Danish First Names
The first Danes arrived in the northern land approximately 10,000 years ago and made their living as hunters and fishermen. Early humans migrated from southern and eastern Europe to inhabit the lands around the time of the last ice age. Around 3,000 BCE, farms appeared, and by 200 CE, the Danes were engaging in trade with the Roman Empire.
However, the most famous period of Danish history is likely the era of the Vikings. The Danes used their knowledge of shipbuilding and weaponry to conduct violent raids for over 250 years on the English and other Scandinavian tribes and settlements.
The Viking age started around 740 AD, and during its time, they traveled as far as Russia and Turkey in the east and Greenland and North America to the west.
King Harald adopted Christianity in 965 CE; however, the Danes continued to war with neighboring lands and expanded their kingdom into parts of Estonia and Germany.
At the turn of the 14th to 15th century Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden were united as one Kingdom and ruled by Queen Margrethe I. Sweden was first to break away in 1523, and it wasn’t until 1814 that Norway became independent. Iceland finally gained its independence in 1918.
Having engaged, conquered, traded, and interacted with so many different cultures, it is no surprise that Danish baby names have been influenced by several languages, cultures, and religions. Although the spellings may have altered slightly in the U.S., many Danish names are still popular today.
Whether you’re looking for a name inspired by Norse mythology or a Scandinavian name that has stood the test of time, look no further than our complete list of Danish baby names.
Common Danish Girl Names and Meanings
- Agnes - Greek. Pure, chaste, or holy.
- Alberte - Old German/Old French. This name means noble or bright. It is more commonly spelled Alberta in English.
- Alma - Latin. Nourishing. It is also Spanish for soul and Hebrew for a maiden.
- Anja - Danish. God has favored me.
- Astrid - Old Norse. Divine beauty.
- Bjork - Swedish/Icelandic/Norwegian. Birch. Used a girl’s first name and a surname.
- Clara - Latin. Illustrious.
- Ella - German/English. Fairy maiden or goddess.
- Elna - Danish. Ray of sunlight.
- Freja - Scandinavian. Freja is the Norse goddess of love. It is pronounced Fre-ya.
- Gjerta - Danish. Safety and protection.
- Ida - Old German. Hardworking.
- Johanne - Hebrew. God is gracious. Joanne, Johann, Jo Anne, and Jo Ann are alternative spellings.
- Josefine - French/Hebrew. Jehovah increases. More commonly spelled Josephine in English.
- Karla - Greek. Freeman. It is the feminine form for Karl or Carl.
- Maja - Finnish/Scandinavian. The Sea of Bitterness. A derivative of Mary or Maria and could also mean beloved, rebellious, or bitter.
- Margrethe - Danish/Greek. This popular name means pearl.
- Runa - Scandinavian. Secret lore.
- Sofia - Spanish. Wisdom.
- Vikie - Danish. Victor, conqueror.
Common Danish Boy Names and Meanings
- Alfred - Old English. This nordic name means elf king.
- Aksel - Norwegian. The father is peace. It is the Scandinavian version of the Hebrew name Absalom.
- Anton - German. Worthy of praise.
- Arne - German. Eagle. A popular first name throughout Scandinavia, it is also a surname in England.
- Askel - Old Norse. Divine cauldron.
- Bjorn - Danish/Swedish. This popular Nordic name means bear.
- Dierk - Danish. Ruler of the people.
- Elias - Greek/Hebrew. A version of Elijah, a name meaning Yahweh is my God.
- Emil - Latin. Rival.
- Frederik - German/Engish. Peaceful ruler.
- Hans - German/Danish. God is gracious. A derivative of Johan.
- Jesper - Arabic/Dutch. A Scandinavian version of the Persian name Jasper meaning treasure.
- Knud - Old German/Swedish. Knot.
- Malthe - Danish/Swedish. Rule or power.
- Mikkel - Hebrew. A version of Michael that means who is like God?
- Niels - Danish. Champion.
- Oscar - English/Irish. Deer friend or friend of the deer.
- Thor - Thor is an Old Norse name for the god of Thunder.
- Valdemar - Danish/Swedish/Norwegian. Famous ruler.
- Villads - Old Saxon/Danish. Resolute warrior.
About L. Elizabeth Forry
L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with 15 years of classroom experience.