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100 Top Finnish Last Names: Finn-Approved

Updated
Become a pro in the mysterious world of Finnish last names that cover the best of Scandinavian ancestry.

There’s a reason Finnish last names seem exotic upon first reading. They’re somewhat unique among Scandinavian surnames with rules of their own. Care to crack the unique code found with Finnish family names?

Our easy-to-read name list breaks down the history of each name, its variations, and often challenging pronunciations. Get ready for a trip to Finnish surnames you won’t forget.


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100 Popular Finnish Surnames

These Finnish last names may reveal why it’s considered the happiest country on earth.

Aho

Aho is based on the Finnish “aho,” meaning “forest clearing.” It refers to the land around farmhouses which were cleared to become pastures. It originated in Finland and has been around since the 16th-century.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Glade
  • Pronunciation: AH-how
  • Variations: Ahô
  • Namesakes: Sebastian Aho, a Finnish ice hockey player for the Carolina Hurricanes. Esko Aho, the prime minister of Finland from 1991 to 1995.
  • Popularity: Aho is rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, where it ranked 23rd in 2014.
Nature, Unique

Ahonen

Ahonen is another variation of Aho. It’s made up of the Finnish “aho,” meaning “meadow,” and “-nen,” a diminutive. Ahonen is one of Finland’s last names, which came into being in the late 19th- and early 20th-century.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Small glade
  • Pronunciation: AH-how-Nehn
  • Variations: Aho
  • Namesakes: Roope Ahonen, a Finnish basketball player for the Finland national basketball team. Derek Ahonen, an American playwright and founder of The Amoralists Theatre Company in NYC.
  • Popularity: Ahonen is rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, ranking 31st in 2014.
Traditional, Nature

Arola

Arola refers to land considered “hard” or “relatively infertile ground.” It’s based in 19th-century southwestern and northern Finland. As a place name, there’s also an Arola in Naples, far from Nordic territories.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Wet meadow swamp
  • Pronunciation: AH-rohl-Ah
  • Namesakes: Raimon Arola, a Spanish professor contributing to the journal La Puerta.
  • Popularity: Arola is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, which ranked 482nd in 2014.
Geographical, Unusual

Autio

Autio means “uninhabited, uncultivated fallow” in Finnish for an area of unused land. It can refer to any kind of unforested land that’s ready for farming.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Unforested
  • Pronunciation: OW-tiy-Oh
  • Namesakes: Asko Autio, a Finnish cross-country skier who competed at the 1980 Winter Olympics. Karen Autio, a Finnish-Canadian children’s writer of Second Watch (2005).
  • Popularity: Autio is rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, ranking 168th in 2014.
Geographical, Uncommon

Courie

Courie is the place name for many locations in France, but no other meanings are known. It’s not traditionally ending in “-nen,” like other Finland last names, but is ethnic all on its own.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: From Courie
  • Pronunciation: COUR-iy
  • Variations: Couri
  • Popularity: Courie is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Geographical, Old

Eklund

Eklund is typically a Swedish name but is also found in Finland and Norway. It’s made up of “ek,” meaning “oak,” and “lund,” meaning “grove,” so it represents Swedish and Finnish nature well.

  • Origin: Finnish, Swedish
  • Meaning: Oak grove
  • Pronunciation: EHK-Luhnd
  • Variations: Eckland, Ecklund
  • Namesakes: Jakob Eklund, a Swedish actor appearing in The Third Wave. Per Eklund, a Swedish mixed martial artist and the first Swedish fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
  • Popularity: Eklund is rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked 35th in 2014.
Unique, Nature

Elo

Elo also means “life” and “grain” in Finnish. It’s one of many Finnish surnames that came into being in the 19th-century. Elo was most popular in the southern and western parts of Finland.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Harvest
  • Pronunciation: IY-low
  • Namesakes: Tiina Elo, a Finnish politician in Finland’s Parliament. Dor Elo, an Israeli footballer for Hapoel Tel Aviv.
  • Popularity: Elo is rare worldwide and mostly used in Equatorial Guinea, ranking 49th in 2014.
Nature, Modern

Eskola

Eskola is based on the first name Esko, which appears as Eskil in Swedish. It uses the Finnish suffix “-la.” It’s found in southern Finland and Ostrobothnia and is reminiscent of Eskimos (whose meaning is unknown).

  • Origin: Finnish, Estonian
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: EHS-koh-Laa
  • Namesakes: Seikko Eskola, a Finnish historian and editor-in-chief for the cultural journal Kanava from 1979 to 1993. Jalmari Eskola, a Finnish cross-country athlete, and silver medalist at the 1912 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Eskola is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, where it ranked 219th in 2014.
Geographical, Unique

Fant

Fant is one of the more male Finnish family names given to a “foot soldier.” It was also used in Bologna. Fant can also trace to the Middle English “infaunt(e),” meaning “baby” as a nickname for a childlike person.

  • Origin: Finnish, English
  • Meaning: Foot soldier
  • Pronunciation: FAHNT
  • Namesakes: Carl Fant, a Swedish speech researcher at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
  • Popularity: Fant is rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Uncommon, Occupational

Hakala

Hakala is associated with a “pasture paddock” in Finnish. Pasture paddocks are where stallions are kept apart when being raised for breeding purposes. It was used in southwestern Finland and is one of many famous Finland surnames focused on farming lands.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Pasture
  • Pronunciation: HAH-kah-Lah
  • Variations: Hakkala
  • Namesakes: Marita Hakala, a Finnish model and creator of the TV series Mallikoulu (Model School). Tommi Hakala, a Finnish opera singer, and winner of the 2003 BBC Singer of the World Competition.
  • Popularity: Hakala is rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, ranking 43rd in 2014.
Nature, Common
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Halko

Halko sometimes means “block of wood” or “split log.” It refers to a farm where firewood is split. Halko also appears as Haľko in Slovak.

  • Origin: Finnish, Slovak
  • Meaning: Farm
  • Pronunciation: HAAL-koh
  • Popularity: Halko is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Ukraine.
Unusual, Rare

Halla

Halla refers to a “fallow field” in Finnish. It became cemented as a surname in the 19th-century when surname law was implemented in Finland. Halla is also a female variation of the boy’s name Hallr.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Frost
  • Pronunciation: HAAL-ah
  • Namesakes: John Halla, an American baseball player for the Cleveland Naps in 1905. Martin Halla, a Norwegian singer, and winner of the first series of the Norwegian version of The Voice in 2012.
  • Popularity: Halla is rare worldwide, primarily used in Indonesia, and ranked 1,946th in Cameroon in 2014.
Unique, Nature

Hämäläinen

Hämäläinen is associated with the native Tavastian clan in southern Finland. It could also be used for someone from the region of Häme in western Finland.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Descendent of Tavastian
  • Pronunciation: HAA-mah-Laey-man
  • Variations: Hamalainen
  • Namesakes: Jyrki Hämäläinen, a Finnish magazine editor of Suosikki. Niko Hämäläinen, a Finnish-American footballer for the Finland national team.
  • Popularity: Hämäläinen is rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, where it ranked 5th in 2014.
Familial, Popular

Hanninen

Hanninen comes from the Germanic first name Johannes and the Finnish suffix “-nen.” In the Middle Ages, many German personal names arrived in Finland. Hanninen is mostly used in the central parts of Finland.

  • Origin: Finnish, German
  • Meaning: Of Johannes
  • Pronunciation: HAA-nih-Nehn
  • Namesakes: Elina Hänninen, a Finnish figure skater and the 1984 Nordic champion. Veikko Hänninen, a Finnish chess player and Finnish Chess Championship medalist (1956).
  • Popularity: Hanninen is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Familial, Uncommon

Harju

Harju is used in southwestern and northern Finland and is focused on a “ridge” found on a piece of land. It may have been used as a nickname for someone with a ridge on their nose in modern times.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Ridge
  • Pronunciation: HAAR-yuw
  • Namesakes: Arsi Harju, a Finnish shot putter and gold medalist at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Juha Harju, a Finnish heavy metal musician and member of the Finnish band Shade Empire.
  • Popularity: Harju is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, ranking 104th in 2014.
Common, Geographical

Heikkinen

Heikkinen means “descendant of Heikki,” based on the Finnish variation of Henry. Like the German Heinrich, it means “home-ruler.” Heikkinen has been used in Finland since medieval times.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Son of Henry
  • Pronunciation: HEY-kih-Nehn
  • Variations: Heikkanen, Heikkainen, Heikkinen, Heikkoinen, Heikkonen
  • Namesakes: Ilkka Heikkinen, a Finnish ice hockey player for Växjö Lakers Hockey. Ralph Heikkinen, an American football player for the University of Michigan Wolverines football team from 1936 to 1938.
  • Popularity: Heikkinen is rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, where it ranked 8th in 2014.
Familial, Old

Hikipää

Hikipää has very obscure origins, meaning “sweaty head.” Nicknames are not often used in Finnish last names, but this one is both funny and unusual.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Sweaty head
  • Pronunciation: HIH-kih-Pah
  • Popularity: Hikipää is extremely rare worldwide, with forty-seven known occurrences in 2014, all in Finland.
Unusual, Rare

Hiltunen

Hiltunen uses the German root “hild,” meaning “battle-strife.” The Finnish suffix “-nen,” brings it into the surname category with some badass German origins.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Battle-strife
  • Pronunciation: HIHL-tuw-Nen
  • Namesakes: Petri Hiltunen, a Finnish fantasy-horror cartoonist and winner of the Puupäähattu award in 2002. Eila Hiltunen, a Finnish sculptor known for the Sibelius Monument at the UN headquarters in New York City.
  • Popularity: Hiltunen is rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, ranking 34th in 2014.
Strong, Traditional

Huhta

Huhta is one of many Finnish surnames that use “glade forest clearing” imagery. Finland is full of land that went from forest to farm. Huhta is used in western Finland and has a non-traditional pronunciation.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Forest clearing
  • Pronunciation: HUW-Tah
  • Namesakes: Jean-Louis Huhta, a Swedish musician in the 1980s band Cortex. Mira Huhta, a Finnish ice hockey player, and bronze medalist at the 2011 IIHF Women’s World Championship.
  • Popularity: Huhta is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, ranking 707th in 2014.
Nature, Geographical

Järvinen

Järvinen consists of the Finnish “järvi,” meaning “lake.” It uses the classic Finnish suffix “-nen,” which also means “dweller at” or “near a lake.”

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Small lake
  • Pronunciation: YAAR-vih-Nehn
  • Namesakes: Heli Järvinen, a Finnish politician in the Finnish Parliament since 2019. Toni Järvinen, a Finnish footballer for Tampere United.
  • Popularity: Järvinen is rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, ranking 11th in 2014.
Popular, Geographical
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Jokela

Jokela derives from the Finnish “joki,” meaning “river,” and the suffix “-la.” It was first used in southwestern and northern Finland. Jokela is inspired by the town of Jokela, about 30 miles from Helsinki.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Riverside
  • Pronunciation: YOW-keh-Lah
  • Variations: Jokinen
  • Namesakes: Juha Jokela, a Finnish known for the play and series Mobile Horror. Leo Jokela, a Finnish actor known for the Komisario Palmu films.
  • Popularity: Jokela is rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, where it ranked 147th in 2014.
Geographical, Nature

Jokinen

Jokinen comes from the Finnish “joki,” meaning “river,” and the popular “-nen” suffix. Like many other Finland last names, it became the surname for many Finnish people in southwest-central Finland.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: River
  • Pronunciation: YOW-kih-Nehn
  • Variations: Jokela
  • Namesakes: Ilona Jokinen, a Finnish opera singer at the Finnish National Opera. Johan Jokinen, a Danish racing driver in the FIA Formula Two Championship.
  • Popularity: Jokinen is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, where it ranked 26th in 2014.
Nature, Popular

Juntunen

Juntunen is based on the first names Juntu and Juntto, along with the suffix “-nen.” It uses the Finnish form of Johannes, one of the longest ways to say, John.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Of John
  • Pronunciation: YUNN-tuh-Nehn
  • Namesakes: Jani Juntunen, a Finnish radio host on Radio Rock. Paul Juntunen, an American basketball player for the Detroit Gems.
  • Popularity: Juntunen is rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, ranking 110th in 2014.
Traditional, Familial

Jutila

Jutila originates with the first name Jut(t)i, a nickname for Johannes/John. It was used in Finland’s Tavastian and Ostrobothnian regions in the 19th-century.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Chatter
  • Pronunciation: YUW-tih-Laa
  • Namesakes: Matti Jutila, a Canadian wrestler who competed at the 1964 Summer Olympics. Timo Jutila, a Finnish ice hockey player for the Buffalo Sabres.
  • Popularity: Jutila is rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, where it ranked 889th in 2014.
Common, Familial

Kaalinpää

Kaalinpää is one of the most unknown Finnish surnames, with no information besides its peculiar meaning. Though humorous, it’s so rare that it’s almost, but not quite, extinct these days.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Cabbage head
  • Pronunciation: Kah-LIYN-pah
  • Popularity: Kaalinpää is extremely rare worldwide, with only 24 known occurrences in 2014, all in Finland.
Unusual, Rare

Kallio

Kallio refers to a “dweller near a rock or cliff.” It was adapted from the Finnish “kallio,” meaning “rock,” and became a name during the 19th- and early 20th-centuries. Kallio joins many Finnish family names with Swedish connections using “berg,” for “rock” and “sten,” meaning “stone.”

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Rock
  • Pronunciation: KAL-iy-Oh
  • Namesakes: Albert Kallio, a member of Finland’s Parliament from 1922 and 1923. Ilkka Kallio, a Finnish musician, and member of the Hurriganes.
  • Popularity: Kallio is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, ranking 39th in 2014.
Modern, Nature

Kangas

Kangas was first given to someone who was a “dweller in, or near, a heath or moor.” It was first used in Ostrobothnia and has now spread to other parts of Finland. An alternative meaning is “pine heath.”

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Heath moor
  • Pronunciation: KANG-ahs
  • Namesakes: Jenni Kangas, a Finnish track and field athlete and bronze medalist at the 2017 Summer Universiade. Jeanne Kangas, an American politician and Interim Chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party in 2011.
  • Popularity: Kangas is rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, where it ranked 116th in 2014.
Nature, Common

Kantola

Kantola derives from the Finnish “kanto,” meaning “stump.” Like Kantomäki, it’s another example of Finnish names that includes nature-focused root words like “kanto.”

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Stump
  • Pronunciation: KAAN-tow-Lah
  • Namesakes: Eerik Kantola, a Finnish footballer for RoPS. Jay Kantola, an American naval architect best known for the stern model of the RMS Titanic.
  • Popularity: Kantola is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, ranking 276th in 2014.
Unique, Nature

Kari

Kari means “islet” and “underwater rock.” The Finnish “kari” means “shoal skerry sandbar” or “rocky place in a field.” Kari is a Norwegian girl’s name, the equivalent of Katherine.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Island
  • Pronunciation: KAAH-riy
  • Namesakes: Jarkko J. Kari, a Finnish mathematician known for the theory of Wang tiles. Mika Kari, a current member of the Parliament of Finland.
  • Popularity: Kari is rare worldwide, primarily used in India, and ranked 116th in Papua New Guinea in 2014.
Unique, Old

Karjala

Karjala comes from the Finnish “karja,” meaning “cattle.” It’s a more exotic occupational name for cattle farmers or herdsmen. In Finland, Karjala is the name of a beer manufactured by Hartwall Brewery.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Cattle farmer
  • Pronunciation: Kar-YAH-lah
  • Namesakes: Dennis S. Karjala, an American intellectual property law professor involved in the 1992 Sega v. Accolade case.
  • Popularity: Karjala is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Rare, Occupational
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Kaupp

Kaupp has German origins and replaces Jacob, meaning “supplanter.” It originated in Bavaria and may have been mistaken for Kaipff. Kaupp occurs in Finland but is still more common in Germany today.

  • Origin: Finnish, German
  • Meaning: Supplanter
  • Pronunciation: KAUWP
  • Variations: Kaup
  • Namesakes: Dennis Kaupp, a German actor for NDR television in 2002. Marcel Kaupp, a German singer, and winner of Das Supertalent in 2014.
  • Popularity: Kaupp is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Germany.
Familial, Uncommon

Kemppainen

Kempainen is a Finnish nickname deriving from “kempas,” meaning “small grasshopper-like insects.” It’s been around since the 16th-century in Kainuu, located in eastern Finland.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Grasshopper
  • Pronunciation: KEHMP-aey-Nahn
  • Namesakes: Antti-Jussi Kemppainen, a Finnish freestyle skier who competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
  • Popularity: Kemppainen is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, where it ranked 75th in 2014.
Popular, Old

Keto

The Finnish “keto” is a word for a “grassy field” and was likely originally used for a Finnish farmstead. Many Finnish people with Swedish surnames took names like Keto in the 19th- and 20th-centuries. It’s also associated with the ancestry of the ancient Siberian Ket people.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Meadow
  • Pronunciation: KIY-tow
  • Popularity: Keto is rare worldwide, mostly used in DR Congo, and ranked 1,156th in Finland in 2014.
Modern, Nature

Kevi

Very little is known about Kevi, other than it may be connected to the Finnish Kivi, meaning “from a residence near a stone.” Kevi means “stone” in Finnish and is also the name of a village in Serbia.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Stone
  • Pronunciation: KEH-viy
  • Variations: Kivi
  • Popularity: Kevi is very rare worldwide and mainly used in India.
Rare, Unusual

Kiimamaa

Kiimamaa’s definitions are as strange and obscure as it sounds. Its meaning is the very ambiguous “land in heat,” which might refer to a uniquely warm Finnish summer.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Land in heat
  • Pronunciation: Kiy-MAA-maa
  • Popularity: Kiimamaa is extremely rare worldwide, with 47 known occurrences in 2014, all in Finland.
Unusual, Rare

Kinnunen

Kinnunen may be associated with the Swedish “skinn,” meaning “animal skin.” It’s often found in east-central Finland, especially in Kainuu, which may also explain its geographical place on our list.

  • Origin: Finnish, Swedish
  • Meaning: From Kainuu
  • Pronunciation: Kiy-NUW-nehn
  • Variations: Kinnarinen
  • Namesakes: Leo Kinnunen, a Finnish racing driver and the first Finnish Formula One driver. Heikki Kinnunen, a Finnish actor appearing in the comedy series Ällitälli.
  • Popularity: Kinnunen is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, ranking 21st in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Kivi

Kivi may also mean “protect” and “shelter,” in addition to “stone.” It specifically was used for a person living in a “residence near a stone” and is also very prevalent in Estonia.

  • Origin: Finnish, Estonian
  • Meaning: Stone
  • Pronunciation: KIY-vee
  • Variations: Kevi
  • Namesakes: Aleksis Kivi (born Alexis Stenvall), a Finnish author of the first Finnish language novel Seitsemän veljestä in 1870. Juha Kivi, a Finnish long jumper and the Finnish champion in 1993.
  • Popularity: Kivi is rare worldwide and mostly used in Estonia, where it ranked 24th in 2014.
Nature, Common

Kokko

Kokko is a Finnish nickname for “eagle,” so it may have been used for someone with eagle-like characteristics. It’s one of the oldest Finnish family names that dates back to the Middle Ages. It also means “bonfire stack.”

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Eagle
  • Pronunciation: KOH-kow
  • Namesakes: Petri Kokko, a Finnish ice dancer and the 1995 World silver medalist. Väinö Kokko, a Finnish member of Parliament from 1936 to 1943.
  • Popularity: Kokko is rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, ranking 131st in 2014.
Nature, Common

Korhonen

Korhonen is based on the Finnish “korho,” meaning “hard of hearing.” It’s also used for an “awkward person” or anyone who looks “silly” or “foolish.”

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Clumsy
  • Pronunciation: Kaur-HOE-nahn
  • Namesakes: Kari Korhonen, a Finnish cartoonist known for stories with Donald Duck. Pentti Korhonen, a Finnish motorcycle road racer and winner of the 1975 Yugoslavian Grand Prix.
  • Popularity: Korhonen is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, where it’s currently ranked number one.
Popular, Traditional

Koskinen

Finnish surnames starting with K are also very nature-focused, like Koskinen. It uses the root “koski,” meaning “rapids,” and has ranked in the top 10 since 2014 or earlier.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Small rapids
  • Pronunciation: KOWS-kih-Nehn
  • Namesakes: Heikki Koskinen, a Finnish chess player, and 1967 Finnish Chess Championship medalist. Mikko Koskinen, a Finnish ice hockey player for the New York Islanders.
  • Popularity: Koskinen is rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, ranking 9th in 2023.
Popular, Nature
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Kotila

Kotila comes from the Finnish “koti,” meaning “home,” and “-la,” to denote place. It’s a more modern appearance of the traditional Kotilainen and originated in western Finland.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Homestead
  • Pronunciation: KOW-tih-Lah
  • Variations: Kotilainen
  • Namesakes: Matti Kotila, a member of the Finnish parliament from 1917 to 1919.
  • Popularity: Kotila is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 1,603rd in Finland in 2014.
Unique, Common

Kujala

Kujala is taken from the Finnish “kuja,” meaning “lane.” Many Finnish farms across the country were split into lanes created by the fences between them.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Farm
  • Pronunciation: KUW-jah-Laa
  • Namesakes: Jussi Kujala, a Finnish footballer for the U21 national team. Toivo Edvard Kujala, a member of the Finnish Parliament from 1945 to 1959.
  • Popularity: Kujala is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, where it ranked 144th in 2014.
Geographical, Nature

Kurtti

Kurtti is also a Finnish boy’s name equivalent to Kurt. It also has German origins in Kuonrat, another form of Konrad.

  • Origin: Finnish, German
  • Meaning: Skillful counsel
  • Pronunciation: KUWR-tiy
  • Popularity: Kurtti is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, ranking 1,150th in 2014.
Familial, Unique

Kyllo

Kyllo is mysterious and has Norse connections, but it’s likely based on the Finnish first names Kyllä, Kyllöi, and Kylliä. If you associate it with the Star Wars character’s first name, Kylo Ren, it’s a cool Finnish name.

  • Origin: Finnish, Norwegian
  • Meaning: Hill, high place
  • Pronunciation: KAEY-low
  • Popularity: Kyllo is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Geographical, Uncommon

Laakso

Laakso is the name of more than one piece of farmland in Trøndelag, Norway. It’s taken from the Old Norse “hjallr,” meaning “terrace ledge.”

  • Origin: Finnish, Norse
  • Meaning: Terrace ledge
  • Pronunciation: LAAK-sow
  • Variations: Lakso
  • Namesakes: Leo Laakso, a Finnish ski jumper who competed at the 1948 Winter Olympics. Eric Laakso, an American football player with the Miami Dolphins.
  • Popularity: Laakso is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, where it ranked 48th in 2014.
Popular, Traditional

Lahti

Lahti refers to a “dweller near the bay” when using the Finnish “lahti,” meaning “bay cove.” It became known when surnames were made official in Finland in the 19th- and 20th-centuries.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Bay, gulf
  • Pronunciation: LAAH-tiy
  • Variations: Laitinen
  • Namesakes: Christine Lahti, an American actress nominated for an Oscar for the 1984 film Swing Shift. Aki Lahti, a Finnish chess player, and 1969 Finnish Chess Championship medalist.
  • Popularity: Lahti is rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, ranking 76th in 2014.
Geographical, Popular

Laine

Laine can also have a specific English meaning of “dweller by certain tracts of arable land at the foot of the Sussex Downs.” It also appears as an Estonian girl’s name very much in use today.

  • Origin: Finnish, Estonian
  • Meaning: Wave
  • Pronunciation: LAYNE
  • Namesakes: Doris Laine, a Finnish ballet dancer at the Finnish National Ballet’s corps de ballet in 1947. Papa Jack Laine, an American musician and band leader during the Spanish–American War to World War I.
  • Popularity: Laine is rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, where it ranked 7th in 2014.
Popular, Traditional

Laitinen

Laitinen is the more traditional form of the Finnish Laiti. It was also used since the Middle Ages in Savonia in eastern Finland.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Small bay
  • Pronunciation: LAY-tih-Nehn
  • Variations: Lahti
  • Namesakes: Merja Lahtinen, a Finnish cross-country skier who competed at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Urpo Lahtinen, a Finnish magazine publisher and founder of the tabloid Tamperelainen.
  • Popularity: Laitinen is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, ranking 19th in 2014.
Nature, Traditional

Lampi

Lampi is the literal Finnish word for “pond,” used instead of the older Lampinen and spread throughout Finland.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Pond
  • Pronunciation: LAMP-iy
  • Variations: Lampinen
  • Namesakes: Jussi Lampi, a Finnish actor appearing in The Last Border (1993). Veli Lampi, a Finnish footballer for Vaasan Palloseura.
  • Popularity: Lampi is very rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 1,188th in Finland in 2014.
Modern, Nature

Lampinen

Approximately 10,000 Finns had the surname Lampinen in 2013. It uses the root “lampi,” meaning “pond,” and was likely used for a person who lived near a pond or body of water.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: One who lives near a pond
  • Pronunciation: LAMP-ih-Nehn
  • Variations: Lampi
  • Namesakes: Mari Lampinen, a Finnish biathlete who competed at the 1998 Winter Olympics. Petteri Lampinen, a Finnish bandy player for Russian side Rodina.
  • Popularity: Lampinen is rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, where it ranked 169th in 2014.
Nature, Traditional
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Lassila

Lassila originated from the Finnish first name Lassi, the equivalent of the Swedish Lars or Lawrence. The suffix “-la” turns this familial name into a place called “Lassi’s farm.”

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Lassi’s farm
  • Pronunciation: LAH-sih-Laa
  • Namesakes: Väinö Lassila, a Finnish scientist associated with Finland’s human rights movement. Lydia Lassila, an Australian Olympic freestyle skier and the 2010 Olympic champion.
  • Popularity: Lassila is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, ranking 196th in 2014.
Geographical, Familial

Latvala

Latvala consists of the Finnish “latva,” meaning “upriver headwaters.” It was used in southern Ostrobothnia and in the Kemi–Oulu region of Finland. Latvala may refer to the “mouth of a river,” which is plentiful in Finland.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Upriver
  • Pronunciation: LAAT-vaal-Ah
  • Namesakes: Jack Latvala, an American member of the Florida Senate from 2010 to 2018. Dick Latvala, an American tape archivist for the Grateful Dead.
  • Popularity: Latvala is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, where it ranked 377th in 2014.
Nature, Common

Laurila

Laurila is taken from the first name Lauri, plus the Finnish “-la” suffix. It became “Lauri’s farm” and was first used in southwestern Finland. Oddly, the village of Laurila can be found in northwestern Finland.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Lauri’s farm
  • Pronunciation: LAUW-rih-Laa
  • Namesakes: Kelly Laurila, a Canadian human rights advocate for Indigenous peoples in Canada. Liisa Laurila, a Finnish synchronized swimmer who competed at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Laurila is rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, ranking 123rd in 2014.
Traditional, Geographical

Leppanen

Leppanen means “from the alder tree’” and was used as a surname in the 17th-century. It’s a less specific geographical name that goes by trees, not town names.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Alder tree
  • Pronunciation: LEH-paa-Nehn
  • Namesakes: Glory Leppänen, a Finnish actress and the first Finnish woman film director. Sulo Leppänen, a Finnish wrestler who competed in the 1948 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Leppanen is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Uncommon, Nature

Linna

Though Linna came into being as a surname alongside farm-based Finnish names, it unexpectedly means “castle.” It first appeared in southern-central Finland and Ostrobothnia in the western region.

  • Origin: Finnish, Estonian
  • Meaning: Castle
  • Pronunciation: LIY-naa
  • Namesakes: Väinö Linna, a Finnish author known for Tuntematon sotilas (The Unknown Soldier) in 1954. Ivo Linna, an Estonian singer who performed in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1996.
  • Popularity: Linna is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, where it ranked 394th in 2014.
Geographical, Common

Luoma

Luoma means “creek” in Finnish and was first found in Ostrobothnia in the 18th-century before official surnames were used.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Small river
  • Pronunciation: LEOW-mah
  • Namesakes: Tapio Luoma, the Archbishop of Turku and Primate of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland since 2018. Rauni Luoma, a Finnish actress performing with the Finnish National Theatre in 1955–1978.
  • Popularity: Luoma is rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, ranking 192nd in 2014.
Nature, Unique

Mäkelä

Mäkelä also means “hill farm,” from the Finnish “mäki,” meaning “hill.” It fits into the tradition of Finnish farm names that specify the most prominent parts, like a pond, lake, or hilltop.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Hilltop
  • Pronunciation: MAA-kah-Laa
  • Variations: Mäkinen
  • Namesakes: Hannu Mäkelä, a Finnish children’s author known for the “Mr. Hoo” (Mr. Boo) series. Eero Mäkelä, a Finnish chef and the first in Finland to win a Michelin star in 1974.
  • Popularity: Mäkelä is rare worldwide, primarily used in DR Congo, and is currently ranked 5th in Finland.
Nature, Geographical

Mäkinen

Mäkinen means “of the hills” in Finnish when using the root “mäki,” meaning “hill.” It’s one of the most popular Finland surnames that is quite rare in the rest of the world.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Hilly
  • Pronunciation: MAA-kah-Nehn
  • Variations: Mäkelä
  • Namesakes: John Makinen, the Finnish-American founder of Makinen, Minnesota, in 1900. Visa Mäkinen, a Finnish director known for the 1983 James Bond spoof Agent 000 and the Deadly Curves.
  • Popularity: Mäkinen is very rare worldwide and currently the fourth most common surname in Finland.
Traditional, Nature

Makkara

Makkara is the literal Finnish word for “sausage.” There is no other information available besides its usage in India. This is because Makkara is also Sanskrit for “crocodile,” which explains why it’s also a cute Indian first name.

  • Origin: Finnish, Sanskrit
  • Meaning: Sausage
  • Pronunciation: MAAK-ah-Raa
  • Popularity: Makkara is extremely rare worldwide, with 47 known occurrences in 2014, mostly in India and Finland.
Unusual, Rare

Mali

Mali is used in Swedish and Finnish as a version of Malin. It’s also a nickname for girls named Amalia and means “money” in the Xhosa and Zulu languages in Africa.

  • Origin: Finnish, African
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: MAA-liy
  • Namesakes: Anais Mali, a French model who’s worked with Marc Jacobs.
  • Popularity: Mali ranked 797th worldwide and is mainly used in India, where it ranked 133rd in 2014.
Unique, Old
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Manni

Manni is better known as the Finnish variation of the Swedish boy’s name Magnus. There is also a Finnish personal name appearing as Manni, a shorter version of Hermanni or Herman.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Warrior, fighter
  • Pronunciation: MAAN-iy
  • Namesakes: Tarmo Manni, a Finnish actor with the Finnish National Theatre. Keijo Manni, a Finnish wrestler who competed at the 1980 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Manni is rare worldwide, primarily used in Italy, and ranked 874th in Nepal in 2014.
Strong, Unique

Mantyla

Mantyla refers to a “grove of pine trees on a hill.” It uses the Finnish root “mänty,” meaning “pine,” and first appeared in Ostrobothnia and Satakunta.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Pine trees
  • Pronunciation: MAAN-tiy-Laa
  • Namesakes: Hanna Mäntylä, the Finnish Minister of Social Affairs and Health since 2015. Tuukka Mäntylä, a Finnish ice hockey player for the Los Angeles Kings.
  • Popularity: Mantyla is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Unique, Uncommon

Mikkola

Mikkola is inspired by the first name Mikko, a Finnish nickname for Michael. When the Finnish “-la” suffix is added, it becomes “Mikko’s farm,” one of many in Finland.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Mikko’s farm
  • Pronunciation: MIY-kohl-Ah
  • Namesakes: Niko Mikkola, a Finnish ice hockey player for the New York Rangers. Seppo Mikkola, a Finnish astronomer part of a group to determine the orbit of 3753 Cruithne.
  • Popularity: Mikkola is rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, ranking 94th in 2014.
Familial, Geographical

Mustonen

Mustonen spouted out of a Finnish nickname meaning “black.” It was based on “musta,” the word for “black,” and the suffix “-nen,” associating it with a group, family, or clan.

  • Origin: Finnish, Russian
  • Meaning: Black
  • Pronunciation: MUHST-ow-Nehn
  • Namesakes: Helvi Mustonen, a Finnish artist named Artist of the Year by the Art Guild of Hyvinkää in 2011. Markus Mustonen, a Swedish musician and member of the band Kent.
  • Popularity: Mustonen is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, where it ranked 42nd in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Nieminen

Nieminen comes from the Finnish “niemi,” meaning “peninsula.” It also means “cape” or “point.” Nieminen was used for people who “lived on or near a small peninsula” or land that jutted out.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Small peninsula
  • Pronunciation: NIY-mih-Nehn
  • Namesakes: Jarkko Nieminen, a Finnish tennis player reaching the quarterfinals of the 2008 Australian Open. Veli Nieminen, a Finnish gymnast and bronze medalist at the 1924 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Nieminen is rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, ranking 3rd in 2014.
Popular, Nature

Nikula

Nikula uses the first name Niku, a Finnish nickname for Nicholas. It would translate to “Nick’s farm” in English. Though focused in southwestern Finland, Nikula is also found in Ukraine, the U.S., Sweden, Hungary, Canada, and Russia.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Niku’s farm
  • Pronunciation: NIY-kohl-Ah
  • Namesakes: Jone Nikula, a Finnish TV judge in the Finnish Idols series. Riitta Nikula, a Finnish art historian and Head of Research at the Museum of Finnish Architecture from 1988 to 1994.
  • Popularity: Nikula is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, where it ranked 358th in 2014.
Geographical, Familial

Nordman

Nordman comes from the Old Norse “nord,” meaning “north.” Geographically speaking, it was probably used for a farmer living to the north of the farm settlement.

  • Origin: Finnish, Scandinavian
  • Meaning: North
  • Pronunciation: NOHRD-mann
  • Variations: Nordmann
  • Namesakes: Ric Nordman, a Canadian politician on the Winnipeg City Council from 1974 until 1981. Maria Nordman, a German-American sculptor known for the work 1967: Film Room Eat.
  • Popularity: Nordman is very rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 546th in French Polynesia in 2014.
Strong, Geographical

Nuotto

Nuotto is one of the least known Finland surnames with no specific meaning attached. It may relate to the male personal name Nuutti, the Finnish form of Knut.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: NUW-oh-Tow
  • Popularity: Nuotto is extremely rare worldwide, with only 15 known occurrences in 2014, all in Finland.
Unusual, Rare

Nurmi

Nurmi is the actual Finnish word for “land” or “pasture.” It’s associated with any kind of grassy area, many of which are in Finland.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Pasture
  • Pronunciation: NEHR-miy
  • Namesakes: Luka Nurmi, a Finnish racing driver and Ferrari Challenge World Championship winner. Osku Nurmi, a Finnish radio host on the station Radio Rock.
  • Popularity: Nurmi is rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, ranking 53rd in 2014.
Nature, Popular

Oja

Oja is used in Finland and Estonia, meaning “stream” and “brook.” It also means “ditch” in Finnish, referring to any trench used for drainage purposes on a farm. Oja can also refer to a “brook” or “creek” and ranked 672nd in Finland in 2014.

  • Origin: Finnish, Estonian
  • Meaning: Stream
  • Pronunciation: OW-yah
  • Namesakes: Pääru Oja, an Estonian actor appearing in Biloxi Blues. Tarmo Oja, an Estonian-Swedish director at the Swedish Kvistaberg Station of the Uppsala Observatory from 1970 to 1999.
  • Popularity: Oja is rare worldwide and mainly used in Estonia, where it ranked 12th in 2014.
Nature, Unique
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Partanen

Partanen is a more unique example of a surname that began as a nickname. It comes from the Finnish “parta,” meaning “beard,” and was probably used as an unofficial surname for a bearded man.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Beard
  • Pronunciation: PAHR-tah-Nehn
  • Namesakes: Anu Partanen, a Finnish journalist of the book The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life. Iivari Partanen, a Finnish gymnast who competed at the 1908 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Partanen is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, ranking 56th in 2014.
Popular, Old

Patja

Like Makkara, meaning “sausage,” and Romu, meaning “junk,” Patja is among a few strange Finnish last names. Besides Finland, it was used 17 times in 2014 in India, the U.S., Sweden, and England.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Mattress
  • Pronunciation: PAAT-yah
  • Namesakes: Aleksi Patja, a Finnish freestyle skier who competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
  • Popularity: Patja is extremely rare worldwide, with 172 occurrences in 2014, mostly in Finland.
Unusual, Rare

Peltonen

Peltonen is based on the Finnish “pelto,” meaning “field.” It was used in Satakunta Tavastia and central Finland as early as the 16th-century.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Field
  • Pronunciation: PEHL-tow-Nehn
  • Namesakes: Juhani Peltonen, a Finnish football player and the first to play in the German Bundesliga. Niclas Peltonen (known as Benjamin), a Finnish singer whose song “Underdogs” peaked at number ten on the Finnish charts.
  • Popularity: Peltonen is rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, where it ranked 57th in 2014.
Old, Occupational

Peura

Peura is the literal Finnish word for “deer” and “reindeer.” It’s more famous as Peuramäki, meaning “deer hill,” and Peuraniemi, meaning “deer cape.” Peura is found mostly in central and northern Finland.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Deer hill
  • Pronunciation: PEHW-rah
  • Popularity: Peura is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, ranking 835th in 2014.
Geographical, Nature

Pietila

Pietila comes from the first name Pieti, the Finnish variation of Peter. With the suffix “-la,” it becomes a family name meaning “Pieti’s farm.” Pietila first appeared in southwestern Finland and northern Ostrobothnia in the 19th-century.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Pieti’s farm
  • Pronunciation: PIY-tih-Laa
  • Namesakes: Pekka Ala-Pietilä, a Finnish businessman and President of Nokia Corporation between 1999 and 2005. Bonita Pietila, an American casting director and winner of three Emmy Awards for work on The Simpsons.
  • Popularity: Pietila is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Familial, Uncommon

Pukki

Pukki is a Finnish term for everything from “goat” and “buck” to “horse” and even “Santa.” It’s famous as a part of Joulupukki, meaning “Christmas goat” or the “Yule Goat,” a Christmas tradition in Scandinavia.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Goat
  • Pronunciation: PUW-kiy
  • Namesakes: Teemu Pukki, a Finnish footballer for Norwich City and the Finland national team.
  • Popularity: Pukki is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, where it was slightly uncommon in 2014.
Nature, Uncommon

Puro

Puro means “brook” and was adopted when Finnish surnames were made official in the late 19th-century. This often happened with Finnish-Swedish surnames, like Laine.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Creek
  • Pronunciation: PYUWR-oh
  • Namesakes: Alec Puro, an American musician and drummer for the band Deadsy. Olavi Puro, a Finnish pilot and one of the top flying aces in the Finnish Air Force during World War II.
  • Popularity: Puro is rare worldwide, primarily used in the Philippines, and ranked 1,020th in El Salvador in 2014.
Modern, Nature

Raisanen

Raisanen derives from Rasya, a Finnish nickname for the Russian first name Gerasim. It’s no surprise that this Eastern Finnish surname also has Russian origins.

  • Origin: Finnish, Russian
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: RAY-sah-Nehn
  • Namesakes: Tomi Räisänen, a Finnish composer who won first prize in the Siuntio 560 Composition Competition for Tele. Meeri Räisänen, a Finnish ice hockey goaltender and member of the Finnish national ice hockey team.
  • Popularity: Raisanen is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Familial, Old

Rautio

Rautio is a Finnish occupational name for a “smith,” or someone who works with metal. It’s one of the oldest Finnish last names in use and dates back to 1547.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Blacksmith
  • Pronunciation: RAUW-tiy-Oh
  • Namesakes: Markus Rautio, a Finnish radio host of Children’s Hour with Uncle Markus on the National Radio of Finland. David Rautio, a Swedish ice hockey goalie for the SCL Tigers in the Swedish National League.
  • Popularity: Rautio is rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, where it ranked 164th in 2014.
Occupational, Old

Remes

Remes comes from the Latin Remigius, also responsible for the first name Remy. It was found in Savonia in eastern Finland and has been used since the 16th-century.

  • Origin: Finnish, Latin
  • Meaning: Remedy
  • Pronunciation: REE-mehs
  • Variations: Remis, Remmes
  • Namesakes: Petri Pykälä (known as Ilkka Remes), a Finnish children’s and YA author and winner of the Kalevi Jäntti Literature Award in 1997.
  • Popularity: Remes is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, ranking 524th in 2014.
Unique, Common
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Rinne

Rinne is a Finnish word meaning “slope” or “hillside.” It appears the same in Middle German, where it also means “stream,” “spring,” and “channel.”

  • Origin: Finnish, German
  • Meaning: Slope
  • Pronunciation: RIY-neh
  • Popularity: Rinne is rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, where it ranked 163rd in 2014.
Nature, Common

Romu

Romu is simply the Finnish word for “scraps,” “wreckage,” and “junk.” It’s also a Bulgarian boy’s name but isn’t very popular, even in Finland.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Junk
  • Pronunciation: ROW-muw
  • Popularity: Romu is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, where it’s slightly uncommon.
Unusual, Uncommon

Ruona

Ruona means “creek brook” in Finnish and refers to “alluvial land,” which contains soil deposits from surface water. When Ruona appears in the U.S., it can be a shorter version of names like Ala-Ruona, Ruonala, and Ruonakoski.

  • Origin: Finnish, Swedish
  • Meaning: Creek
  • Pronunciation: RUOW-nah
  • Popularity: Ruona is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Rare, Nature

Salo

Salo means “forested wilderness,” which could also refer to someone who lived in the wilderness. It may have been used for longer surnames, like Hirvisalo, meaning “wilderness with elks.”

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Wilderness
  • Pronunciation: SAAH-low
  • Namesakes: Eero Salo, a Finnish member of Finland’s Parliament from 1968 to 1975. Ola Salo (born Rolf Svensson), a Swedish musician and lead singer of the rock band The Ark.
  • Popularity: Salo is rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, ranking 24th in 2014.
Popular, Geographical

Saska

Saska is the Finnish variation of Sasa and is also used as a boy’s name. It can derive from the Slavic nickname for Aleksander/Aleksandra, yet it also means “princess.”

  • Origin: Finnish, Slavic
  • Meaning: Assistant
  • Pronunciation: SAAS-kah
  • Variations: Sasa
  • Popularity: Saska is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Czechia.
Unique, Old

Savela

Savela is based on the Finnish “savi,” meaning clay.” It was a 19th-century surname occurring in south-central Finland and Ostrobothnia for farms with clay soil.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Of Clay
  • Pronunciation: SAH-veh-Laa
  • Namesakes: Mika Savela, a Finnish musician and member of the trance group Kaste. Efim Drabkin (pen name Efraim Sevela), a Soviet filmmaker of the 1996 film Belye dyuny (The White Dunes).
  • Popularity: Savela is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, which ranked 649th in 2014.
Geographical, Nature

Seppänen

Seppänen is an occupational name taken from the Finnish “seppä,” for “smith” or a “metalworker.” It’s been around since the Middle Ages in Savonia and Karelia. But quickly spread across the land for blacksmiths everywhere.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Blacksmith
  • Pronunciation: SEH-pah-Nehn
  • Namesakes: Iiro Seppänen, a Finnish producer of the documentary The Ground is the Limit. Timo Seppänen, a Finnish ice hockey player for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
  • Popularity: Seppänen is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Traditional, Occupational

Silversten

Silverstein is one of the Swedish-Finnish surnames emerging in the 19th- and 20th-centuries, but little is known about it. It may be associated with Silverstein, an American version of the German and Jewish Silberstein.

  • Origin: Finnish, Swedish
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: SIYL-ver-Stehn
  • Variations: Silverstein
  • Popularity: Silverstein is extremely rare worldwide, with 142 known occurrences in 2014, mainly in Sweden.
Unusual, Rare

Slotte

Slotte is the most unknown of Finnish family names starting with S. Though appearing in Finland the most, it was used by just 431 people in 2014.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: SLOWT-eh
  • Namesakes: Tove Slotte, a Finnish graphic designer known for illustrating Moomin-products in Arabia. Pamela Slotte, a Finnish-Swedish religious and legal scholar at the Åbo Akademi.
  • Popularity: Slotte is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, ranking 1,925th in 2014.
Unusual, Uncommon

Tähtinen

Tähtinen derives from the Finnish “tähti,” meaning “star,” and the suffix “-nen.” It first appeared in southwestern Finland, yet it is still not seen often today.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Little star
  • Pronunciation: TAA-tih-Nehn
  • Popularity: Tähtinen is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Rare, Traditional
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Takala

Takala uses the directional “taka,” meaning “back behind,” with the suffix “-la.” It may refer to people who lived “behind” the forest or farm in a remote locale. Takala is also a Native American first name meaning “corn tassel.”

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Remote location
  • Pronunciation: TAH-kah-Lah
  • Namesakes: Rudy Takala, an American writer with the Washington Examiner since 2015. Tuuli Takala, a Finnish opera singer at the Finnish National Opera.
  • Popularity: Takala is rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, where it ranked 213th in 2014.
Geographical, Common

Tervo

Tervo is based on the Finnish “terva,” meaning “tar,” which was used for someone living near Terva or for a “tar burner.” Though common in Finland, Tervo most influenced a Finnish licorice candy called Terva Leijona, meaning “Tar Lion,” made by Cloetta.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: From Terva
  • Pronunciation: TEHR-voh
  • Popularity: Tervo is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, ranking 308th in 2014.
Geographical, Unique

Vanhanen

Vanhanen comes from the Finnish “vanha,” meaning “old,” plus the suffix “-nen.” It could refer to a farm owned by an elderly man, meaning “from the farm of the old man.”

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: From the old land
  • Pronunciation: VAAN-hah-Naan
  • Namesakes: Matti Vanhanen, the Prime Minister of Finland from 2003 to 2010. Ella Vanhanen, a Finnish footballer for Åland United.
  • Popularity: Vanhanen is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Finland, where it ranked 465th in 2014.
Traditional, Nature

Venäläinen

Venäläinen is a Finnish rarity that uses the unique suffix “-lainen,” which describes nationality. It’s a word for a “Russian” person since “vena-” refers to Russia itself.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Russian
  • Pronunciation: VEHN-ah-Laey-Nehn
  • Namesakes: Kati Venäläinen-Sundqvist, a Finnish cross-country skier and silver medalist at the 2001 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Sami Venäläinen, a Finnish ice hockey player for the German Fischtown Pinguins.
  • Popularity: Venäläinen is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, ranking 262nd in 2014.
Unique, Traditional

Virtanen

Virtanen is taken from the Finnish “virta,” meaning “current” or “flow.” It describes a “river” and is currently ranked 2nd in Finland, home to the most bodies of water worldwide.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Little river
  • Pronunciation: VIHR-tah-Nehn
  • Variations: Wirtanen
  • Namesakes: Eino Virtanen, a Finnish wrestler and bronze medalist at the 1936 Summer Olympics. Rauha S. Virtanen, a Finnish YA author, and winner of the Tirlittan Prize of the Finnish Writers’ Union in 2003.
  • Popularity: Virtanen is rare worldwide and primarily used in Finland, where it ranked 2nd in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Vitta

Vitta has German origins, taken from “vitu,” meaning “forest.” Like most other Finnish surnames given to types of land, Vitta would be used for someone living in the forest.

  • Origin: Finnish, German
  • Meaning: Forest
  • Pronunciation: VIY-tah
  • Variations: Vita
  • Namesakes: Araceli Vitta, a Chilean actress appearing in the series La Invitación.
  • Popularity: Vitta is very rare worldwide and mostly used in France.
Rare, Nature

Waara

Waara is a variation on the Finnish “vaara,” meaning “hill,” and refers to a “range of hills.” It first appeared in northern Finland but became used throughout the land and in Sweden.

  • Origin: Finnish, Swedish
  • Meaning: Range of hills
  • Pronunciation: VAAH-raa
  • Variations: Vaara
  • Namesakes: Peter Waara, a Swedish chairman of the Haparanda municipal board between 2015 and 2018.
  • Popularity: Waara is very rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 1,876th in Sweden in 2014.
Nature, Unique

Wirkkala

Wirkkala is an old Finnish spelling of names that began with W but now appears as Virkkala. It’s used for a farm belonging to someone named Virkki or Virkku – the Finnish forms of Virgil.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Virgil’s farm
  • Pronunciation: VIRK-ah-Lah
  • Variations: Virkkala
  • Namesakes: Tapio Wirkkala, a Finnish designer who designed commemorative postage stamps for the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Oscar Wirkkala, a Finnish-American logger who invented the high lead logging method.
  • Popularity: Wirkkala is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Familial, Uncommon

Wuollet

Woullet is an archaic spelling of Vuolle, which describes land with “currents” and “whitewater rapids.” It was first used in Ostrobothnia but isn’t as prevalent today in Finland or globally.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Current
  • Pronunciation: VUOH-leht
  • Variations: Vuollet
  • Popularity: Wuollet is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Nature, Rare

Ylitalo

Ylitalo is made up of the Finnish “yli,” meaning “upper,” and “talo,” meaning “house building.” It’s more common to refer to nature in Finland through names, but this one denotes the actual building location. Ylitalo was first used in western and northern Finland and remains in use today.

  • Origin: Finnish
  • Meaning: Upper building
  • Pronunciation: Yah-LIY-tah-Low
  • Namesakes: John Raymond Ylitalo, an American diplomat and the 29th U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay from 1969 to 1972. Saara Ylitalo, a Finnish actress known for the series Blondi tuli taloo (1994 to 1995).
  • Popularity: Ylitalo is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Finland, ranking 286th in 2014.
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Finnish Family Names FAQs

How do Finnish Last Names Work?

Like many countries, Finland has surnames that can be inherited from either parent. In 1921, Finnish surnames became the law in Finland. From 1930 to 1981, a woman had to take her husband’s last name upon marriage. Finnish last names went from being agricultural and locational (i.e., where one resides) to reflecting military or noble status.

What is the Most Common Finnish Surname?

As of 2022, Korhonen is the most common Finnish surname, used by over 22,000 people in Finland. It ranked #1 in Finland in 2014, and either means “hard of hearing” or “clumsy” and “awkward.” It’s followed by Virtanen, which ranked 2nd in Finland in 2014 and today. It means “current” or “flow.”

Why do Finnish Last Names End In En?

Finnish last names often end with the “–nen” suffix. This began as a tradition in the eastern part of Finland. It spread to the entire country during the 19th-century, which is why popular Finnish surnames like Korhonen, Virtanen, and Nieminen are very prevalent today.

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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.
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