belle of Westphalia. According to Middle English, it is an occupational name for bell maker of bell ringer.

8. Bengtsson

It is of Swedish origin with a patronymic meaning ‘son of Bengt.’ The name Bengt is the Swedish version of the name ‘Benedict, which comes from the Late Latin name ‘Benedictus’ meaning the ‘blessed one.’ Other variants of the name are Bankson, Bankston, Bengtzon, Benson, or Benktsson.

9. Berg

It is the Swedish word for ‘mountain’ and thus a toponymic name for someone who lived near or on a hill. The word likely comes from the Old Norse element ‘bjarg’ meaning ‘hill’ or ‘mountain.’

10. Bielke

This surname is a variant form of ‘Bjelke,’ which means a ‘beam’ in Norwegian. The name Bjelke dates back to the 1500s and was the name of a noble family.

11. Bjerke

It has an ornamental origin and has topographic meaning as the name comes from the Old Norse word ‘birki’ meaning ‘birch.’

12. Blom

It has its origin in Scandinavian, German, and Dutch languages. The name comes from a word that refers to a ‘bloom’ or ‘flower.’

13. Bonde

It comes from Old Norse word ‘bondi’ meaning a ‘farmer.’ The name is an occupational one and refers to someone who works as a farmer or was employed in the agriculture sector.

14. Borg

It comes from the Old Norse word ‘borg’ meaning ‘fortification.’ It is a toponymic name for someone who lived around a fort or a hill that worked as a fortification.

15. Brand

This is a patronymic form of German personal name ‘Brando’ meaning ‘sword.’ The name probably came from Old Norse and spread across Scotland, Scandinavia, England, North Germany, and the Netherlands.

16. Breiner

It comes from the Middle High German word ‘brie’ meaning ‘porridge.’ It is likely an occupational name.

17. Bunderson

It is a variant form of Danish ‘Bundeson’ or Swedish ‘Bondesson’. The name is a patronymic form of ‘Bonde,’ which comes from the Old Norse word ‘Bondi’ meaning a farmer.

18. Carlson

This has a patronymic meaning, ‘son of Carl.’ The name ‘Carl’ comes from the name ‘Charles,’ which comes from the Germanic word ‘Karl’ meaning a ‘man.’

19. Christensen

It is a Danish and Norwegian patronymic surname originated from the personal name, Christen meaning ‘son of Christen.’ The name ‘Christen’ comes from the word ‘Christian.’ The other variants of the name are Christenson, Kristenson, and Kristensen.

20. Dahl

It is a toponymic name given to a person living in a valley or among several valleys. It is a derivative of the Old Norse word ‘dalr’ meaning ‘valley.’

21. Dolph

It is a variant of the German name ‘Adolf.’ The name ‘Adolf’ is composed of Old High German elements ‘adal’ meaning ‘noble’ and ‘wulf’ meaning ‘wolf.’

22. Edman

This surname is of Swedish origin and is made from elements ‘ed’ meaning ‘isthmus’ and ‘man’ meaning ‘man.’ It is likely a toponymic name referring to someone who lived on an isthmus, a narrow strip of land that connects two large pieces of land.

23. Ellingboe

This surname has its origin in the Old Norse word ‘Erlingr,’ meaning ‘son of an Earl (nobleman).’ Another origin could be the Frisian words ‘Elle’ and ‘boe’ meaning ‘abode’ or ‘dwelling.’

24. Emanuelson

It means ‘son of Emanuel.’ The name Emanuel is a derivative of Hebrew personal name ‘Immanuel’ meaning ‘god is with us.’

25. Engberg

It is a combination of the Swedish words ‘ang’ meaning ‘meadow’ and ‘berg’ meaning ‘mountain.’ It is a toponymic name.

26. Engman

It also has Swedish origin, and is a combination of the Swedish words ‘ang’ meaning ‘meadow’ and ‘man’ for ‘man.’ It is a toponymic name for someone who lived in or around a meadow.

27. Ericson

It is a patronymic name that means ‘son of Eric.’ The name ‘Eric’ is derived from the Old Norse personal name ‘Eirikr’ containing the elements ‘ei’ meaning ‘always’ or ‘ever’ and ‘rikr’ meaning ‘power’ or ‘ruler.’ Other variants of the name are Ericksen, Ericsson, Erichsen and Eriksson.

28. Erling

This Scandanavian surname means ‘descendant of jarl.’ The word ‘jarl’ is an Old Norse word meaning ‘nobleman,’ ‘chieftain,’ or ‘earl.’

29. Eskildsen

It is a variation of the name ‘Asketill’ that contains the Old Norse elements ‘oss’ or ‘ass’ meaning ‘god’ and ‘ketill’ meaning ‘kettle’ or a ‘sacrificial caldron.’

30. Estenson

It is also a patronymic form of the Old Norse name ‘Eysteinn’ containing the elements ‘ey’ meaning ‘happiness,’ ‘luck,’ or ‘git’ and ‘steinn’ meaning ‘stone.’

31. Fagerberg

An ornamental name combined of two Scandinavian elements namely ‘fager’ meaning ‘beautiful’ and ‘berg’ meaning ‘hill’ or ‘mountain.’

32. Falk

It is an ornamental name derived from the Scandinavian word ‘Falk’ meaning a ‘falcon’ or a ‘bird of prey.’

33. Falkenberg

It has both toponymic and ornamental meanings. The name is a combination of the Scandinavian elements, namely ‘falk’ meaning ‘falcon’ and ‘berg’ meaning ‘hill’ or ‘mountain.’

34. Fredrickson

It is a patronymic name that means ‘son of Fredrick.’ The name ‘Fredrick’ means ‘peaceful rules.’ The name is composed of the Old German elements ‘frid’ meaning ‘peace’ and ‘ric’ meaning ‘ruler.’ The other spelling variants of Fredrickson are the Swedish, Fredriksson, and Norwegian, Fredriksen.

35. Friberg

It has an ornamental derivation made of Scandinavian elements ‘fri’ meaning ‘free’ and ‘berg’ meaning ‘mountain’ or ‘hill.’ The name is also a toponymic one for any of the several places called Frieberg in Germany.

36. Frisk

It is the Swedish word for ‘healthy and fresh.’ The word ‘frisk’ is a derivative of Middle Low German word ‘vrisch’ meaning ‘fresh and young.’

37. Frydenlund

It is a toponymic name and refers to a place called Frydenlund in Norway. It is also an ornamental name made from the Scandinavian elements ‘fryd’ meaning ‘delight’ and ‘lund’ meaning ‘grove.’

38. Gulbrandsen

It is a patronymic name meaning ‘son of Gudbrandr.’ The name Gudbrandr is composed of the Old Norse elements ‘gud’ meaning ‘god’ and ‘brandr’ meaning ‘sword.’ The other variants of this surname are Gulbrandson and Gulbranson.

39. Gustafsson

It means ‘son of Gustav.’ The name Gustav comes from Old Norse and means ‘staff of Geats’ where ‘Geats’ refer to an ancient tribe.

40. Hall

This has German, English, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish origins with a simple meaning ‘hall.’ This name was given to those who worked or lived in a hall, which is the house of a medieval noble.

41. Halvorson

It means ‘son of Halvor.’ The name ‘Halvor’ means ‘firm’ and ‘prudent’. The name is composed of the Old Norse elements ‘hallr’ meaning ‘rock’ and ‘vardr’ meaning ‘defender.’

42. Haraldson

It means ‘son of Harald.’ ‘Harald’ comes from the name ‘Harold’ that is an occupational name from Old German meaning a ‘commander.’

43. Hartvigsen

It is a patronymic form of the Germanic personal name ‘Hartvig’ that has the Old German elements ‘hard’ meaning ‘strong’ and ‘wig’ meaning ‘combat’ or ‘battle.’

44. Helvig

The name is composed of the Old German elements ‘hel’ meaning ‘luck’ and ‘wig’ meaning ‘war.’

45. Hjorth

It is a variant of the name ‘Hjort’ that is the Swedish and Danish word for ‘deer.’ The name is likely an ornamental one or an occupational one or could have begun as a nickname.

46. Holmen

It is a variant of the name ‘Holm’ that in Old Norse means an ‘island’ or refers to a ‘settler from an island.’ The name is a toponymic one.

47. Horn

This has its roots in German, Norwegian, Danish and English languages, and taken from the Germanic element ‘horn’ meaning a ‘horn.’ It is an occupational name for a person carving objects from a horn, or the one who plays a horn, or someone who lived in a horn-shaped piece of land.

48. Junge

This Scandinavian surname is derived from Old Danish personal name ‘Odhinkar’. This name is composed of the Scandinavian elements ‘Odinn’ meaning ‘god’ and ‘karr’ meaning ‘strong .’

49. Knudtson

This last name has a variant spelling ‘Knudsen,’ which means ‘son of Knud.’ The name ‘Knud’ is personal name taken from the Old Norse word ‘knutr’ meaning ‘knot.’

50. Kolbeck

It is a combination of the Old Norse word ‘kaldr’ meaning ‘cold’ and ‘bekkr’ meaning ‘stream.’ The name Kolbeck is either an ornamental one or a toponymic one referring to someone who lived near a cold stream.

51. Krog

It is a toponymic name for someone from any of the several places called Krog in Scandinavia. The name comes from Scandinavian and means ‘bend’ or ‘corner.’

52. Kron

The name has its origin in German ‘Krone’ or Swedish ‘Krona’ meaning ‘crown.’ It was used as a byname for a person working in a royal household.

53. Leif

It is derived from the Old Norse word ‘Leifr’ which means ‘descendant,’ ‘heir,’ or ‘beloved.’

54. Lind

This name has Scandinavian, Dutch, English and Jewish origins, and is a toponymic name for a person who lived by a linden tree.

55. Lindquist

It is a name composed of the Swedish words ‘lind’ meaning ‘linden tree’ and ‘quist’ meaning ‘branch’ or ‘twig.’ The name could be an ornamental one or could be toponymic.

56. Lorenzen

It means ‘son of Lorens.’ The name ‘Lorens’ traces its origins to the Old Roman name ‘Laurentius’ meaning ‘from Laurentum.’ Laurentum was a city in Ancient Italy and its name likely comes from the Latin word ‘laurus’ meaning ‘laurel.’

57. Lund

It is a toponymic name for those lived by a grove. The name comes from the Old Norse word ‘lundr’ meaning ‘grove.’

58. Mathieson

This surname is a patronymic one and means ‘son of Matthew.’ The name Matthew comes from the Hebrew name ‘Mattityahu’ meaning ‘gift from God.’

59. Ness

It is derived from the Old Norse word ‘Nes’ meaning a ‘promontory’ or ‘headland’, which is the name for a piece of land or rock that projects off the coast towards the sea. The name is a toponymic one referring to someone who lived on a headland.

60. Nord

It is the Swedish word for ‘north’ and is a toponymic name referring to someone who lived in the northern part of the village, or who migrated from the north.

61. Nyberg

It is a combination of the Swedish words ‘ny’ meaning ‘new’ and ‘berg’ meaning ‘mountain.’

62. Nybo

It is a combination of the Swedish words ‘ny’ meaning ‘new’ and ‘bo’ meaning ‘house’ or a ‘dwelling.’ This surname is a toponymic one denoting any of the many farmsteads with this name.

63. Nyborg

The name is composed of the Swedish words ‘ny’ meaning ‘new’ and ‘borg’ meaning ‘castle.’ It is a toponymic name for someone living near a new castle or fort.

64. Nygaard

It a toponymic name consisting of the Swedish words ‘ny’ meaning ‘new’ and ‘gard’ meaning ‘courtyard’ or ‘farmstead.’

65. Nyhus

This Scandinavian name is a combination of the Norwegian words ‘ny’ meaning ‘new and ‘hus’ meaning ‘house.’ The name is likely a toponymic one.

66. Nyland

It is composed of the Norwegian words ‘ny’ meaning ‘new’ and ‘land’ meaning ‘land’ or ‘farmstead.’ It has a toponymic name referring to someone from a newly reclaimed land or new farmstead. Other variants of the name are Nilant, Nieland, and Nijland.

67. Nylund

This surname has a Swedish origin and is a combination of the words ‘ny’ meaning ‘new’ and ‘lund’ meaning ‘grove.’ It is a toponymic name referring to someone from a ‘new grove.’

68. Ohlson

It has its roots in the country of Sweden, and means ‘son of Olaf.’ The name Olaf comes from the Old Norse word ‘Aleifr,’ which means ‘ancestor’s heir’ or ‘ancestor’s descendant.’

69. Olander

It is a toponymic name for someone living in the islands of Oland (eastern Sweden) or Aland (western Finland).

70. Oman

It is a composite of the Swedish words ‘O’ meaning ‘island’ and ‘man’ meaning ‘man.’ The surname means ‘island man’ and is a toponymic one.

71. Oscar

Oscar is a combination of the Gaelic elements ‘os’ meaning ‘deer’ and ‘cara’ meaning ‘friend.’ Another source of the name could be the Old Norse word ‘Asger’ meaning ‘god’s spear.’

72. Peerson

It is a patronymic name meaning ‘son of Par’ or ‘son of Per.’ ‘Per’ and ‘Par’ are Scandinavian versions of the name Peter. The name Peter comes from the Old Greek name ‘petros’ meaning ‘stone’ or ‘rock.’

73. Pihl

The ornamental name is derived from the Scandinavian word ‘pil’ meaning ‘arrow.’ The name is likely an occupational one referring to someone who makes arrows or is an archer.

74. Riis

It is a Scandinavian nickname taken from ‘ris’ meaning ‘scrub’ or ‘twigs.’ The name likely comes from the Old Norse word ‘hris,’ which means ‘brushwood.’

75. Ring

This surname has its origin in the Middle High German word ‘Rinc’ meaning circle. It is regarded as the surname for the maker of rings as jewelry or as in a harness.

76. Risberg

It is a combination of the two Old Norse words ‘hris’ meaning ‘brushwood’ and ‘berg’ meaning ‘mountain.’ It is a toponymic name for a person whose ancestral line is from a farmstead or a place with brushwood hill.

77. Rosenberg

It translates to ‘rose mountain’ in Swedish with the words ‘rosen’ meaning ‘rose’ and ‘berg’ meaning ‘mountain.’ It is an ornamental name or could also be a toponymic name.

78. Salverson

This is a patronymic name meaning ‘son of Salve.’ The name ‘Salve’ comes from the Old Norse words ‘salr’ meaning ‘hall’ or ‘house’ and ‘ve’ meaning ‘hero’ or ‘giant.’

79. Sandberg

It is a combination of the Swedish words ‘sand’ meaning ‘sand’ and ‘berg’ meaning ‘mountain.’ This toponymic name thus means ‘sand mountain.’ Another variant of the name is Zandberg.’

80. Sigmond

It is a variant of ‘Sigmund’ that comes from the Germanic elements ‘sigu’ meaning ‘victory’ and ‘mund’ meaning ‘protection’ or ‘protector.’

81. Skau

This surname is a derivation of the Old Norse word ‘skogr’ meaning ‘forest’ or ‘wood.’ It is a toponymic name for someone who lived around a forest or farmland.

82. Soelberg

It is a combination of the Scandinavian words ‘sol’ meaning ‘sun’ and ‘berg’ meaning ‘mountain.’ The name means ‘sun mountain’ and is a toponymic name.

83. Steenberg

This has Scandinavian and German origins and is a variant of the name Stenberg. The toponymic name is formed with the combination of the Middle Low German words ‘sten’ meaning ‘stone’ and ‘berg’ meaning ‘hill’ or ‘mountain.’

84. Steensen

The patronymic name means ‘son of Steen.’ The name ‘Steen’ is derived from the Old Norse word ‘steinn’ meaning ‘stone.’

85. Stendahl

It is an ornamental name with Swedish elements ‘sten’ meaning ‘stone’ and ‘dahl’ meaning ‘valley.’

86. Strand

It is derived from the Old Norse word ‘strond’ meaning ‘seashore’ or ‘beach.’ The toponymic name is given to those living near the sea.

87. Thomason

It means ‘son of Thomas.’ The name ‘Thomas’ comes from the Aramaic name ‘Taoma’ meaning ‘twin.’

88. Thor

It comes from the Old Norse word ‘Thor’ meaning ‘thunder.’ The name refers to the God of Thunder in Norse mythology.

89. Thorp

This is a variant of the word ‘Torp’ that comes from Old Norse and means a ‘farm.’ The name ‘Thorp’ is a toponymic one.

90. Thostenson

It is a variant of ‘Thorstenson’ and a patronymic form of the personal name ‘Thortsrein’ or ‘Thurston.’ The names are a combination of the Old Norse words ‘Thor’ meaning the ‘God of Thunder’ and ‘steinn’ meaning ‘stone.’ The name thus refers to ‘Thor’s altar’ or ‘Thor’s hammer.’

91. Toft

This is a toponymic name referring to someone from any of the places or farmsteads called Toft. The name ‘Toft’ comes from the Old Norse word ‘topt’ meaning a ‘curtilage’ or ‘homestead.’

92. Tranum

It is a combination of the Scandinavian word ‘trane’ meaning ‘crane,’ and the second element ‘um’ from Old Norse word ‘heimr’ meaning ‘farmstead’ or ‘home.’

93. Truelson

Truelson or Trulson is a patronymic derivative of Old Norse ‘torgils’ taken from ‘Thor’ the Norse ‘God of Thunder’ and ‘gils’ denoting a weapon.

94. Trygg

This surname is derived from the Old Norse nickname ‘Tryggr’ meaning ‘faithful’ or ‘trustworthy.’

95. Vagle

It a variant of the name ‘Wagle.’ This toponymic name comes from the Old Norse word ‘vagl’ meaning a ‘roost’ or ‘perch’ that refers to a ridge between two lakes.

96. Vang

It is the Swedish variant of the name ‘Wang.’ This name comes from the Old Norse word ‘vangr’ meaning ‘grassy land’ or ‘meadow.’ This name is an ornamental or toponymic one.

97. Westberg

It is a derivative of Scandinavian elements ‘vast’ meaning ‘west’ and ‘berg’ meaning ‘hill.’
This is a toponymic name referring to someone from the western mountains or hills.

98. Westergaard

It is a variant of another Scandinavian surname ‘Westergard.’ It is a toponymic name consisting o the Scandinavian elements ‘wester’ meaning ‘western’ and ‘gard’ meaning ‘farm.’

99. Winter

This surname is either derived from the Old English word winter or Old High German word ‘wintar’ meaning ‘winter.’ This was used as a byname for those having a cold personality.

100. Wuopio

This toponymic name comes from Swedish and likely refers to a person who lives in a narrow bay with a steep shore.

Scandinavian last names provide a glimpse into the rich cultural history of Scandinavia. There is a heavy influence of Old Norse. It is quite fascinating that many of these names have been around for several centuries and continue to bear the same meaning they had hundreds of years ago.

We hope you found this list of Scandinavian last names interesting. If you have more such surnames, do share them in the comment section below.

Was this information helpful?

The following two tabs change content below.

Rebecca Malachi

She is a Biotechnologist with a proficiency in areas of genetics, immunology, microbiology, bio-engineering, chemical engineering, medicine, pharmaceuticals to name a few. Her expertise in these fields has greatly assisted her in writing medical and life science articles. With 8+ years of work experience in writing for health and wellness, she is now a full-time contributor for Momjunction.com. She is passionate about giving research-based information to readers in need. Apart from writing, she is a foodie, loves travel, fond of gospel music and enjoys observing nature in silence. Know more about her at: linkedin.com/in/kothapalli-rebecca-35881628
FaceBook Pinterest Twitter Featured Image