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Updated August 22, 2022

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Swedish last names are a bit of a mixed bag, and in fact, it wasn’t until the Names Adoption Act in 1901 that Swedish citizens were required to adopt a surname. However, with the passing of the naming act, anyone who didn’t have a fixed surname was required to adopt their father’s first name as their own. As a result, patronymic last names like Eriksson and Andersson became popular. 

Other Scandinavian influences such as Norse mythology, nature-inspired names, nicknames, and geographical references are reflected in Swedish surnames as well. Thanks to the Norman invasion of Europe, surnames even became popular, to begin with, throughout the continent; therefore, there are Norman, Latin, and Hebrew influences among common Swedish surnames.

Patronymic Swedish Last Names (+ Meanings) 

Like many cultures finding a patronymic name in Sweden is common, and given that they typically include the suffix -son, their meanings are relatively straightforward. The word patronymic comes from the Greek word pater for father and onoma for name.

It was also common for girls to adopt their father’s first name and attach dotter or daughter at the end. In rare instances, if a child was born to an unwed mother, they may adopt a matronymic surname using their mother’s first name. 

  1. Abrahamsson - Son of Abraham
  2. Andersson - Son of Anders or son of Andrew
  3. Andersdotter - daughter of Anders
  4. Eriksson - Son of Erik
  5. Hansson - Son of Hans
  6. Jansson- Son of Jans
  7. Johansdotter - Johan’s daughter
  8. Johansson  - Son of Johan
  9. Karlsson- Son of Karl
  10. Larsson - Son of Lars
  11. Nilsson - Son of Nils
  12. Persdotter- Son of Per
  13. Svensdotter - Daughter of Sven
  14. Svensson - Son of Sven 
  15. Stinasson - Son of Stina 

Swedish Last Names Inspired by Nature

The natural landscape of Sweden is quite stunning. Beautiful snowcapped mountains, rolling hills, extensive fjords, and shimmering lakes and just a few of the features one can glimpse when visiting this Scandanavian wonder. The prefix berg, which means mountain, is used quite often with other Swedish words and is one of the most common last names found in Sweden. 

  1. Bergman - Mountain man.  Other variations of Berg include Bergstrom, meaning mountain river, Lindberg, which combines the two Swedish words for tree and mountain, and Sundberg or Sandberg, combining sound (sund) and mountain.
  2. Blom - This simple last name means flower. A similar last name Blomqvist means flower branch.
  3. Björklund - Björk, the name of the famous Icelandic singer, means birch tree. The last name Björklund refers to a person who lives by a birch grove. 
  4. Eklund - Oak grove. 
  5. Fors - Waterfall or rapid water. An alternate version, Forsberg, refers to a waterfall on a mountain.
  6. Holm - This last name is common in Sweden and English-speaking countries. Holm refers to flat land by a river. 
  7. Lindgren - Linden branch tree. 
  8. Lindstrom - This last name combines lind for linden tree and strom for stream.
  9. Sjöberg - This last name means a mountain by the sea. 
  10. Wiklund - This last name combines the Swedish words vik for bay and lund for grove. 
Baltic Sea, Sweden

Baltic Sea, Sweden

Swedish Surnames Inspired by Nicknames

Nicknames are a common way individuals adopted a surname in Sweden. These names could be based on physical attributes, personality traits, or talents. 

  1. Fager - This name means fair, and fair skin and hair are pretty common among the Swedes. 
  2. Frisk - This surname means healthy. 
  3. Gyllenstierna - This fun surname means golden forehead. 
  4. Lang - Tall. 
  5. Wallin - This last name is inspired by the English word Wealdwine, which means friend in power. 

Geographical Surnames from Sweden 

Sweden shares a lengthy border with Norway, a northern border with Finland, and a short trip across the North Sea to Denmark. A slightly longer water journey across the Baltic Sea connects Sweden to Poland and Germany. Because of the rich diversity of cultures and languages surrounding Sweden, last names have been influenced by German, Finnish, and other geographical locales.

  1. Borgstrom  - Castle stream.
  2. Cronstedt- A German name meaning St. Nickolas’s copper. 
  3. Cruetz - A German last name for someone from the town of Kreitz in northern Germany.
  4. Drakenberg - This ornamental name that means mountain of dragons may refer to people from specific mountains in Sweden. 
  5. Nordin - This Nordic-inspired name comes from Old Norse and implies someone from the northern valley. 

Occupational Last Names from Sweden 

Like many cultures, a person’s occupation was often adopted as a surname and a way of distinction from others with the same first name. Occupational names were often passed down since boys tended to partake in the same trade as their fathers. 

  1. Bonde - Farmer
  2. Erici - The Latinized version of Eriksson adopted by clergy. 
  3. Ehrling - Earl of the chieftain. 
  4. Hammarskjold - Hammer shield. This was probably the last name for a swordsmith armor maker.
  5. Moller - A common family name in Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish. Moller means Miller. 

Popular Swedish Last Names on FamilyEducation: Andersson, Berg, Hansson

L. Elizabeth Forry

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