Scandinavia is a beautiful part of the world, including the countries of Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Norway. Although geographically these Northern European countries make up a small area of the world, they make up for it in the richness of their history, culture and language.
If parents are looking for a beautiful yet historical name, these Nordic countries are a perfect starting point. Steeped in history, many Nordic names reach back to Viking times. The influence of these names can be seen around the world. Many Scottish and English names can be traced back to the Vikings after the invasions which took place, whilst many others are strongly linked to the German language.
All Nordic names have clear and simple meanings linked to a person’s occupation, appearance or location. Some names are quite cheeky references to a person’s habits whilst many refer to battles.
Finding the perfect name for a daughter can be tricky. Parents may want a name that sounds strong and confident or a name that is very pretty and feminine. The good news is that Nordic countries have all bases covered.
So here is a selection of beautiful Nordic names that parents may want to consider using for their little girl.
Whilst in Latin this name means ‘ambitious one’, the Danish meaning is completely different. It means ‘pearl’. Girls with this name love peace and quiet. They strive to understand the world and make really good teachers and philosophers. They are usually quite introverted people and may even seem a bit aloof to others. However, Almeta is also naturally graceful and charming. Perfection is Almeta’s goal.
This name was very popular 100 years ago but is now at 10,059 in the baby charts.
Pronounced ‘KA-ya’, this name is popular across Scandinavia and Eastern European countries. It is sometimes used as a short version of Katarina. It is a beautiful yet interesting name, with different meanings in different countries. In Old Nordic, it translates as ‘chicken’, which isn’t the greatest name for your child! In Estonian it means ‘echo’, whilst in German, it means ‘a free man’.
There are many global versions of this name including the Welsh ‘Cadi’, the Russian ‘Katia’ and the Estonian ‘Kasia’.
Whilst Lauren and Laura are very popular names, Laurina makes a stylish alternative to these overused choices. Laurina is a Jewish name that is popular across the Nordic countries and translates as ‘bay tree’. This pretty and feminine name doesn’t give you a clue as to the confident and powerful personality that lies beneath the surface. Laurina is not someone to be messed with. Often egotistical and ruthless, Laurina always pushes herself to be more successful. Naturally enthusiastic, Laurina loves to lead a fast-paced life.
Short and sweet, this simple name is straight to the point. However, there are several different translations for this around the world, so it may not be as straightforward as it first seems. Popular abbreviations for ‘Margaret’ include Maggy and Madge, but this is a popular Swedish version of the same name. In this case, it means ‘Pearl’. It is also known around the Nordic countries as being ‘one who is from the sea’, so could be suitable for anyone living on the coast. In Slovenia, Maj is the name for the month of May and is used for boys.
What better Nordic name to give your little girl than Savea? It literally translates as ‘the Swedish nation’, so if you are Swedish or just particularly love that country, then this would make a great tribute. In the US, this pretty name is ranked at number 12,162 so would make a unique name. Savea is an inspiration to others and can always bring out the best in her friends and colleagues. She is adventurous and very passionate but also idealistic.
Similar names such as Elsa and Ava are currently very popular, so Alva makes a more unique choice for your little girl. Stylish and pretty, Alva means ‘brightness’ or ‘exalted’ and was American inventor Thomas Edison’s middle name. Alva is a Hebrew name and is found in the Bible with the spelling ‘Alvah’. It is used in Sweden and Norway as a feminine form of ‘Alf’, meaning ‘elf’. It is also an anglicized form of the Irish Gaelic name Ailbhe, meaning "white, noble or bright’
Translating as ‘the one who is graced with God’s bounty’, Annaliese has a really positive vibe. Annaliesa makes a great manager and likes to take charge of things. She likes responsibilities and fulfils them quickly with efficiency and style. Annaliesa is adventurous and passionate about anything she takes on. She loves to travel and be well stimulated, otherwise, she may become restless and impatient. Annaliesa can be a bit of a power hungry girl, so watch your step whilst she’s around!
Ellie, Elle and Ella have all been gaining in popularity as trendy abbreviations to other names. Maybe it’s time to go back to the long names and use the whole ‘Ellinor’. Stylish and sophisticated, this is a name that has many spellings, but this Nordic one is a little different. It means ‘light’ and can also be spelt as ‘Allinor’. Ellinor enjoys a life of order and tries to avoid chaos. She is very practical and values discipline, truth and justice.
This Swedish name is often shortened to ‘Nilla’ for a more modern feeling. Although it means ‘battle maiden’, Gunilla is actually a compassionate and sympathetic girl. She is really good at organising and loves to create systems and have order around her. Gunilla is great at leading other people although she sometimes has an over-inflated opinion of her abilities! She is a reliable and responsible person who has a really kind heart. Popular in the 1940’s, Gunilla Bielke was a 16th-century queen of Sweden.
This Scandinavian name means ‘young’ and is also found in the Bible as ‘Junia’. Juni enjoys safe and conventional activities and thrives in an atmosphere of order and security. Juni is an understanding person who can empathise with others and show compassion. Creative and artistic, Juni is friendly and outgoing.
Juni is also the Nordic name for the month of ‘June’ and is known in other countries as ‘Juna’, ‘Joni’ or even just ‘June’. At times stubborn and proud, Juni is a person with a strong will.
This is a very rare name, which translates as ‘to give refuge’. Juska is a goal-setting queen. She loves to give herself targets to work towards and is really good at reaching them. She will find success in her work life, personal life and financially, due to her diligence and hard work. She takes responsibility where necessary and is honest and open-minded. Juska is a reliable and honest friend to have.
Juska is also used in India for boys, the name meaning ‘happy minded’.
This is an Icelandic name which is a version of the popular Scandinavian name ‘Carita’. Whilst Carita means ‘charity’, Karitas translates as ‘beloved’. It is currently in the top 100 Icelandic names. Karitas is a social butterfly, who loves to mix with others and go on exciting adventures with friends. They are athletic and love travelling in order to explore the world and its mysteries. Karitas is a peacemaker who as a talent for creating harmonious environments and teaching others.
Kiira is a Jewish name that is popular across the Nordic countries. It is also the Finnish feminine form of the name ‘Cyrus’. It means ‘Lord of the Sun’ and is pronounced as ‘KEE-rah’. The Greek name ‘Kyros’ is thought to be the origins of this name from the two words ‘kyrios’ meaning ‘lord’ and ‘khur’ meaning ‘sun’.
Kiira is an independent girl who likes to be in charge of her own life and destiny. She is friendly and patient and her magnetic personality draws in lots of friends.
Kemma makes a great alternative to similar sounding names such as ‘Emma’ or ‘Gemma’. Whilst these names are fairly common, you can create more of a wow-factor with the lovely ‘Kemma’. It means ‘stronger than you’, so has a very strong and confident feel to it. Kemma motivates and inspires people with her unique way of doing things. She is an efficient and capable girl who values family. Kemma always strives for perfection in whatever she is doing, at work or in her personal life.
Here is a beautiful and feminine name that is a Nordic variation on the name Elizabeth. There are many short versions of this name including Liz, Lizzy, Beth and even Queen Elizabeth II’s childhood nickname Lilibet, but Lisbet is a far more unusual choice. Lisbet is a charismatic person who doesn’t like to be tied down to rules and traditions. She yearns to travel and be in control of her own adventures through life. Lisbet can be quick-tempered with those who do not fit her ideals.
This pretty name is particularly popular in Sweden and Finland. It is an abbreviation of the names Charlotte and Carlotta and whilst it is super cute for a baby, it also carries an air of sophistication suitable for the older Lotta. The meaning of the name is ‘free man’, suggesting that Lotta doesn’t answer to anybody! Lotta is a free spirit who does not enjoy being held down to rules or conventions. Lotta is an optimistic and energetic person who loves adventures and excitement.
Madeleine, Magdalene, Madeline, Madelyn and Magdalena are all popular names around the globe, but this Nordic version gives you something a little bit different from the rest. Also used in Germany, this name translates as ‘a town with a tower’. Although it is a very specific locational name you probably shouldn’t worry about the presence of lack of towers around when you come to name your baby girl. It is a rare name and has never ranked in the US top 1000.
This is another beautiful name with several different meanings. It is often considered to be a variation of Marnie, a French name based on the River Marne, which in turn comes from the Latin ‘Matronus’, meaning ‘lady’. However in Hebrew the name means ‘rejoice’, whilst in the Nordic countries it is considered to mean ‘she who is shining bright’. As all three are such lovely definitions, why not combine them and have ‘a lady who is rejoicing and shining bright’?
Translating as ‘a flower with good scent’, this name conjures up images of meadows of sweet-smelling wildflowers. This name is thought to have come from a French surname - Millais - which signified a seller of grasses. As with a lovely bloom, Millay brings beauty and romance to those around her. She is generous and kind and forgives easily. Millay comes across as a strong and confident person who likes to be in control, but in reality, she is only searching out happiness.
This is a popular Jewish name for a creative person or philosopher. It is sometimes used as a short form of the very pretty Ottilia and in Sweden is commonly given to the eighth child because of its links to the word ‘åtta’ meaning ‘eight’. The feminine form of ‘Otto’, it was very popular in the Victorian era but is still well used today.
Otta is an efficient and reliable person and although she is a good team player she chooses her friends carefully and is not a great socialite.
Sometimes used as an abbreviation for ‘Saffron’, Saffy is a stand alone name too. It can also be spelt ‘Saffie’ and denotes ‘a wise one’. As you would expect for such a wise lady, Saffy is an enthusiastic and positive person who attracts friends with her warm personality. She is very concerned with her physical appearance and likes to take her time dressing well and presenting herself beautifully. This well-groomed lady is friendly and patient with an air of independence.
Pronounced ‘SEE-grid’ in Swedish or ‘SEEG-reed’ in Finnish, this name is very ancient. It comes from the Old Norse name ‘Sigríðr’ meaning ‘victory’, ‘wisdom’, and ‘beautiful’. In Latvia, you might hear the name ‘Zigrīda’ whilst there are many nicknames including Siri, Sigga, Sig, and Sigi. Segrid enjoys a fast-paced and varied life. She likes to have unusual experiences and finds lots of opportunities for herself in life. A creative thinker, Segrid is an attractive lady with a love of clothes and pretty things.
This old Germanic name is the feminine version of Ebbe, which is short for Eberhard. It also comes from the Old English name Æbbe and is currently in the Swedish top 10. Names such as Ella, Emma, Eva and Ava are very popular at the moment, so Ebba could make a pretty alternative to these more common names. Simple yet traditional, Ebba is almost unknown in the USA. It translates as both ‘fortress of riches’ and ‘strength of a bear’.
Although only a few letters different from Annaliesa, Annelisse is an entirely different girl. This name is made up of two names, Anne and Liese and is known in other countries as Annalise. It means ‘the gracious, loving one’ and Annelisse is known for her peacemaking ways. She is romantic and artistic and very faithful to her friends and family. She is a compassionate person and likes to help others in need. An easy-going girl, Annelisse is a pleasure to be around.
If ‘Matilda’ is a little formal but ‘Tilly’ is a little too cute for you, try Tilda. From the Germanic languages, Tilda means ‘strength in battle’, suggesting that Tilda is no walkover. In Swedish, it is sometimes translated as ‘heroine’. Girls with this name unsurprisingly have strong characters and make fantastic leaders. They are able to come up with lots of new and innovative ideas and carry them out efficiently. Tilda is a courageous girl who can sometimes be a little too aggressive