Every region across the world has a list of popular names that most people refer to when considering baby names. While names tend to bleed over, with many countries sharing in-demand names like “Sophia” and “Oliver”, every name has an exclusive origin story. Knowing the meaning behind a baby name can be a great conversation starter, even if you don’t assign much weight to the meaning of a name.
A compilation of names makes a fantastic resource for parents searching for the perfect baby name. Even when the name consists of mainstream names, you’re bound to come across one that you forgot you loved.
And that’s why this list of Scandinavian boy names aims to remind you of some of the best culturally representative names out there in an attempt to help you choose a name your little one will be proud of!
Popular Scandinavian boy names
Scandinavian names for boys have been high on many parents’ wish lists in recent years. Whether it’s the coolness given off by this region – both literally and in terms of the style inspiration that the north offers – or just people wanting something a bit different, you’re sure to find something here that suits what you’re looking for.
Why not check out the most popular Scandinavian names for girls too? And for some country-specific inspiration…
- Does Sweden’s huge pop culture influence tickle your fancy? Why not check out the most popular Swedish names for girls from last year!
- How about the sweeping natural beauty of Norway, with the most popular Norwegian girl names from last year?
- Stylish Denmark is high on anyone’s list these days, as are these names from last year’s most popular Danish girl names.
- The cool north of Finland evokes some stunning imagery and so too may the most popular Finnish girl names of last year.
- What more could you want than Iceland’s incredible landscapes crossed with some mystical characters? Last year’s most popular Icelandic girl names could give you the same inspiration.
With both German and Dutch origins, Aaren, which is similar in style to “Aaron”, which is common in the United Kingdom and the USA. In Scandinavia, the name Aaren is associated with inspiration, and it’s certainly a meaningful title to give any little one. After all, our children are typically a massive inspiration to us.
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Pronounced “Oh-din”, the name Odin is incredibly popular in Scandinavia, and it’s been gaining traction around the world as well. Odin is a very well-known god in Norse mythology, representing art and wisdom.
In some parts of the world, Odin is actually a more modern form of “Owen”, and it remains at the top of the charts in Finland, Sweden, and Denmark.
Leif is pronounced “Lay-f”, and it’s a name associated with the Old Norse names of “Olaf” and “Elof”. Incredibly common in the regions of Denmark and Sweden, Leif is one of the uncommon Scandinavian boy names, but only in non-Scandinavian parts of the world!
Natives in the region hold this name very close, and many of them choose it for their baby boys.
Gunnar is a name that developed from Old Norse mythology that comes with the strong meaning of “war” and “warrior”. The name is an absolute favorite among Nordic regions, and it means a lot to the culture as a whole.
You may find that Gunther is a common replacement for this name, both in Scandinavia and around the world, and in the United States, you might hear “Gunner” as a version of “Gunnar”.
Did you know: Gunnar was actually one of the most common Icelandic names for males last year, if you’d like some extra inspiration from throughout Scandinavia!
When used outside of the Nordic countries, the name “Hannes” will often get a double-take. It’s not that the name itself is so unusual, but more that it’s so incredibly Nordic that the association around the world is strong.
Though Hannes ranks high in Scandinavian male names, you’ll likely hear the German-derived “Hans”, which has a more focused pronunciation in the second half. In Finland, the name “Hannes” means loving and quick-minded.
One of the badass Scandinavian boy names that have had a massive influence in Sweden, Anders means, very basically, “manly”. Also popular in Denmark and Norway, Anders has gained a little bit of popularity in other places, but the Scandinavian region is beyond proud to call this name their own.
After all, it’s been popular in Scandinavia for centuries, and the rest of the world is just a little late to the game regarding how cool this name is.
Søren is a name that doesn’t quite sound how it looks like it might sound. Pronounced similar to “Sir-n”, Søren actually has a very soft and gentle sound, even though it actually translates as “stern” or “severe”.
The name Søren is very common in and around Denmark, but it has since begun to spread to other regions in recent years. Some of you might recognize it from the Game of Thrones novels and series, and many parents did not hesitate to choose the name due to the GoT popularity!
Though it looks like it could be pronounced like the English “Arnie”, Arne actually sounds like “Arn-eh”, which is a bit on the softer side. Arne is a short-form version of an Old Norse name that translates directly to “Eagle”, making it one of the incredibly cool Scandinavian boy names, primarily for parents that adore nature or animals.
Arne is consistently topping lists of cute Scandinavian boy names, remaining in high demand among Scandinavians, primarily Norway and Denmark. In Sweden, you might hear or read “Arne” and “Arni”.
Almost everybody around the world is familiar with the brand “Baby Bjorn”. However, other than being plastered all over baby toys and products, the name Bjørn (or Björn, if you’re in Sweden), is incredibly popular throughout the Nordic region.
Bjørn is heavily associated with strength and power, and the name is translated to mean “bear”. If you’re headed into Norse territory, it’s very likely that you’ll come across many men named “Bjørn”. In particular, it’s very common in Norway and Denmark!
Pronounced “Kye”, Kai is a popular Scandinavian name for boys, not to mention around the rest of the world. It’s incredibly multi-cultural, laying down roots ranging from Norway to Hawaii. Kai has gained popularity in the UK and US in recent years, and the moniker means “restoration” and “recovery”.
Kai is a delightful name to give to a baby boy, and some people associate the name with the word “warrior” as well.
Raum, which is currently pronounced “Row-m”, is a completely unusual name and is one of the more modern Scandinavian names for boys. Raum is not like anything you might hear in the US or UK, as it is the name of a mythological Norwegian king.
This fact makes Raum a wonderful name for those that want to choose a name with a deep connection to Norway, Scandinavia, or even royalty. Raum can also mean “big” and while it hasn’t had much success taking off anywhere else in the world, it’s held its place at the top of the list in Norway for centuries.
Topping the list of badass Scandinavian names for boys, Magnus is likely a name that you’ve already heard, even if you don’t have any connections to the region. Magnus is actually an incredibly popular name in American movies, showing up in everything from Will Ferrell comedies to treasures like the kids’ book “Matilda”.
Depending on your location, Magnus might mean “powerhouse” or “great”. Either way, this name has a pretty cool meaning.
Pronounced “Vig-oh”, you’ve likely heard this name from the likes of superstar actor Viggo Mortensen. Viggo is closely related to “Ludvig” and the Old Norse “Vigge”, and in Scandinavia, the name itself is associated with warriors. After all, the word “Vig” means “battle” in Old Norse! It’s definitely one of the more cool Scandinavian boy names.
FYI: There are also some very cool old Norse female names if you’d like some extra, yet still traditional, name inspiration.
While you might know this more as “Caspter”, possibly for a certain little friendly ghost floating around with the name, Kasper is an incredibly popular name in Scandinavia.
Short for the full name “Chaldean”, Kasper translates to “treasure”. It would be near impossible to find a name that suits the birth of a new baby so well. The name appears in many parts of the world.
Did you know: Kasper was just outside the top 10 most popular Norwegian boy names last year, sneaking it at number 11. Take a look at our article to see which names grabbed the top spots!
Though the spelling is different, the name “Von” is pronounced like “John” and has begun to grow in popularity around the globe. There was a time when you may not have heard it too often outside of Scandinavia, but that time has since passed.
You might also see “Von” spelled as “Vaughn”, and it means “little one”. How perfect!
Axel is definitely one of the more well-known Scandinavian male names today, heavily in part to the popular television series “The Middle” and, of course, Guns N Roses frontman Axel Rose. Choosing Axel as a name for your little one definitely gives off a rock and roll vibe.
However, though the name Axel sounds pretty tough, it has a softer meaning. Specifically, Axel stands for “defending men ” and “my father is peace”.
Did you know: Finland has a gorgeous variant of this name if you’re looking for something different: Akseli. It even made the list of the most popular Finnish male names last year!
Nils, which is pronounced close to “kneels”, is a Danish name that is typically used as an alternative to the name “Niklas” also known as “Nicholas”. Nils translates to “victory of the people” and makes for a very powerful name for a little guy!
You’ll see that Nils is one of the more popular Scandinavian boy names (in fact, it was in the top 20 of the most popular Swedish names for boys last year), as it’s undeniably cool while remaining short and to the point.
It’s likely that you’ve heard Mathias plenty of times throughout your life, and it’s incredibly common in regions like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. Mathias, which is a fantastic name with an exotic sound, is actually a variation of “Matthew”.
The name Mathias translates to mean “gift, and it’s an adorable name for a new baby.
Bo is one of the more simple Scandinavian names for boys, and while it’s common in Denmark and Sweden, you’re certain to come across it many times throughout the Norse countries. Bo has its origins in the Old Norse nickname “Bua”, which means “to live”. Bo can be used as a first name, and many people use it as a nickname for “Beaufort”.
Eero is very common in Scandinavia but remains somewhat unnoticed in other parts of the world. Eero translates to “ruler” and it’s a unique name that presents a little mystery for modern parents that are looking for something different but not ridiculous.
While Eero is super popular in Finland, you’ll also hear it all throughout Scandinavia.
Pronounced “Yens”, Jens is often referred to as the Scandinavian version of “John”. Jens is derived from “Johannes”, which is popular throughout Denmark and Sweden.
While Jens hasn’t gained too much attention from those in the United States, it remains very popular in the Netherlands and Germany. Although it’s definitely one of the more popular Scandinavian boy names, it’s likely to be unique in any other location on Earth.
Stellan used to be one of the uncommon Scandinavian boy names, but it gained traction thanks to actor Stellan Skarsgård. Coming primarily from Sweden, Stellan translates to “peace” or “calm”.
Though it’s primarily Nordic, Stellan has roots in Germany too, so you might hear it there if you travel through. Stellan is a great name choice if you’re looking to find uniqueness without going overboard.
Due to the extreme popularity of the Disney Frozen franchise, the name “Olaf” has drawn quite a bit of attention. Before Frozen, however, there was Lemony Snicket and Count Olaf.
Regardless of the movie title from which you know the name, Olaf comes from an Old Norse word that means “ancestor’s descendants”. While some from around the world may choose this moniker based on its popularity, it holds a lot of meaning in Nordic countries.
Steig, which is said in a way that’s similar to “St-eeg”, is a name that hails from Sweden. While it’s not topping lists worldwide, Steig is known around the world, mostly because of author Steig Larsson, who penned The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Steig means “wanderer” and stems from the Old Norse language.
Lars is definitely one of the more widely known Scandinavian names. Not only is it popular in the Scandinavian region, but in many other parts of the world as well.
While, strictly speaking, Lars means “victory”, there are many people that associate the name “Lars” with the famous drummer from the band Metallica. Lars is short, sweet, strong, and undeniably Scandinavian.
Thor is a well-known name, though many are unsure of its origin. While Thor absolutely comes straight from Norse mythology, most people associate it with the Marvel superhero of the same name.
The name Thor is a real attention-grabber, as it refers to the god of thunder, regardless of where you’ve sourced the name from. Thor has a fantastically powerful meaning, and on top of that, it’s undeniably one of the more cool Scandinavian boy names you’ll find.
Not pronounced “Eye-var” but “Ee-vor”, and to many people, probably sounds a bit like “Igor”. Often translated to “god” or “warrior”, Ivar is a name that any Scandinavian boy would be proud to bear.
(If you haven’t noticed already, you’ll see that many Norse names have similar meanings, most of them rooted in strength.)
Oslo is pronounced “Os-low”. Not only is it a super cool name, but it’s also the capital of Norway. It’s a wonderful name to give any little boy to pay tribute to your Scandinavian roots, or just because you think it’s a fitting name for your new addition.
The name Oslo is short, easy to spell, and it remains high on the list of popular Scandinavian boy names starting with “O”, right up there with Odin and Olaf.
Chances are, if you recognize the name Olaf from the Frozen series, you’re probably familiar with Sven as well. However, Sven is so much more than an adorable, friendly reindeer, and it has concrete roots in Scandinavian culture.
In Denmark and Norway, the name “Sven” translates to “young man” or “young warrior”. Sven has always been popular in the Scandinavian region but has seen plenty of recent popularity in other countries as well.
Otto is an adorable, playful name that has been climbing the charts in various countries around the globe. Not only is Otto simple to spell and pronounce, making it ideal for those Pre-K and Kindergarten years, but it translates into “royal”, “rich”, or “wealthy”.
Given that it hasn’t been seen as much on class lists over the last few decades, a lot of people consider this as being one of the more modern Scandinavian names for boys – even if, in reality, there are actually a number of historical figures who had this name! But this (perceived) modernness, especially compared to many of the names mentioned thus far, makes it just as refreshing as it is cute!
Lucas is very popular in Scandinavia these days, but it’s also well-known worldwide. Lucas shot to popularity in the United States in the ’90s, thanks to actor Luke Perry and the hit show 90210.
In Latin, Lucas means “bringer of light”, and it comes with some fantastic nicknames, such as Luke and Luca. Lucas is absolutely a classic, and a classic never goes out of style.
Elias is a popular name throughout Scandinavia that you don’t hear too often in other parts of the world. Elias is believed to have Biblical ties and is closely associated with the name “Elijah”.
The name Elias means “the Lord is my God”, and it’s one of those names that works seamlessly from childhood through adulthood.
A derivative of “Philip”, the name Filip has Scandinavian roots, though you’ll hear it in countries throughout the world, particularly France. Filip has historical references to intelligence, intuition, and gracefulness.
Obviously, Filip isn’t the most common name on Earth, but it’s a good, strong name with a sense of magic around it.
Unlike Filip, Jakob, also spelled as “Jacob”, is one of the most common names in existence today, but even though it’s heard often, it manages to remain classic. Jacob is notoriously Biblical, but there is some evidence that the name may have been around B.C.
When associated with the Bible, Jakob means “supplanter” or “one who usurps”. In Hebrew, Jakob means “to follow”. Regardless of its meaning, it’s a great pick and a strong name.
Leo is a classic name that has become very popular in the last couple of decades, with people around the world utilizing it for their baby boys. Leo is a sturdy name that means “lion”, and many love that the name has astrological ties and a connection to the animal kingdom.
The name Leo is short and adorable, and you can’t go wrong in choosing it.
If you love the idea of naming a child after the King of the Savannah, but you’re not crazy about the name “Leo”, you might want to consider Ari. Ari is of Hebrew descent but remains popular in Scandinavia and around the world.
Like Leo, “Ari” means “lion”. That makes two amazing names with one strong meaning.
Oscar (or Oskar in some Scandi countries) is a well known name in many cultures, so you probably won’t be surprised to hear that it’s one of the most popular Scandinavian boys names out there. In fact, it’s been number one in Denmark for a while, so it definitely meets the criteria of being widely used in the region.
The name Oscar means “God spear”, “deer-lover”, and “champion warrior” and actually has Norse roots originally.
Did you know: Oscar was actually the most popular Danish boy name last year!
Mikael (often used alternatively as Mikkel, especially in Denmark) means “gift from God” and is a variant of “Michael”, as you can probably tell. It’s also been hugely popular in Scandinavia for some time now, with both adults and kids alike often bearing this name.
You may not consider Oliver as being a traditional Scandinavian name for boys, but it’s consistently been in the top 10 of many baby name lists throughout the region, particularly over the last few years.
Oliver comes from an Old Norse word meaning “ancestors’ descendants”, but in other cultures, such as Latin and Greek, Oliver means “olive tree” or “peace”. This gives you some great options no matter which origin story you choose!
If you’re looking for badass Scandinavian names for boys, Valdemar has you covered. Being particularly popular in Denmark, this name actually has German roots – despite sounding like it could be straight out of a Viking saga.
Valdemar means “power” and “fame” and given how striking this name sounds, you can probably see exactly how those meanings could come to life.
Victor (or often Viktor) remain very popular Scandinavian names for boys. And if you’re outside the region but are looking for a way to nod towards your Scandi love, this name is certainly also well known in other countries, so wouldn’t look out of place.
The name Victor means “conqueror” and, safe to say, naming your little boy this would definitely be a victory for your family.
Uncommon Scandinavian boy names
If you want to stay true to a certain culture and keep your baby name unique, these uncommon Scandinavian boy names (at least in most English speaking countries) are a perfect choice for you!