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The most common Danish surnames and their meaning

Most of the most popular Danish surnames are patronymic, that is, they include the name of the family patriarch. Among the most common are: Nielsen, Hansen, Pedersen, Andersen and Jensen, which is the most common Danish surname.

About Denmark

Denmark, which means “land of the Danes”, is one of the countries that are part of the Scandinavian region. It is located in northern Europe, its capital is Copenhagen and its language is Danish.

This country is characterized by its great infrastructure and forestry, for being one of the countries with the highest standards of quality of life in the world, for its low temperatures in winter and for its low population density.

Denmark borders only Germany on land and is connected to Sweden via the Oresund Bridge. The population of Denmark is almost 6 million inhabitants, of which 5% are called Jensen. Additionally, one third of the Danish population has one of the 15 most popular surnames below.

Origin of Danish surnames

Most Danish surnames are patronymic, that is, they refer to the name of the parent of the person who bears it. They are formed by the given name of the father and the suffix -sen , which means “son of” or the suffix -datter , which means “daughter of”, although this is very rare.

The custom of using patronymic surnames dates back to ancient times; it was always a very common practice in Denmark. However, throughout its history, the country was influenced by other nearby countries, such as Germany, and began to adopt other forms of surnames such as place names, occupational names, and even typically German surnames.

These new surnames were known as hereditary names and many of them were toponymic surnames, that is, they indicated a place, generally related to common spaces such as farms. This is the case of the surname Østergaard, which means “the east of the farm”.

Likewise, there was a tendency to choose occupational surnames, which indicated the person’s profession, such as Moller, which comes from the German surname Müller and means “miller”.

Types and meanings of Danish surnames

Below are the most popular surnames in Denmark, according to their types and their corresponding meanings.

Most common patronymic surnames

Common Danish patronymic surnames include:

  • Jensen : is the most popular Danish surname and means “son of Jens”. Jensen derives from Old French Jehan , one of the variant names Johannes and John. He can be translated into Spanish as “son of Juan”.
  • Nielsen : it means “son of Niels”. This given name, in turn, is the Danish version of the Greek name Nikolaos or Nicholas, which means “victory of the people.”
  • Hansen – In addition to its Danish origin, this surname also has Norwegian and Dutch roots. It means “son of Hans”. The given name Hans is an abbreviation of German, Dutch and Scandinavian origin for Johannes, which means “gift from God”.
  • Pedersen : is a surname of Danish and Norwegian origin that means “son of Peder”. This given name is a variant of the name Peter, “Peter” and means “stone” or “rock.”
  • Andersen : is a surname of Danish or Norwegian origin that means “son of Anders”. In turn, Anders is a given name that comes from the Greek name Andreas , from which the English name Andrew derives, “Andrés”, which means “manly”, “masculine”.
  • Christensen : is a surname of Danish or Norwegian origin, which means “son of Christen”. Christen is a Danish variant of the given name Christian, “Christian”.
  • Larsen : is a surname of Danish and Norwegian origin that means “son of Lars”. This derives, in turn, from an abbreviation of the Latin Christian name Laurentius, which means “crowned with a laurel.”
  • Sorensen : is a Scandinavian surname of Danish and Norwegian origin meaning “son of Soren”. Soren is a given name that comes from the Latin name Severus, which means “severe”.
  • Rasmussen : means “son of Rasmus” and is a surname of Danish and Norwegian origin. Rasmus is an abbreviation of the Greek name Erasmus. You can also find the Rasmusen variant.
  • Jørgensen : means “son of Jørgen” and is a surname of Danish, Norwegian and German origin. Jorgen is a Danish variant of the Greek name Geōrgios or the English name George, meaning “farmer or tiller of the soil.”

Other popular patronymic surnames

  • Petersen : is a variant of the surname Pedersen, and means “son of Peter.” He is of Danish, Norwegian, Dutch and German descent.
  • Madsen : is of Danish and Norwegian origin, and means “son of Mads” or “son of Matthias.” This name is a Danish abbreviation of the English given name Mathias or Matthew.
  • Kristensen : is a variant of the Danish surname Christiensen meaning “son of Kristen”.
  • Olsen : is of Danish and Norwegian origin and means “son of Ole”, which derives from the given names Ole, Olaf and Olav.
  • Thomsen : means “son of Tom” or “son of Thomas”, and derives from the Aramaic term Tôm, which means “twin”.
  • Christiansen : is of Danish and Norwegian origin and means “son of Christian”.
  • Poulsen : means “son of Poul”, which is a Danish version of the name Paul. There is also the Paulsen variant, but it is less common.
  • Johansen : Meaning “son of John” or “Johan,” whose given name means “gift of God.” There is also the Johanssen variant.
  • Mortensen : comes from Denmark and Norway and means “son of Morten”.
  • Knudsen – Has Danish, Norwegian, and German roots and translates to “son of Knud.” Knud is a name that comes from the Old Norse word knútr , which means “knot”.
  • Jakobsen is a Danish and Norwegian surname meaning “son of Jacob.” There is also the Jacobsen variant, but the version with the letter “k” is a bit more common.
  • Jacobsen – is a variant spelling of Jakobsen.

More patronymic and popular Danish surnames

  • Mikkelsen : means “son of Mikkel.” This given name is the Danish version of the names Michael and Miguel.
  • Olesen : It is a variant of the surname Olsen and also means “son of Ole”.
  • Frederiksen : means “son of Frederik” or “son of Federico”.
  • Laursen : is a variant of the surname Larsen and means “son of Laurs”.
  • Henriksen : means “son of Henrik”, which is a variant of Henry or Enrique.
  • Eriksen : Of Norwegian or Danish origin, it means “son of Erik” and comes from the Old Norse term Eiríkr , which means “eternal ruler”.
  • Kristiansen : is another variant of the surname Christiensen and means “son of Kristian” or “son of Cristian”.
  • Simonsen : translates as “son of Simon.” The given name Simon means “he who listens.”
  • Clausen : means “son of Claus.” This name is a German abbreviation of the Greek Nikolaos, Nicholas or Nicholas, which means “victory of the people”.
  • Svendsen – This surname means “son of Sven,” a name that comes from Old Norse Sveinn , meaning “boy” or “servant.”
  • Andreasen : means “son of Andreas”, and derives from the name Andreas or Andrew.
  • Iversen : means “son of Iver” and this given name means “archer”.
  • Jeppesen : translates as “son of Jeppe.” This name is a Danish variant of Jacob, which means “supplanter.”
  • Nissen : means “son of Nis”, and is another variant that derives from the name Nicolás.
  • Lauridsen : Meaning “son of Laurids,” and is a Danish version of Laurentius, Lawrence, or Laurentius, meaning “crowned with laurel.”
  • Jespersen : it means “son of Jesper”, and is of Danish and German origin. It derives from the name Jesper, the Danish variant of the names Jasper, Kasper and Gaspar, and means “treasure guardian”.
  • Mogensen : means “son of Mogens”, which derives from the name Magnus or Magno and means “great”.
  • Jepsen : is a surname that means “son of Jep”, another variant of the name Jacob.
  • Frandsen : means “son of Frands”, and is a Danish variant of the name Frans or Franz, which derives, in turn, from the Latin Franciscus or Francis , which means “French”.

toponymic surnames

Common Danish surnames that refer to a place include:

  • Lund : meaning “grove” and derives from Old Norse lundr .
  • Holm – Meaning “little island”, and comes from the Old Norse word holmr .
  • Østergaard : means “east of the farm” and is derived from the Danish words øster , meaning “east” and gård , meaning “farm.”
  • Vestergaard – This surname means “farm west” and is made up of the Danish words vester , “western” and gård , “farm.”
  • Kjær : means “marsh”, swampy areas.
  • Norgaard : means “northern farm”, and is made up of the words nord or “north” and gård , “farm”.
  • Søndergaard – This surname translates as “southern farm”, from the Danish sønder , “south”, and gård , “farm”.
  • Thorn – This last name indicates a person who lived near “thorny bushes”.
  • Agard – This surname indicates someone who lives on a farm near a stream.
  • Dahl : comes from an Old Norse word and means “valley”.

occupational surnames

Some of the most popular Danish surnames that refer to professions are:

  • Møller – is the most popular non-patronymic Danish surname, meaning “miller”.
  • Schmidt : is of Danish and German origin and means “blacksmith”.
  • Fisker : means “fisherman” and is very common in Scandinavian countries.

The 50 most popular Danish surnames

The 50 most popular Danish surnames according to the number of people who carry them, are:

1.Jensen 11.Petersen 21.Knudsen 31.Schmidt 41.Vestergaard 2.Nielsen 12.Madsen 22.Jakobsen 32.eriksen 42.Nissen 3.Hansen 13. Kristensen 23.Jacobsen 33. Kristiansen 43. Lauridson 4.Pedersen 14. Olsen 24. Mikkelsen 34.Simonsen 44. Kjær 5.andersen 15.thomsen 25. Olesen 35. Clausen 45.Jespersen 6.Christensen 16. Christiansen 26.Frederiksen 36.Svendsen 46.Mogensen 7.Larsen 17.Poulsen 27.laursen 37.Andreasen 47.Norgaard 8.Sorensen 18.johansen 28.Henriksen 38.Iversen 48.Jepsen 9. Rasmussen 19. Moller 29. Lund 39. Østergaard 49. Frandsen 10. Jørgesen 20. Mortensen 30.holm 40. Jeppesen 50.Sondergaard

Celebrities with popular Danish surnames

Some of the famous people who have popular Danish surnames are:

  • Elizabeth, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen: American actresses.
  • Morten Østergaard: Danish politician.
  • Nicolaj Jensen: Danish professional gamer.
  • Whitney Jensen: American ballet dancer.
  • Uffe Ellemann-Jensen: Danish minister for international affairs.
  • Mikkel Hansen: Danish handball player.
  • Morten Gamst Pedersen: Norwegian soccer player.
  • Hans Christian Andersen: Danish writer.
  • Andreas Christensen: Danish soccer player.
  • Nella Larsen: American novelist.

Bibliography

  • Anaya Touring. denmark . (2020). Spain. Anaya Touring.
  • Sanchez, JM; Talavera, S. The meaning of the surnames. (1999). Spain. Perea Editions.