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Surnames, Naming Traditions, Meaning and Origin

The 100 most common surnames in Denmark

The 100 most common surnames

This list covers the 100 most common surnames in present-day Denmark. It explains the origin and meaning of the name and provides information on ranking and numerical distribution.

Of the following 100 surnames, as many as 64 derive from the patronymic naming tradition (names ending with "-sen"), 23 from nicknames, 9 from topographic features, and 2 from an occupation. Due to the natural immigration over the years many foreign surnames have appeared in Denmark, however, only one surname of German origin, SCHULTZ (and partly SCHMIDT, BACH and BECH) and one of Swedish origin, NILSSON, have made it to the top 100 list.

Among the more that 5.6 mill. Danes in present day Denmark JENSEN is the most common last name, carried by 261,065 individuals comprising 4.6 percent, followed by NIELSEN, HANSEN, PEDERSEN and ANDERSEN. The 15 most common names account for as many as 33.6 percent of the Danish population - all of them of patronymic origin - and all top 100 surnames account for as many as 57,22% of all Danes.

Over the years the top surnames have remained consistent and there has only been little change in the distribution of the more common surnames in the Danish population.

Following surname list is updated on January 1, 2014:

Rank Surname Origin / Meaning Occurrence
1. Jensen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Jens. 261,432
2. Nielsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Niels. 261,065
3. Hansen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Hans. 218,580
4. Pedersen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Peder. 164,629
5. Andersen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Anders. 160,254
6. Christensen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Christen. 120,244
7. Larsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Lars. 117,007
8. Sørensen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Søren. 112,120
9. Rasmussen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Rasmus. 95,400
10. Jørgensen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Jørgen. 89,084
11. Petersen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Peter. 80,232
12. Madsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Mads. 64,701
13. Kristensen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Kristen. 60,938
14. Olsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given names Ol/Ols/Ole. 48,624
15. Thomsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Thom/Tom. 39,384
16. Christiansen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Christian. 37,230
17. Poulsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Poul. 32,289
18. Johansen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Johan. 31,343
19. Møller Danish surname deriving from an occupational name for a miller - the man who operated the mill (from Dan. "mølle" = mill). 30,215
20. Mortensen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Morten. 29,516
21. Knudsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Knud. 29,510
22. Jakobsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Jakob. 28,271
23. Jacobsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Jacob. 24,517
24. Mikkelsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Mikkel. 22,809
25. Olsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Ole. 22,705
26. Frederiksen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Frederik. 20,336
27. Laursen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Laur/Laurs. 18,381
28. Henriksen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Henrik. 17,537
29. Lund Danish surname deriving from a topographic name for someone living in or near a grove. 17,226
30. Schmidt Danish (German) surname deriving from an occupational name for a worker in metal. In Denmark it is most often a Germanized form of Smed (meaning Smith) but can also be of German origin (from Ger. Schmied). 15,820
31. Holm Danish surname deriving from a topographic name for someone living on a islet/small island. 15,813
32. Eriksen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Erik. 14,970
33. Kristiansen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Kristian. 13,949
34. Simonsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Simon. 13,194
35. Clausen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Claus. 13,041
36. Svendsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Svend. 11,740
37. Andreasen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Andreas. 11,724
38. Iversen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Iver. 10,625
39. Østergaard Danish surname deriving from a nickname for a person living on the farmstead named "Østergaard" (literal meaning "the eastern farmstead"). 10,375
40. Jeppesen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Jeppe. 9,916
41. Vestergaard Danish surname deriving from a nickname for a person living on the farmstead named "Vestergaard" (literal meaning "the western farmstead"). 9,373
42. Nissen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Nis. 9,253
43. Lauridsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Laurids. 9,212
44. KjĂŚr Danish surname deriving from a topographic name for someone living near a pond. 9,064
45. Jespersen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Jesper. 8,972
46. Mogensen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Mogens. 8,915
47. Nørgaard Danish surname deriving from a nickname for a person living on the farmstead named "Nørgaard" (literal meaning "the northern farmstead"). 8,758
48. Jepsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Jep. 8,613
49. Frandsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Frands. 8,551
50. Jessen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Jes. 7,602