Wednesday, August 5, 2015

10 Scandinavian Names You Never Thought of Using: Girls

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Scandinavian names are some of my favorites. I love their minimalism--it's very reflective of the culture. Scandinavian names can make great imports. It's easy to picture American children with many of the following names. Let me know which ones you like.

Annalie- She may look like an alternate spelling of smoosh name Annalee, but Annalie is actually the Finnish form of Hannah. She's definitely a fresh substitute.

Freja- Freja is a beautiful Danish name--one of my favorites. In Norse mythology, Freyja is the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. Another, more American friendly spelling is Freya.

Hedda- Hedda was originally a short form for Hedvig, the Scandinavian form of the German Hedwig. She's obviously much cuter, so use her on her own. No need to name your daughter Hedvig.

Linnea- Linnea is a gorgeous name with a scientific background. She comes from the surname of Carl Linnaeus--a botanist, physician, and zoologist who created the modern method of scientifically naming organisms. For a biology themed sibset, try Linnea and Darwin.

Malin- This contraction of Magdalene is simple, not overly feminine, and easy to pronounce and spell. Mallin is another possible spelling, though Malin is the traditional Scandinavian.

Marit- I met my first Marit the other day, and she made me fall in love with her name. She's a variation of Margaret, and has ties to Norweigan royalty.

Pirjo- I understand that Pirjo (pronounced PEER-yo) might not be the easiest name to wear as an American girl, but she's too cute (and wonderfully Scandinavian), so I couldn't pass her up. She's a diminutive of the Finnish Piritta, a variation of Birgitta. It's kind of a stretch, but Pirjo would make an adorable nickname for a Bridget.

Signe- Signe--also spelled Signy--is also a name from Norse mythology. Signy (with an accent over the Y) is the twin of Sigmund and the wife of Siggeir. In Sweden and Norway, Signe is pronounced SEENG-nee, however in Denmark is it said more like SEE-nee.

Sunniva- The cheerful Sunniva--that's SOON-ee-vah--means "sun's gift." Sunny, Eva, or Evie make lovely nicknames, though I like her in her whole form.

Tove- Tove is quintessentially Scandinavian. She's best known as the name of author and illustrator Tove Jansson, the creator of the Moomin series (pictured above). Tove is pronounced like Tova, which is an alternate, easier spelling for the English-speaking.


  1. Did I mention I love this series? I'm already looking forward to the Arabic and Japanese names.
    But I like scandinavian ones too. My favorite from this list are Freja and Pirjo. I also really like Moa, Tjorven and Pirkko.

    1. I'm so glad you like Pirjo! I thought she was so charming. Arabic is coming up! Look for it in the next few weeks.