Dec 14, 2017 Parenting

The Most Beautiful Swedish Baby Names (You'll Want to Steal These)

by Grace Jennings-Edquist
PHOTO:

Sarah Sherman Samuel

It's no secret that Scandinavian style is having a moment. From the sheepskin hide on your bedroom floor to that dark rye bread you had for lunch to minimalistic clothing in your IKEA closet: Everything that's popular in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway seems to reach our shores.

What you may not have noticed is that Swedish baby names are roaringly popular at the moment too. From Agnes to Axel to Elsa, names that are topping the charts in Sweden tend to be traditional yet slightly quirkytrends that have been on the upswing themselves in recent years. Many of them are traditionally Swedish; others are Anglo-Saxon monikers that Swedes have embraced.

If the region's ability to predict design, fashion, and food trends are any indication, these names will be huge in 2017. Hej Sweden organized a list of the top Swedish boy and girl baby names, but we're of the mind that any of these would work across gender lines (some of them have already been used that way). Take a look at the top baby names that Swedish moms adore below!

Yes, it's pronounced "AK-sel"; there are no tricky silent letters here, luckily.

We're particularly fond of this name because of its sweet meaning: "father of peace." And it seems we're not the only ones who love it. Funnyman Will Ferrell's son is named Axel Ferrell while athlete Tiger Woods's son is named Charlie Axel Woods. (Sidenote: Charlie is also a hugely popular name in Sweden, so it seems the golfer had a theme in mind with this baby name.)

Number 13 on Sweden's popular baby name list is used widely across Scandinavia. It's also occasionally used as a girl's name in Sweden and Denmark.

While the spelling with a K is traditional in Scandinavia, the English spelling of Oscar nevertheless remains on the top-20 list in Sweden. Actors Hugh Jackman and Gillian Anderson both chose to give their sons this name, which means "God's spear" or "divine spear."

This traditional, nature-inspired name is popular in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. It's derived from the old Norse elements arn for "eagle" and viðr for "tree." The name, which currently sits at #18 on the Swedish list, is pronounced "Ah-RVahD." (If you have high academic aspirations for your bub, you'll be pleased to note that it rhymes with Harvard.)

In Sweden, Leo isn't just a shortening of Leonardo. It's a standalone name used for both boys and girls, and its use in Sweden dates back to 1753. Its original Latin meaning is "lion"—so the name has both playful and majestic connotations.

Need more baby name inspiration? Look to the top 20 "boy" names in Sweden:

  1. Lucas
  2. William
  3. Oscar
  4. Oliver
  5. Liam
  6. Elias
  7. Hugo
  8. Vincent
  9. Charlie
  10. Alexander
  11. Axel
  12. Ludvig
  13. Elliot
  14. Noah
  15. Leo
  16. Viktor
  17. Filio
  18. Arvid
  19. Alfred
  20. Nils

This pretty name doubled in popularity from 2014 to 2015 due to the popularity of the animated film Frozen—but guess what? It's a traditional Swedish name that is currently sitting at #1 on the popular Swedish names list. Model Elsa Pataky also bears the name, in case you’re wondering why you've seen it on a best dressed list recently.

A traditional English name, Olivia (meaning "symbol of peace") has been appropriated by both Swedes and Americans alike: It's currently #6 on the popular baby name list in Sweden and #2 in America.

Athlete Lance Armstrong, musician Eddie Vedder, and actors Al Pacino, James Van Der Beek, Denzel Washington, and Ben Stiller have all fallen in love with this name—each calling their daughter Olivia. With its kind, classic connotations, we can see why.

This chic name, meaning "star," was originally Latin but later became popular in England. It was eventually snapped up by the Swedes and currently sits at #14 on the popular baby name list in the Scandinavian country.

It's also hugely popular among celebrities, with actors Harvey Keitel, Matt Damon, Tori Spelling, Ellen Pompeo, and Antonio Banderas—plus Beatle Paul McCartney—all bestowing the name on their respective daughters.

This nostalgic name, which is also Greek, means "pure" or "holy."  In 2011, actor couple Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany called their daughter Agnes. (And that's a soft "e," by the way: The pronunciation is "Ag-ness," not "Ag-neez.")

This floral name is a nod to pioneering Swedish botanist Anders Dahl. The name Dahlia was chosen by Canadian food celebrity Gail Simmons for her daughter—but even more compellingly, Dahlia is a floral choice that isn’t overdone, nor soft or wishy-washy.

Love these monikers? Here's the full list of the top 20 "girl" names in Sweden:

  1. Elsa
  2. Alice
  3. Maja
  4. Agnes
  5. Lilly
  6. Olivia
  7. Julia
  8. Ebba
  9. Linnea
  10. Milly
  11. Ella
  12. Wilma
  13. Klara
  14. Stella
  15. Freja
  16. Alicia
  17. Alva
  18. Alma
  19. Isabelle
  20. Ellen

This story was originally published on November 29, 2016, and has since been updated.