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100 Best Swedish Last Names: With Powerful Meanings

Updated
Head north to discover classic Swedish last names and learn about this fascinating country and its rich history.

There’s a lot more to Sweden than cold weather, IKE and delicious meatballs. It’s a land filled with history seen as the pinnacle of Scandinavian culture. Swedish names are no different and, other than famously ending in “son” or “berg,” their origins are somewhat mysterious.

You don’t need to look any further because we’ve got 100 of the most interesting Swedish surnames right here. From the various incarnations of each name to the most famous namesakes, you’ll be a pro in no time!


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100 Swedish Last Names

Find out why Swedish last names are still so well known today all over the world.

Åkerson

Åkerson is made up of the Swedish “åker,” meaning “field,” and “son,” meaning “son.” It’s one of a few Swedish last names ending in “son” that is not patronymic. Åkerson also appears as Ackerson when Americanized.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Field son
  • Pronunciation: AA-kehr-Sohn
  • Variations: Åkesson, Åkeson
  • Namesakes: Daniel Akerson, the American chairman and CEO of General Motors from 2010 to 2014. George E. Akerson, an American journalist and the first official White House Press Secretary.
  • Popularity: Åkerson is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Patronymic, Rare

Andersen

Andersen has mostly Danish-Norwegian origins and means “son of Anders.” Anders is the Swedish form of Andrew and the Greek Andreas. It also ranked 5th in Denmark and Norway in 2014.

  • Origin: Swedish, Danish-Norwegian
  • Meaning: Son of Anders
  • Pronunciation: AEN-dehr-Suhn
  • Variations: Anderson, Andersson
  • Namesakes: Børge Andersen, a Danish chess player and a four-time Danish Chess Champion. Else Winther Andersen, the Danish Minister for Social Affairs from 1990 to 1993.
  • Popularity: Andersen is uncommon worldwide, mainly used in Denmark, and ranked 223rd in Sweden in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Ansell

Ansell is a somewhat unusual-sounding patronymic meaning “the son of Ancel.” As a first name, it’s linked to the German name Anseln, meaning “protected by God.”

  • Origin: Swedish, English
  • Meaning: Son of Ancel
  • Pronunciation: AHN-sehl
  • Variations: Ancell
  • Namesakes: Cameron Ansell, a Canadian voice actor known for the animated series Skyland. George Ansell, an English footballer for Norwich City.
  • Popularity: Ansell is rare worldwide and primarily used in England, where it ranked 1,154th in 2014.
Unique, Patronymic

Asp

Asp means “aspen tree” in Swedish and points to several Norwegian farming locations. It’s also associated with the German “aspe,” meaning “aspen tree.”

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: Aspen tree
  • Variations: Apse
  • Namesakes: Ninnie Asp, a Swedish silversmith with work appearing in the National Museum in Sweden. Yndiara Asp, a Brazilian skateboarder who competed at the 2021 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Asp is rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, ranking 320th in 2014.
Earthy, Unusual

Bager

Bager is composed of the Swedish “bage,” meaning “to bake,” and the suffix “-er.” It’s the Swedish variation of the English Baker and the Dutch Bakker.

  • Origin: Swedish, Danish
  • Meaning: Baker
  • Pronunciation: BAEY-gehr
  • Variations: Baker
  • Namesakes: Erling Bager, a member of the Riksdag from 2002 to 2006. Martin Bager, a Danish handballer for BM Ciudad Encantada.
  • Popularity: Bager is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Denmark, where it ranked 308th in 2014.
Occupational, Rare

Berg

Berg appears in various countries like Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway. It can mean “mount,” “mountain,” or “cliff,” and was given to someone living near a mountain.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Mountain, hill
  • Pronunciation: BEHRG
  • Variations: Bergman
  • Namesakes: Alec Berg, an American TV writer known for the sitcom Seinfeld. Joakim Berg, a Swedish musician and the lead singer of the band Kent.
  • Popularity: Berg is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 28th in Sweden in 2014.
Earthy, Popular

Bergdahl

Bergdahl is made up of the Swedish “berg,” meaning “mountain hill,” and “dahl,” meaning “valley.” It’s also used in Norway, which indicates a farmstead called Bergdahl for those living there.

  • Origin: Swedish, Norwegian
  • Meaning: Mountain valley
  • Pronunciation: BEHRG-Daal
  • Variations: Bergendahl
  • Namesakes: Leif Bergdahl, a Swedish member of the Riksdag from 1991 to 1994. Johan Bergdahl, a Swedish fencer who competed at the 1988 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Bergdahl is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, ranking 494th in 2014.
Earthy, Unique

Bergman

Bergman is one of many Swedish surnames using the root “berg,” meaning “mountain hill,” plus “man.” It has many meanings, including “mountain men” or “miner.”

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: Mountain dweller
  • Pronunciation: BEHRG-Maan
  • Variations: Bergmann
  • Namesakes: Ingmar Bergman, a Swedish filmmaker known for The Seventh Seal (1957). Julius Bergman, a Swedish ice hockey player for Södertälje SK.
  • Popularity: Bergman is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 47th in Sweden in 2014.
Traditional, Earthy

Bergström

Bergström is composed of the Swedish “berg,” meaning “mountain,” and “ström,” meaning “river.” In addition to being a Swedish name, it’s also found in Germany.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Mountain stream
  • Pronunciation: BEHRG-Strahm
  • Namesakes: Anders Bergström, a Swedish cross-country skier who competed at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Stina Bergström, a Swedish member of the Riksdag from 2010 to 2018.
  • Popularity: Bergström is rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Unique, Uncommon

Bernadotte

Bernadotte is best known for the Swedish House of Bernadotte, dating back to 1818 in Béarn, France. Bernadotte is also a girl’s name and a variation of the French and German Bernadette.

  • Origin: Swedish, French-German
  • Meaning: Strong, brave bear
  • Pronunciation: BEHRN-ah-Daot
  • Namesakes: Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat and mediator in the Arab–Israeli conflict of 1947 to 1948. Estelle Bernadotte, an American-Swedish countess known for her work with the Girl Scout movement.
  • Popularity: Bernadotte is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Haiti, where it ranked 1,888th in 2014.
Rare, Royal
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Birger

Birger derives from the Old Norse “bjarga,” meaning “to save” and “to protect.” It sometimes appears in Norway as Børge and is a character in the God of War Wiki.

  • Origin: Swedish, Norse
  • Meaning: Helper
  • Pronunciation: BUHR-ger
  • Variations: Birgir
  • Namesakes: Malene Birger, a Danish fashion designer who co-founded Day Birger et Mikkelsen in 1997. Pablo Birger, an Argentine racing driver who raced for Gordini at two World Championship Grands Prix.
  • Popularity: Birger is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Nicknames, Uncommon

Björklund

Björklund is the name for various farmsteads in both Sweden and Norway. It’s composed of the Swedish “björk,” meaning “birch,” and “lund,” meaning “grove.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Birch grove
  • Pronunciation: Biy-YAORK-Luhnd
  • Namesakes: Jan Björklund, the Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden from 2010 to 2014. Mirjam Björklund, a Swedish tennis player who peaked at 123rd in 2022.
  • Popularity: Björklund is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Geographical, Earthy

Blixt

Blixt is a Swedish word meaning “bolt of lightning.” It’s included in the tradition of Swedish family names first given to soldiers.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Bolt of lightning
  • Pronunciation: BLIHKST
  • Namesakes: Anders Blixt, a Swedish game designer known for the role-playing game Mutant. Jonas Blixt, a Swedish golfer and winner of the 2017 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
  • Popularity: Blixt is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, ranking 371st in 2014.
Strong, Unusual

Blom

Blom appears in Scandinavian countries as well as Germany and the Netherlands. It’s linked to the Dutch “bloem,” meaning “flower,” and is the name of a pair of farms in western Norway.

  • Origin: Swedish, Dutch
  • Meaning: Bloom
  • Pronunciation: BLAOHM
  • Variations: Bloem
  • Namesakes: Maria Blom, a Swedish director known for Masjävlar (2004). Viktor Blom, a Swedish online poker player with Team PokerStars Pro.
  • Popularity: Blom is rare worldwide, mainly used in the Netherlands, and ranked 79th in Sweden in 2014.
Unique, Unusual

Bodén

Bodén relates to the Germanic given name Bode and also refers to a “son of “Baldwin.” In Germany, it was used for someone living in a “low-lying area of a field.” Bodén is also the name of a locality in Norrbotten County, Sweden.

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: Shelter
  • Pronunciation: BOH-duhn
  • Variations: Bodeen, Bodin
  • Namesakes: Anna Boden, an American filmmaker who co-directed Captain Marvel (2019). Jens Boden, a German speed skater and bronze medalist at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
  • Popularity: Bodén is very rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 1,619th in England in 2014.
Earthy, Patronymic

Boman

Bowman is made up of the Swedish “bo,” meaning “dwelling” or “farm,” and “man,” meaning “man.” It was used for someone residing on an “outlying homestead” and is associated with the German Baumann.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Farming man
  • Pronunciation: BOW-Mahn
  • Variations: Bohman
  • Popularity: Boman is rare worldwide, mostly used in Afghanistan, and ranked 177th in Sweden in 2014.
Earthy, Occupational

Bratt

Bratt comes from the Old Norse given name Brattr, meaning “majestic” and “proud.” Through its Scandinavian origins, Bratt also appears in 7th-century England, where it became Brett.

  • Origin: Swedish, Norse
  • Meaning: Proud
  • Pronunciation: BRAET
  • Variations: Bradt
  • Namesakes: Benjamin Bratt, an American actor appearing in the series Law & Order. Peter Bratt, a Swedish journalist for the newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
  • Popularity: Bratt is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 707th in Sweden in 2014.
Nicknames, Traditional

Brolin

Brolin is composed of the Swedish “bro,” meaning “bridge” and the suffix “-lin.” It also relates to the German Brüderlin, meaning “brother.”

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: Bridge
  • Pronunciation: BROH-lihn
  • Variations: Brolan
  • Namesakes: Josh Brolin, an American actor known for No Country for Old Men (2007). Tomas Brolin, a Swedish footballer for A.C. Parma.
  • Popularity: Brolin is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked 424th in 2014.
Unique, Uncommon

Cederholm

Cederholm is composed of the Swedish “ceder,” meaning “cedar,” and “holm,” meaning “island.” It’s one of the rarest Swedish last names that doesn’t appear outside Sweden.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Cedar-tree island
  • Pronunciation: SEH-duhr-Holm
  • Variations: Cedarholm
  • Namesakes: Andreas Cederholm, a Swedish handball player for the Swedish national team. Anton Cederholm, a Swedish ice hockey player for the Vancouver Canucks.
  • Popularity: Cederholm is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, ranking 581st in 2014.
Earthy, Unusual

Cornell

Cornell represents an Americanized form of the Swedish Kornell derived from the Latin “cornu,” meaning “horn.” It’s a short version of Cornwall, or Cornhill, relating to the Swedish first name Cornelius, also meaning “horn.”

  • Origin: Swedish, English
  • Meaning: Hornblower
  • Pronunciation: Kawr-NEHL
  • Variations: Kornell
  • Namesakes: Christopher Cornell, an American singer for the rock band Soundgarden. Paul Cornell, an English writer known for Doctor Who fiction.
  • Popularity: Cornell is rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S., where it ranked 1,562nd in 2014.
Modern, Uncommon
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Cronquist

Cronquist is made up of the Swedish “kron(a),” meaning “crown,” and “quist,” from “kvist,” meaning “twig.” Like many Swedish surnames, it can appear with a “quist” or “qvist” ending.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Crown twig
  • Pronunciation: KRAON-Kvihst
  • Variations: Cronqvist
  • Namesakes: Arthur Cronquist, an American botanist and co-author of the Flora of the Pacific Northwest.
  • Popularity: Cronquist is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Unusual, Rare

Dahl

Dahl is based on the Old Norse “dalr,” meaning “valley.” It has similar forms in other languages, like “tal” in German and “dale” in Old English. Dahl is found everywhere, from Scandinavia and Germany to the Faroe Islands.

  • Origin: Swedish, Norwegian
  • Meaning: Dweller in the valley
  • Pronunciation: DAOWL
  • Variations: Dahle
  • Namesakes: Anders Dahl, a Swedish botanist for whom the dahlia flower is named. Roald Dahl, an English writer known for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964).
  • Popularity: Dahl is rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 95th in Sweden in 2014.
Earthy, Common

Djerf

Djerf symbolizes a now obsolete spelling of the Swedish “djärv,” meaning “bold” and “daring.” It’s somewhat common in Sweden, but you won’t see it much elsewhere globally.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Bold
  • Pronunciation: JHEHRF
  • Variations: Djärv
  • Namesakes: Lise-Lotte Djerf, a Swedish archer who competed at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Rasmus Djerf, a Swedish ice hockey player for Kalmar HC.
  • Popularity: Djerf is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, where it ranked 1,601st in 2014.
Unique, Rare

Drakenberg

Drakenberg means “mountain of dragons” and was given to those living near certain mountains in Sweden. It’s associated with the Dutch Drakenburg, while the similar Drakensberg is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Mountain of dragons
  • Pronunciation: DRAA-ken-Behrg
  • Variations: Drachenberg
  • Namesakes: Hans Drakenberg, a Swedish fencer and silver medalist at the 1936 Summer Olympics. Otto Drakenberg, a Swedish CEO for Goodyear Dunlop Nordic.
  • Popularity: Drakenberg is extremely rare worldwide, with 190 known occurrences in 2014, primarily in Sweden.
Rare, Old

Ehrling

Ehrling relates to the Swedish Ärling, a surname given to those from Ärla. It’s also a Norwegian boy’s name meaning “heir of clan chief” or “prince.”

  • Origin: Swedish, Norwegian
  • Meaning: From Ärla
  • Pronunciation: EHR-lihng
  • Variations: Erling
  • Namesakes: Sixten Ehrling, a Swedish conductor and music director of the Royal Swedish Opera. Cecilia Ehrling, a Swedish dancer who has won the show Let’s Dance three times.
  • Popularity: Ehrling is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden.
Geographical, Royal

Ek

In Swedish, Ek means “oak.” It’s also the name of various Norwegian farms named Eik. Ek appears in the Mayan language, meaning “star,” while it refers to the number one in Hindi.

  • Origin: Swedish, Norwegian
  • Meaning: Oak
  • Pronunciation: EHK
  • Namesakes: Malin Ek, a Swedish actress who won the Eugene O’Neill Award 2010. Daniel Ek, the Swedish co-founder and CEO of Spotify.
  • Popularity: Ek is rare worldwide, mainly used in Mexico, and ranked 83rd in Sweden in 2014.
Unusual, Unique

Eklund

Eklund is composed of the Swedish “ek,” meaning “oak” and “lund,” meaning “grove.” It’s also found in Norway but first appeared in Switzerland as a surname.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Oak grove
  • Pronunciation: EHK-Luhnd
  • Variations: Ekland
  • Namesakes: Michael Eklund, a Canadian actor appearing in The Call (2013). Greg Eklund, an American drummer for the rock band Everclear.
  • Popularity: Eklund is rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, ranking 139th in 2014.
Earthy, Unique

Ekstrand

Ekstrand means “dweller by the oak beach” in Swedish. It includes the often used “ek,” meaning “oak” and “strand,” meaning “beach.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Oak beach dweller
  • Pronunciation: EHK-Straand
  • Variations: Eckstand
  • Namesakes: Gunnar Ekstrand, a Swedish diver who competed at the 1920 Summer Olympics. Joel Ekstrand, a Swedish footballer for Helsingborgs IF.
  • Popularity: Ekstrand is rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, where it ranked 305th in 2014.
Earthy, Unusual

Emilsson

Emilsson is a patronymic family name meaning “son of Emil.” It uses a variation of the German Emile, meaning “lively.” Emilsson dates back to the Latin Aemilius, a Roman family name taken from “aemulus,” meaning “rival.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Son of Emil
  • Pronunciation: Eh-MIHL-suhn
  • Variations: Emilson
  • Namesakes: Kristján Emilsson, an Icelandic footballer for FH Hafnarfjörður.
  • Popularity: Emilsson is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, ranking 448th in 2014.
Patronymic, Uncommon

Eriksson

Eriksson refers to a “son of Eric,” one of the most popular Scandinavian male names. It’s inspired by the Old Norse Eiríkr, a form of Erik that influences many Swedish family names.

  • Origin: Swedish, Norse
  • Meaning: Son of Erik
  • Pronunciation: EH-rik-Suhn
  • Variations: Erickson, Ericsson, Eriksen
  • Namesakes: Åsa Eriksson, a Swedish member of the Riksdag since 2018. Helena Eriksson, a Swedish poet known for Strata (2004).
  • Popularity: Eriksson is rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked 5th in 2014.
Popular, Traditional
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Fager

Fager is a nickname used in Sweden with a literal meaning of “fair” or “pretty.” It’s also been used as an Americanized form of the German Feger, given to a weapons maker.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Pretty
  • Pronunciation: FAE-gehr
  • Variations: Feger
  • Namesakes: Anders Fager, a Swedish game designer and writer of Sweden’s first role-playing game, Drakar & Demoner. Chuck Fager, an American activist who wrote Selma 1965: The March That Changed the South (1974).
  • Popularity: Fager is very rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 1,044th in Sweden in 2014.
Nicknames, Uncommon

Fahlgren

Fahlgren refers to a specific place name in Swedish. It uses the roots “fal,” meaning “plain flat land” and “gren,” meaning “branch.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Plain branch
  • Pronunciation: FAOL-grehn
  • Popularity: Fahlgren is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, ranking 903rd in 2014.
Geographical, Rare

Ferm

Ferm is an old-fashioned Swedish soldier’s name taken from “färm.” It means “prompt” and “ready” for a fully prepared soldier.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Prompt
  • Pronunciation: FEHRM
  • Namesakes: Jackie Ferm, a Swedish writer and winner of the reality series Paradise Hotel 2014. Olle Ferm, a Swedish swimmer and bronze medalist at the 1966 European Aquatics Championships.
  • Popularity: Ferm is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked 452nd in 2014.
Nicknames, Unusual

Forsberg

Forsberg is composed of the Swedish “fors,” meaning “waterfall” and “berg,” meaning “mountain” and “hill.” It’s also a Norwegian form of Fossberg, taken from a Norwegian farmstead.

  • Origin: Swedish, Norwegian
  • Meaning: Waterfall mountain
  • Pronunciation: FOHRZ-buhrg
  • Variations: Fossberg
  • Namesakes: Michael Forsberg, an American photographer published in National Geographic. Filip Forsberg, a Swedish ice hockey player for the Nashville Predators.
  • Popularity: Forsberg is rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, where it ranked 36th in 2014.
Geographical, Traditional

Fredriksson

Fredriksson appears in multiple Scandinavian countries from the Danish Frederiksen to the Norwegian Fredriksen. It means “son of Frederik” and first appeared with the 9th-century Bishop of Utrecht.

  • Origin: Swedish, Scandinavian
  • Meaning: Son of Frederik
  • Pronunciation: FREH-drik-Suhn
  • Variations: Frederiksen
  • Namesakes: Marie Fredriksson, a Swedish singer with the pop rock duo Roxette. Thobias Fredriksson, a Swedish cross-country skier and gold medalist at the 2006 Winter Olympics.
  • Popularity: Fredriksson is rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, ranking 32nd in 2014.
Patronymic, Traditional

Grimm

Grimm appears in Sweden, but is more common in Germany and Switzerland. It’s a nickname for someone gloomy, taken from the Old German “grim,” meaning “stern” and “severe.”

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: Mask
  • Pronunciation: GRIHM
  • Variations: Grim
  • Namesakes: Wilhelm Grimm, a German writer and one-half of the literary duo of the Brothers Grimm. Russ Grimm, an American football player for the Washington Redskins.
  • Popularity: Grimm is rare worldwide and mostly used in Germany, where it ranked 125th in 2014.
Common, Nicknames

Gullickson

Gullickson is a typically Americanized variation of the original Swedish Gulliksen. It’s associated with the Norwegian first name Gullik, from Guthleikr, composed of “guth,” meaning “god,” and “leikr,” meaning “fight.”

  • Origin: Swedish, Norwegian
  • Meaning: Fighter
  • Pronunciation: GUH-lihk-Suhn
  • Variations: Gulliksen
  • Namesakes: Lloyd Gullickson, an American golfer who won the 1918 Chicago Amateur Championships. Carly Gullickson, an American tennis player and winner of the 2009 US Open mixed-doubles event.
  • Popularity: Gullickson is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Strong, Rare

Gustafsson

Gustafsson refers to a “son of Gustaf,” based on the Germanic Gustav. It links to the Old Slavic “gost,” meaning “guest,” and “slav,” meaning “glory,” while Gustav also means “God’s staff.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Son of Gustaf
  • Pronunciation: GUH-stuhf-Suhn
  • Variations: Gustafson, Gustavsson
  • Namesakes: Erik Gustafsson, a Swedish ice hockey player for the New York Rangers. Bengt Gustafsson, a Swedish astronomer awarded the 2002 Grand Prize of the Royal Institute of Technology.
  • Popularity: Gustafsson is rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, ranking 10th in 2014.
Traditional, Patronymic

Gyllenhaal

Gyllenhaal is a name linked to Swedish nobility, beginning with 17th-century cavalry officer Lieutenant Nils Gunnarsson Haal. It’s more famous as the surname of siblings Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal but is still considered royal.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Golden opening
  • Pronunciation: GIH-lehn-Haal
  • Variations: Gyllenhahl
  • Namesakes: Jake Gyllenhaal, an American actor known for Brokeback Mountain (2005). Maggie Gyllenhaal, an American actress appearing in The Dark Knight (2008).
  • Popularity: Gyllenhaal is extremely rare worldwide, with 111 known occurrences in 2014, mostly in the U.S.
Royal, Rare
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Haag

Haag refers to a “hedge,” “fence,” or “enclosed area.” It relates to the Dutch Hagen, meaning “dweller in, or near, the hedged enclosure.”

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: Hedge
  • Pronunciation: HAHG
  • Namesakes: Anna Haag, a Swedish cross-country skier and gold medalist at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Marty Haag, an American news director and winner of the 1988 George Foster Peabody Award.
  • Popularity: Haag is rare worldwide, mainly used in Germany, and ranked 914th in Sweden in 2014.
Unique, Traditional

Håkansson

Håkansson is a patronymic name meaning “son of Håkan,” the Swedish form of Haagen. It originally derives from the Old Norse Hákon, composed of “hár,” meaning “high” and “kyn,” meaning “family.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Son of Haagen
  • Pronunciation: HAA-kehn-Suhn
  • Variations: Håkanson, Hakanson
  • Namesakes: Gabriella Håkansson, a Swedish writer known for Aldermann’s Heir (2013). Jonas Håkansson, a Swedish ice hockey player for the Malmö Redhawks.
  • Popularity: Håkansson is rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked 46th in 2014.
Patronymic, Traditional

Hammar

Many Swedish last names center around nature, like Hammar, meaning “stony mound.” It’s also a nickname for a German artisan and means “dweller at the pasture ground” in Germany.

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: Stony ground
  • Pronunciation: HAA-mehr
  • Variations: Hammer
  • Namesakes: Molly Hammar, a Swedish singer who competed in the 2011 series Idol. Fredrik Hammar, a Swedish footballer for Hammarby IF.
  • Popularity: Hammar is rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, ranking 281st in 2014.
Geographical, Occupational

Hedlund

Hedlund is made up of the Swedish “hed,” meaning “heath moor,” and “lund,” meaning “grove.” It uses common Swedish elements to describe the rich lands found throughout Scandinavia.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Heath grove
  • Pronunciation: HEHD-luhnd
  • Namesakes: Gunnar Hedlund, the Swedish Minister of the Interior from 1951 to 1957. Lina Hedlund, a Swedish singer with the pop group Alcazar.
  • Popularity: Hedlund is rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, where it ranked 70th in 2014.
Earthy, Unusual

Holm

Holm is a surname found in Scandinavia and England. It derives from the Old Norse “holmr,” meaning “small island,” given to someone living on land near a river.

  • Origin: Swedish, English
  • Meaning: Small island
  • Pronunciation: HOHLM
  • Namesakes: Ian Holm, an English actor awarded the 1988 Laurence Olivier Award. Martin Holm, a Swedish Muay Thai kickboxer and WMC Muaythai World Champion.
  • Popularity: Holm is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 44th in Sweden in 2014.
Earthy, Common

Ingerman

Ingerman is an old surname denoting someone “from Ingermanland,” an area between Finland and Russia. It’s also associated with the Yiddish “inger man,” meaning “younger man.”

  • Origin: Swedish, Yiddish
  • Meaning: From Ingermanland
  • Pronunciation: IHN-gehr-Maan
  • Popularity: Ingerman is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Rare, Geographical

Jakobsson

Jakobsson is one of the less common Swedish surnames that became official in more modern times. It was typically given to immigrants from Sweden with an ancestor named Jakob. Jakobsson became the Americanized form of Jakobsson.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Jacob’s son
  • Pronunciation: JAAK-ohb-Sehn
  • Variations: Jacobsson, Jakobsen
  • Namesakes: Johan Jakobsson, a Swedish handball player for SG Flensburg-Handewitt. Leif Jakobsson, a Swedish member of the Riksdag from 1998 to 2018.
  • Popularity: Jakobsson is rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, ranking 29th in 2014.
Modern, Patronymic

Johansson

Johansson means “son of Johan,” from Johan, meaning “gracious gift of Jehovah.” It appears in Denmark, Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands as Johansen, and in the U.S. as Johnson.

  • Origin: Swedish, Danish
  • Meaning: Son of Johan
  • Pronunciation: Joh-HAAN-Sehn
  • Variations: Johanson, Johansen, Johanssen
  • Namesakes: Viktoria Johansson, a Swedish chess player and FIDE Woman International Master in 1993. Lennart Johansson, the Swedish president of UEFA from 1990 to 2007.
  • Popularity: Johansson ranked 1,963rd worldwide and is primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked number one in 2014.
Patronymic, Popular

Källgren

Källgren is made up of the Swedish “källa,” meaning “spring source” and “gren,” meaning “twig.” It’s not typical in its spelling but isn’t found much outside of Sweden.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Spring twig
  • Pronunciation: KAAL-grehn
  • Popularity: Källgren is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Rare, Earthy

Kalmar

In Sweden, Kalmar is the name of a seaport near the island of Oland. It’s also a Hungarian occupational name deriving from “kalmár,” meaning “merchant.”

  • Origin: Swedish, Slavic
  • Meaning: From Kalmar
  • Pronunciation: KAAL-mahr
  • Namesakes: Pál Kalmár, a Hungarian pop singer and the first to perform Gloomy Sunday. Carlos Kalmar, a Uruguayan principal conductor of the Tonkünstlerorchester, Vienna, from 2000 to 2003.
  • Popularity: Kalmar is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Serbia, ranking 903rd in 2014.
Rare, Geographical
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Karlsson

Karlsson means “son of Karl,” based on the Germanic Karl, meaning “man.” It’s inspired by many Swedish kings named Carl, like the current King Carl XVI Gustaf.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Son of Karl
  • Pronunciation: KAHRL-suhn
  • Variations: Carlsson, Karlsen
  • Namesakes: Mikael Karlsson, the Swedish guitarist of the rock band The Hives. Arne Karlsson, a Swedish sports shooter who competed at the 1968 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Karlsson is uncommon worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked 3rd in 2014.
Traditional, Patronymic

Kjellberg

Kjellberg was originally used for someone “from Kjellberg,” meaning “source mountain.” It uses the root Kjell, commonly used as a first name in Sweden. In Norway, Kjellberg is the name of a farmstead, meaning “spring mountain.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Source mountain
  • Pronunciation: KYEHL-behrg
  • Variations: Kjell
  • Namesakes: Ellen Kjellberg, a Norwegian dancer performing at the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. Anna Kjellberg, a Swedish sailor who won the 2014 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship.
  • Popularity: Kjellberg is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, ranking 251st in 2014.
Unusual, Geographical

Lagergren

Lagergren is composed of the Swedish “lager,” meaning “laurel,” and “gren,” meaning “branch.” The Lagergren noble family is well known in Sweden and stems from Claes Lagergren in the late 19th-century.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Laurel branch
  • Pronunciation: LAA-ger-Grehn
  • Namesakes: Joakim Lagergren, a Swedish golfer who won the 2010 Landskrona Masters in the Nordic Golf League. Albin Lagergren, a Swedish handball player for the Swedish national team.
  • Popularity: Lagergren is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, where it ranked 705th in 2014.
Earthy, Royal

Lagerlöf

Lagerlöf refers to “laurel leaves” often associated with “victory” and “triumph.” It’s somewhat common in Sweden but isn’t alone among names using the imagery of the laurel tree.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Laurel leaves
  • Pronunciation: LAA-ger-Lohf
  • Namesakes: Leon Lagerlöf, a Swedish sport shooter and silver medalist at the 1920 Summer Olympics. Daniel Lind Lagerlöf, a Swedish director known for the series Skärgårdsdoktorn.
  • Popularity: Lagerlöf is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, ranking 1,698th in 2014.
Earthy, Rare

Levander

A 19th-century Swede created Levander from the farm Hjärtungen. It’s composed of the Swedish “hjärta,” meaning “heart,” and “ander,” meaning “man.” This surname became Levander when “hjärta” became the Hebrew “lev.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: From Hjärtungen
  • Pronunciation: Leh-VAAN-dehr
  • Popularity: Levander is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked 1,196th in 2014.
Geographical, Unique

Lind

Lind describes a place name with “linden trees,” another term for lime trees. In Germany and the Netherlands, Lind also refers to various places named Lind, which probably had lime trees.

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: Lime tree
  • Variations: Linde
  • Namesakes: Traci Lind, an American actress appearing in Fright Night Part 2. Olle Lind, a Swedish jazz trombonist performing with Visby Big Band.
  • Popularity: Lind is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 41st in Sweden in 2014.
Geographical, Common

Lindberg

Lindberg is made up of the Swedish “lind,” meaning “lime tree,” and “berg,” meaning “mountain hill.” Though very popular in Sweden, Lindberg originated in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Linden-tree mountain
  • Pronunciation: LIHND-buhrg
  • Variations: Lind
  • Namesakes: Karin Lindberg, a Swedish gymnast and gold medalist at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Teres Lindberg, a Swedish member of the Riksdag from 2017 to 2022.
  • Popularity: Lindberg is rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, ranking 19th in 2014.
Earthy, Traditional

Lindelöf

Like many “lind” surnames in Sweden, Lindelöf uses the root “lind,” meaning “lime tree,” and “löf,” meaning “leaf.” It’s one of the less common “lind” names and not as popular as Lind or Lindgren.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Lime tree leaf
  • Pronunciation: LIHN-deh-Lof
  • Variations: Lindelof
  • Namesakes: Victor Lindelöf, a Swedish footballer for Manchester United. Damon Lindelof, an American screenwriter and creator of the series Lost.
  • Popularity: Lindelöf is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, where it ranked 1,145th in 2014.
Unique, Earthy

Lindgren

Lindgren is composed of the Swedish “lind,” meaning “lime tree,” and “gren,” meaning “green” or “branch.” The word Lindgren is also used to describe once-Swedish areas in northwestern Estonia.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Linden-tree branch
  • Pronunciation: LIHND-grehn
  • Variations: Lind
  • Namesakes: Ryan Lindgren, an American ice hockey player for the New York Rangers. Torgny Lindgren, a Swedish writer known for The Way of a Serpent (1982).
  • Popularity: Lindgren is rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, ranking 23rd in 2014.
Earthy, Geographical

Ljungberg

Ljungberg is composed of the Swedish “ljung,” meaning “heather,” and “berg,” meaning “mountain.” When Swedes named Ljunberg came to the U.S., their surname often became Youngberg.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Heather mountain
  • Pronunciation: LOON-buhrg
  • Namesakes: Birger Ljungberg, the Norwegian Minister of Defence from 1939 to 1942. Mikael Ljungberg, a Swedish wrestler and gold medalist at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Ljungberg is rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked 175th in 2014.
Earthy, Old
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Lund

Lund derives from the Old Norse “lundr,” meaning a “thicket or grove of trees.” It’s considered a Viking name also given to roughly 70 Norwegian farms as Lunde.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Tree grove
  • Pronunciation: LUHND
  • Variations: Lunde
  • Namesakes: Zoë Tamerlis Lund, an American actress known for Ms .45 (1981). Rosa Lund, a Danish member of the Folketing since 2019.
  • Popularity: Lund is rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 98th in Sweden in 2014.
Geographical, Common

Lundqvist

Lundqvist is made up of the Swedish “lund,” meaning “grove,” and “quist,” meaning “twig.” It may have originally appeared as Lundkvist and sometimes as Lundquist in the U.S.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Grove twig
  • Pronunciation: LUHND-Kvihst
  • Variations: Lundquist, Lundkvist
  • Namesakes: Henrik Lundqvist, a Swedish ice hockey player and winner of the 2012 Vezina Trophy. Axel Lundqvist, a Swedish member of the Riksdag since 2014.
  • Popularity: Lundqvist is rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, ranking 52nd in 2014.
Traditional, Earthy

Lustig

Lustig has German origins, where it’s a nickname for someone “jolly” or “merry.” It also refers to someone “from Lustig, Germany” as well. Almost 30,000 people living in Sweden have partial or total German roots.

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: Jolly
  • Pronunciation: LUH-stig
  • Variations: Lusstig
  • Namesakes: Branko Lustig, a Croatian producer known for Gladiator (2000). Mikael Lustig, a Swedish footballer for Umeå FC.
  • Popularity: Lustig is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 1,599th in Israel in 2014.
Nicknames, Unique

Magnusson

Magnusson originally appeared as Magnussen and derives from Magnus, meaning “greatest” in Latin. Magnus was the name for many Norwegian kings like Magnus the Good in the 11th-century.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Son of Magnus
  • Pronunciation: MAAG-naa-Suhn
  • Variations: Magnussen
  • Namesakes: Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson, the sister of the current King of Sweden. Eggert Magnússon, the Icelandic president of the Football Association of Iceland.
  • Popularity: Magnusson is rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, where it ranked 20th in 2014.
Patronymic, Strong

Malmberg

Malmberg is composed of the Swedish “malm,” meaning “sand gravel” or “ore,” and “berg,” meaning “mountain hill.” Malm describes iron ore, so Malmberg also means “the mountain where iron ore is mined.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Iron mountain
  • Pronunciation: MAHLM-burg
  • Namesakes: Eric Malmberg, a Swedish musician and member of the duo Sagor & Swing. Sylvia Malmberg, a Swedish curler inducted into the Swedish Curling Hall of Fame in 2005.
  • Popularity: Malmberg is rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, ranking 183rd in 2014.
Earthy, Strong

Mathiason

Mathiason is an Americanized spelling for the original Swedish Mathiasson. It means “son of Mathias,” the Swedish form of Matthew, meaning “gift of God.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Son of Matthew
  • Pronunciation: Maa-THAEY-ah-Suhn
  • Variations: Mathiasson, Mathiasen
  • Popularity: Mathiason is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Patronymic, Rare

Modig

Modig comes from the Old Norse “móðugr” and became a name for a “brave” soldier in Sweden. Between the 17th and 19th-centuries, Swedish soldiers received nicknames while their farm or village paid for their enlistment.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Brave
  • Pronunciation: MOAW-dig
  • Namesakes: Mattias Modig, a Swedish ice hockey player for Växjö Lakers. Johan Modig, a Swedish orienteering competitor and bronze medalist at the 2004 European Orienteering Championships.
  • Popularity: Modig is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, where it ranked 500th in 2014.
Occupational, Nicknames

Mossberg

Mossberg is composed of the Swedish “mosse,” meaning “peat bog,” and “berg,” meaning “mountain hill.” It’s also a German-Jewish surname influenced by Moses, meaning “savior.”

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: Peat bog mountain
  • Pronunciation: MAAHS-behrg
  • Variations: Mosberg
  • Namesakes: Walt Mossberg, an American technology journalist for The Wall Street Journal. Fredrik Mossberg, a Swedish sports shooter who competed at the 1908 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Mossberg is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, ranking 620th in 2014.
Geographical, Uncommon

Nilsson

Nilsson means “the son of Neil,” using the Swedish Nils, which was very popular in 19th-century Sweden. Nils is originally Norwegian and means “people of victory.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Son of Nils
  • Pronunciation: NIHL-suhn
  • Variations: Nilson, Nilssen
  • Namesakes: Tommy Nilsson, a Swedish singer of the band Horizont. Lina Nilsson, a Swedish footballer for the Sweden national team.
  • Popularity: Nilsson is uncommon worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked 4th in 2014.
Patronymic, Traditional

Nordin

Nordin centers around the Swedish root “nord,” meaning “north.” It was also the Old Norse word for “north,” given to someone living north of a village or settlement. Nordin became one of the official surnames in Sweden in the 19th-century.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Of the north
  • Pronunciation: NOAR-dehn
  • Variations: Norden
  • Namesakes: Siiri Nordin, a Finnish singer of the rock band Killer. Sven Nordin, a Norwegian actor known for Elling (2001).
  • Popularity: Nordin is rare worldwide, mostly used in Malaysia, and ranked 65th in Sweden in 2014.
Modern, Nicknames
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Nordström

Nordström is composed of the Swedish “nord,” meaning “north” and “ström,” meaning “river.” It was once the Old Norse word meaning “north” and is today a chain of U.S. department stores.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: North river
  • Pronunciation: NOHRD-Struhm
  • Namesakes: Peter Nordström, a Swedish ice hockey player for the Swedish national team. Anders Nordström, the Swedish acting Director-General of the World Health Organization from May to November 2006.
  • Popularity: Nordström is rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, ranking 63rd in 2014.
Earthy, Unique

Norgaard

Norgaard is an Americanized spelling for the Swedish Norgård, named after various farming locations. It’s made up of the Swedish “nord,” meaning “north” and “gård,” meaning “farm.”

  • Origin: Swedish, Danish
  • Meaning: North farm
  • Pronunciation: NAWR-Gaard
  • Variations: Nörgård
  • Namesakes: Kari Norgaard, an American professor known for research into Indigenous environmental justice. Carsten Norgaard, a Danish actor appearing in the series The Man in the High Castle.
  • Popularity: Norgaard is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Uncommon, Geographical

Norling

Norling is composed of the Swedish “nor,” meaning “narrow stream,” plus the suffix “-ling,” meaning “belonging to.” It was likely given to someone from the north or locations called Nora.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Near a narrow stream
  • Pronunciation: NOHR-lihng
  • Namesakes: Bengt Norling, the Swedish governor of Värmland from 1977 to 1990. Lars-Olof Norling, a Swedish boxer who competed at the 1960 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Norling is rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, where it ranked 337th in 2014.
Geographical, Earthy

Nyberg

Nyberg is made up of the Swedish “ny,” meaning “new” and “berg,” meaning “mountain.” It first appeared in Bavaria with the similar Nueberg and is also found in Finland, Norway, and Denmark.

  • Origin: Swedish, Scandinavian
  • Meaning: New mountain
  • Pronunciation: NAEY-Buhrg
  • Namesakes: Arto Nyberg, a Finnish journalist for Yleisradio. John Nyberg, a Swedish ice hockey player for the Dallas Stars.
  • Popularity: Nyberg is rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, ranking 55th in 2014.
Earthy, Common

Nyström

Nyström uses the Swedish roots “ny,” meaning “new” and “ström,” meaning “river.” It dates back to the 7th-century Old Norse “straumr,” meaning “stream,” and is also associated with Newstrom.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: New river
  • Pronunciation: NAEY-Struhm
  • Variations: Nystroem
  • Namesakes: Johan Nyström, a Swedish swimmer who competed at the 2000 Olympic Games. Per Nyström, the Swedish governor of Gothenburg and Bohus County from 1950 to 1971.
  • Popularity: Nyström is rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked 57th in 2014.
Earthy, Unique

Olsson

Olsson means “the son of Ole or Olaf,” and occasionally “the son of Ola.” It originated with the Old Norse Oleifr, responsible for badass Scandinavian male names like Olaf, Olof, and Olav.

  • Origin: Swedish, Norwegian
  • Meaning: Son of Olaf
  • Pronunciation: OHL-Sohn
  • Variations: Olson
  • Namesakes: Jan Olof Olsson, a Swedish journalist for the newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Kalle Olsson, a Swedish member of the Riksdag since 2014.
  • Popularity: Olsson is rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, ranking 7th in 2014.
Patronymic, Traditional

Öster

Like some Swedish family names, Öster relates to German roots. It’s linked to the Middle German “ōster,” meaning “eastern,” and was used for someone from the East.

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: East
  • Pronunciation: OHS-stehr
  • Namesakes: Grigoriy Oster, a Russian children’s book writer known for A Tale with Details. Jennifer Oster, a German footballer for FCR 2001 Duisburg.
  • Popularity: Oster is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 1,562nd in Germany in 2014.
Old, Nicknames

Petersdotter

Pettersdotter is an example of rare Swedish surnames that are matronymic instead of patronymic. The daughter of someone named Per, the Swedish form of Peter, would be called Petersdotter or Persdotter.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Peter’s daughter
  • Pronunciation: PEH-ters-Dauw-ter
  • Variations: Persdotter
  • Popularity: Petersdotter is extremely rare worldwide, with 57 known occurrences in 2014, primarily in Sweden.
Rare, Patronymic

Quarnstrom

Quarnstrom is composed of the Swedish “kvarn,” meaning “mill” and “ström,” meaning “stream.” Swedish immigrants called Quarnstrom who came to the U.S. were often renamed Kvarnström.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: River mill
  • Pronunciation: KWAARN-struhm
  • Variations: Qvarnström
  • Popularity: Quarnstrom is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Earthy, Unusual

Ranstrӧm

Ranström is named after various locations in Sweden and means “raven river.” It uses the Swedish roots “ramn,” meaning “raven,” and “ström,” meaning “river.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Raven river
  • Pronunciation: RAEN-Struhm
  • Popularity: Ranstrӧm is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Unique, Traditional
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Rydén

Rydén is made up of the Swedish “ryd,” meaning “woodland clearing,” and the suffix “-én,” meaning “relating to.” It’s also a boy’s name based on the English Ryder, meaning “horseman.”

  • Origin: Swedish, English
  • Meaning: Woodland clearing
  • Pronunciation: RAEY-Dehn
  • Variations: Royden
  • Namesakes: Susanne Rydén, a Swedish opera singer and chairman of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. Folke Rydén, a Swedish journalist awarded the 1993 Bonnier Grand Prize in journalism.
  • Popularity: Ryden is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Geographical, Rare

Sandberg

Sandberg refers to a “sandy mountain” or “fortified place” and is the name of various Norwegian farmsteads. Sandberg is also a Germanic surname originating in a village in Bavaria.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Sandy mountain
  • Pronunciation: SAAND-behrg
  • Variations: Zandberg
  • Namesakes: A.W. Sandberg, a Danish director known for Klovnen (The Clown) in 1917. Harald Sandberg, the Swedish ambassador to India from 2012 to 2017.
  • Popularity: Sandberg is rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, ranking 33rd in 2014.
Earthy, Popular

Settergren

Settergren uses the Swedish roots “sät(t)er,” meaning “outlying meadow” and “gren,” meaning “branch.” Unlike other surnames based on Swedish topography, Settergren is quite rare today.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Outlying meadow branch
  • Pronunciation: SEAT-ehr-Grehn
  • Variations: Zettergren
  • Namesakes: Arne Settergren, a Swedish sailor who competed at the 1964 Summer Olympics. Johan Settergren, a Swedish tennis player who ranked 130th in 2001.
  • Popularity: Settergren is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Unusual, Rare

Sjöberg

Sjöberg uses the Swedish roots “sjö,” meaning “sea” and “berg,” meaning “mountain.” It’s typically Americanized as Seaberg, Seaborg, or Showberg.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Sea lake hill
  • Pronunciation: SHOH-Buhrg
  • Namesakes: Mathias Sjöberg, a Swedish ice hockey player for Tyringe SOS. Alf Sjöberg, a Swedish director who won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 1946.
  • Popularity: Sjöberg is rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked 42nd in 2014.
Earthy, Geographical

Skarsgård

Skarsgård is thought to have been used for someone from Skärlöv, a Swedish village on the island of Öland. It means “Skare’s farm” and is most recognizable as the surname for Swedish actor Stelaan Skarsgård and his sons.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Skare’s farm
  • Pronunciation: SKAARS-Gaerd
  • Namesakes: Stellan Skarsgård, a Swedish actor known for Good Will Hunting (1997). Bill Skarsgård, a Swedish actor best known as Pennywise in the horror film It (2017).
  • Popularity: Skarsgård is extremely rare worldwide, with 70 known occurrences in 2014, mostly in Norway.
Geographical, Rare

Söderberg

Söderberg was used for someone from the “southern mountain (or big hill)” and first appeared in Holland. It’s composed of the Swedish “söder,” meaning “south” and “berg,” meaning “mountain.”

  • Origin: Swedish, Dutch
  • Meaning: South mountain
  • Pronunciation: SOH-dehr-Buhrg
  • Variations: Soderbergh
  • Namesakes: Torgny Söderberg, a Swedish songwriter who won the 1984 Eurovision Song Contest. Bertil Söderberg, a Swedish handball player who competed at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Söderberg is rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, ranking 58th in 2014.
Geographical, Traditional

Stolt

Stolt relates to the German “stolt,” meaning “proud,” “stately,” and “good-looking.” It was one of many nickname-oriented surnames given to 17th-century Swedish soldiers based on personal traits.

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: Proud
  • Pronunciation: STOWLT
  • Variations: Stolte
  • Namesakes: Roine Stolt, a Swedish member of the rock band Kaipa. William Alex Stolt, the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, from 1941 to 1944.
  • Popularity: Stolt is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked 691st in 2014.
Nicknames, Unique

Sundström

Sundström is composed of the Swedish “sund,” meaning “strait” or “sound,” along with “ström,” meaning “river.” If a person lived near a strait that ran into a river, they may have been named Sundström.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Sound river
  • Pronunciation: SOOND-Struhm
  • Variations: Sandström
  • Namesakes: Rebecca Sundström, a Swedish actress known for the series The White Queen (2013). Tryggve Sundström, a Swedish bobsledder who competed at the 1956 Winter Olympics.
  • Popularity: Sundström is rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, ranking 96th in 2014.
Earthy, Traditional

Svensson

Svensson is the most traditional of Swedish patronymic surnames and means “Sven’s son.” It’s rooted in the Old Norse Sveinn, a given name also meaning “boy” or “servant.” Svensson is also somewhat common in Denmark, Germany, and Norway.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Sven’s son
  • Pronunciation: SVEHN-Suhn
  • Variations: Svenson
  • Namesakes: Eva-Britt Svensson, a Swedish member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2011. Karl Svensson, a Swedish footballer for Jönköpings Södra.
  • Popularity: Svensson is rare worldwide and mainly used in Sweden, where it ranked 9th in 2014.
Old, Patronymic

Sylvan

Sylvan dates back to the Latin “silvanus,” meaning “of the forest.” The Swedish “skog” has the same meaning, while Sylvan is also a boy’s name, meaning “man of the woods.” It’s inspired by the Roman god Silvanus, who ruled the countryside.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Of the forest
  • Pronunciation: SIHL-Vuhn
  • Variations: Silvan
  • Namesakes: Torsten Sylvan, a Swedish horse rider and silver medalist at the 1924 Summer Olympics. Sanford Sylvan, an American opera singer who performed at the New York Philharmonic.
  • Popularity: Sylvan is very rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and is somewhat uncommon in Sweden.
Unique, Earthy
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Thunberg

Thunberg is composed of the Swedish “thun,” from “tun,” meaning “grass enclosed yard,” and “berg,” meaning “mountain.” It’s one of many Swedish family names ending in “-berg.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Fenced mountain
  • Pronunciation: THOON-behrg
  • Variations: Tunberg
  • Namesakes: Greta Thunberg, a Swedish environmental activist known for climate change. Olof Thunberg, a Swedish actor known as the voice of Bamse.
  • Popularity: Thunberg is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, ranking 487th in 2014.
Geographical, Uncommon

Torborg

Torborg uses the Swedish “tor,” meaning “Thor” and “borg,” meaning “castle fortress.” In Norse mythology, Thor is the god of thunder, lightning, oak trees, and strength.

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: Thor’s bear/help
  • Pronunciation: TOHR-Boarg
  • Popularity: Torberg is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Strong, Old

Trygg

Trygg is a Swedish soldier’s name created out of a nickname that means “trustworthy” and “faithful.” It’s also a Norwegian boy’s name, meaning “safe,” from the Old Norse Tryggui, meaning “true.” In Norse mythology, Tryggui was a Viking chieftain who sailed the seas to land in the modern-day British Isles.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Trustworthy
  • Pronunciation: TRIHG
  • Variations: Tryg
  • Namesakes: Lars Trygg, a Swedish woodcarver known for the Scandinavian flat-plane style of woodcarving. Marius Trygg, a Norwegian ice hockey player for Manglerud Star.
  • Popularity: Trygg is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked 744th in 2014.
Unusual, Nicknames

Underberg

Underberg relates to the Old Norse “undir,” meaning “under” and “berg,” meaning “mountain.” It was given to someone residing near a mountain and is the name of a digestif bitter based in Germany.

  • Origin: Swedish, Norwegian
  • Meaning: Under the mountain
  • Pronunciation: UHN-der-Burgh
  • Variations: Ondenberg
  • Popularity: Underberg is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Rare, Geographical

Vass

Vass means “reed” and “marsh” in Swedish, yet is also a patronymic name describing “the son of Vass.” It also relates to the Norman-English Vaux, from the Latin “vassus,” meaning “friend.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Reed
  • Pronunciation: VAAS
  • Variations: Wass
  • Namesakes: Ghizela Vass, a Romanian activist of the Romanian Communist Party (PCR). Joan Vass, an American designer with clients including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
  • Popularity: Vass is rare worldwide and mainly used in Hungary, ranking 38th in 2014.
Earthy, Old

Wallin

Wallin is a Swedish variation for Vallin, made up of “vall,” meaning “grassy bank” or “pasture.” It’s also associated with the Latin “vallis,” meaning “valley” for those who lived there.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Pasture valley
  • Pronunciation: WAH-lihn
  • Variations: Wahlin
  • Namesakes: Stefan Wallin, the Finnish Minister of Culture and Sport from 2007 to 2011. Christer Wallin, a Swedish swimmer and silver medalist at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Wallin is rare worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, where it ranked 54th in 2014.
Geographical, Unique

Westerberg

Westerberg uses the Swedish roots “väster,” meaning “western,” and “berg,” meaning “mountain” or “hill.” It’s also the name of four villages in Winzenburg, located in Lower Saxony, Germany.

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Western mountain
  • Pronunciation: WEHST-ehr-Burg
  • Variations: Westerburg
  • Namesakes: Paul Westerberg, an American member of the rock band The Replacements. Bengt Westerberg, the Swedish Deputy Prime Minister from 1991 to 1994.
  • Popularity: Westerberg is rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, ranking 219th in 2014.
Geographical, Traditional

Wingård

Wingård denotes a “dweller at, or near, a vineyard” and relates to the German Wingert and Weingarten. The Wingård family was a noble Danish-Swedish family originally from Stuttgart, Germany.

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: Vineyard
  • Pronunciation: WIHN-gaard
  • Variations: Winegard
  • Namesakes: Adam Wingard, an American filmmaker known for You’re Next (2011). Corey Wingard, a member of the South Australian House of Assembly from 2014 to 2018.
  • Popularity: Wingård is rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Rare, Geographical

Wollter

Wollter is a Scandinavian variation of the German Walter, derived from Waltheri. It’s made up of the Old German “waldaʐ,” meaning “ruler” and “harjaz,” meaning “army.”

  • Origin: Swedish, German
  • Meaning: Army ruler
  • Pronunciation: WOHL-tehr
  • Variations: Wolter
  • Namesakes: Christopher Wollter, a Swedish actor appearing in Swedish productions of West Side Story. Stina Wollter, a radio host of Söndagarna med Stina Wollter on P4 Stockholm.
  • Popularity: Wollter is extremely rare worldwide, with 155 known occurrences in 2014, primarily in Sweden.
Occupational, Strong

Zetterberg

Zetterberg is composed of the Swedish “säter,” meaning “pasture,” and “berg,” meaning “mountain.” Zetter is itself a Swedish suffix meaning “son of” or “descendant of,” giving Zetterberg the additional meaning of “son of Zetter.”

  • Origin: Swedish
  • Meaning: Pasture mountain
  • Pronunciation: ZEHT-ehr-Burg
  • Variations: Setterberg
  • Namesakes: Henrik Zetterberg, a Swedish ice hockey player for the Detroit Red Wings. Hanna Zetterberg, a Swedish member of the Riksdag from 1994 to 1998.
  • Popularity: Zetterberg is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Sweden, where it ranked 427th in 2014.
Patronymic, Uncommon
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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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