The Nordic countries share a history that goes back hundreds of years.  A common Norse heritage, a shared Lutheran faith, and centuries of cultural exchange mean their society displays many similarities today. Male names are just one of the features that reveal such affinities.
Nordic male names point to the Christian and Norse roots of Nordic society. The Icelandic language influences the names of those in Iceland, while in Finland, a distinctive Finno-Ugric tradition rests behind the naming of boys. With rising immigration, non-traditional names are now more common.
This article will list some of the most common names for boys and men across the Nordic region by country and provide context for their uniqueness.
The Most Popular Nordic Names for Men
The most common Nordic male names vary by region. Christian names are widespread across Protestant Northern Europe, such as variations of John, Michael, Peter, and Thomas. Specifically Scandinavian variants of Christian names are also common, such as Lar, Anders, and Niels.
Finally, the pre-Christian traditions of each country continue to exert an enormous influence. One may trace back many names to the region’s Norse roots. In addition, Icelandic and Finnish names often point to specific regional peculiarities.
The Most Popular Nordic Names for Men in Sweden
According to Statista,  in 2021, the 20 most common names for men in Sweden, in descending order of popularity, were:
Lars, the most popular name on the list, is derived from the Latin Laurentius for “crowned with laurel,” meaning victor. Of Scandinavian origin, it shares roots with the names Lawrence or Laurence, which are more common in the Anglosphere. It is common in many of the other Nordic nations too.
Many of the names on the list are typical of Nordic and Northern Germanic people. These include:
Others are popular across Northern Europe and in many other places in the Christian world. For instance:
Several names occur more than once on the list in the following variations:
- Per is a specifically Scandinavian version of Peter, from the Greek Petros for rock
- Similarly, Hans, Jan, and Johan are all Scandinavian variants of John, which derives from the Hebrew Yochanan, meaning God’s grace
- Mats and Mattias are variants of Matthew
- Anders and Andreas are variants of Andrew
Despite the prevalence of Christian names, a few names on this list have deeper roots in Nordic society. Erik, meaning “supreme ruler,” and Karl, meaning “free man,” are both of North Germanic origin and may go back to Viking times. 
The other standout name on the list is Mohamed, also spelled Mohamad, Mohammad, Mohammed, Muhammed, and in many different variations. It means “praiseworthy” in Arabic and is a common name across the Islamic world. Rising immigration has driven the popularity of this name in the country in recent decades.
The Most Popular Nordic Names for Men in Denmark
The same source lists the 20 most common male names in Denmark in 2022 as follows:
- Jørgen 
Note that as many as seven names occur across both lists, suggesting substantial cultural overlaps between Sweden and Denmark. These include:
Once again, there are many specifically Scandinavian variants of Christian names, sometimes appearing simultaneously with the more common version. These include:
- Per for Peter
- Mikkel for Michael
- Jens, Han, and Jan for John
- Morten for Martin
- Niels for Nicholas
- Mads for Matthew
- Anders for Andrew
- Jørgen for George
Like the Swedish list, there are also names of Norse or North Germanic origin. These include Henrik, meaning “lord of the household,” and Søren meaning austere.
The Most Popular Nordic Names for Men in Norway
The most common male names in Norway as of 2021 are as follows:
- Daniel 
Again, more than half the names on this list appear on one of the previous two lists. Incredibly, as many as six names appear in all three lists. These include:
There are a few more Old Norse names on the Norwegian list than the Swedish and Danish ones. These include:
- Bjørn, meaning bear
- Ole for “an ancestor’s descendant”
- Kjell, a reference to a helmet or a cauldron
- Svein for “young warrior”
- Knut, meaning knot
- Tor, for thunder, is a reference to the God Thor
- Geir, which means spear
- Arne, for eagle
- Arik, meaning “supreme ruler”
- Terje, a gender-neutral name that means “spear of Thor”
The Most Popular Nordic Names for Men in Iceland
The most common Icelandic male names in 2019, in declining order of popularity, were:
- Ragnar 
The Icelandic list stands out from the earlier three lists. The archaic Icelandic language and older Norse traditions make a stronger impression on it. Names influenced by the older Norse traditions include:
- Sigurður, which means victorious protector
- Guðmundur or divine protection
- Gunnar, meaning warrior
- Ólafur, meaning ancestor’s descendant
- Einar, a lone warrior
- Bjørn and Bjarni, both mean bear
- Arnar, eagle warrior
- Árni, powerful like an eagle
- Helgi, meaning blessed
- Halldór, a reference to Thor’s stone
- Ragnar, warrior’s counsel, also the name of a famous Viking warrior
Despite this, local variants of Christian names also appear on the list. They include:
- Jón and Jóhann for John
- Pjetur for Peter
- Kristinn for Christian
The Most Popular Nordic Names for Newborn Boys in Finland
The most popular masculine names for newborns in Finland in 2020 were:
- Eemil 
Like the Icelandic names, the Finnish list looks quite distinct from the Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian lists. This variation is because Finnish derives from a different Finno-Ugric language than the other Nordic languages, which are all derived from Old Norse.
Uniquely Finnish names on this list include:
- Ilmari, meaning “air,” which was the name of a legendary craftsman in the Finnish national myth, the Kalevala
- Onni, which means luck
- Eino, meaning one
- Toivo or hope
- Väinö, meaning “a wide river”
Despite this, there are also some overlaps in naming conventions.
- Juhani and Johannes are variants of John, like Johan, Hans, Jens, Jan, and Jón
- Olavi has the same Old Norse roots as Ole and Ólafur
- Viljami derives from Old Norse for “determined protector”
Beyond these nations, territories like the Faroe Islands are also considered part of the Nordic region and have particular regional variations on similar themes.