The 100 most common surnames in Denmark - Surnames, Naming Traditions, Meaning and Origin - MyDanishRoots.com

Featured

 

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

Surname list (no. 51-100) continued...

Rank Surname Origin / Meaning Occurrence
51. Carlsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Carl. 7,025
52. Dahl Danish surname deriving from a topographic name for someone who lived in a low lying area (from ON dalr meaning valley). 7,853
53. Skov Danish surname deriving from a topographic name for someone who lived in or near a forest (literal meaning "forest"). 7,610
54. Søndergaard Danish surname deriving from a nickname for a person living on the farmstead named "Søndergaard" (literal meaning "the southern farmstead"). 7,981
55. Christoffersen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Christoffer. 6,382
56. Bertelsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Bertel. 6,906
57. Bruun Danish surname deriving from a nickname (personal characteristic) for a person with brown hair or eyes. 6,536
58. Lassen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Las. 6,065
59. Gregersen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Gregers. 5,868
60. Bach Danish surname of topographic origin meaning hill (bakke) OR a nickname of German origin meaning stream 6,308
61. Friis Danish surname deriving from a regional name for someone of Frisian origin (most often from the Frisian areas in Schleswig). 5,862
62. Kjeldsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Kjeld. 5,067
63. Johnsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name John. 5,166
64. Steffensen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Steffen. 4,887
65. Lauritsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Laurits. 4,687
66. Krogh   5,208
67. Bech Danish surnames of topographic origin, 'bĂŚk' meaning steam OR a nickname of German origin (short for backer) 5,114
68. Danielsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Daniel. 4,686
69. Andresen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Andres. 4,476
70. Mathiesen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Mathies. 4,260
71. Toft Danish surname deriving from a topographic name for someone living near a "toft", an uncultivated area or enclosure on a farm (literal meaning "paddock/croft"). 4,744
72. Winther Danish surname deriving from a nickname (seasonal name) (literal meaning "winter"). 5,370
73. Ravn Danish surname deriving from a nickname (animal name) from the Old Norse name "raven". Originates from Rafn (ON) which also is a side form of the surname today. 4,692
74. Brandt   4,469
75. Dam Danish surname deriving from a topographic name for someone living near a "dam" (literal meaning "pond"). 4,251
76. Holst Danish surname deriving from a regional name for someone of Holstein origin. 4,317
77. Lind Danish surname deriving from an ornamental name for a lind meaning lime tree. 4,325
78. Mathiasen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Mathias. 3,704
79. Berg Danish surname deriving from a topographic name for someone who lived on or by a hill (from ON berg/bjarg, literal meaning mountain). 4,163
80. Overgaard Danish surname deriving from a nickname for a person living on the farmstead named "Overgaard". 4,119
81. Bak Danish surname of topographic origin meaning hill (bakke) 4,010
82. Nilsson Swedish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Nils. 3,709
83. Schultz German surname deriving from a status name for a parish official performing certain judicial functions in the parish (from German Schultze). 3,745
84. Klausen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Klaus. 3,601
85. Kristoffersen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Kristoffersen. 3,560
86. Paulsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Paul. 3,427
87. Schou Danish surname (germanized form of Skov) deriving from a topographic name for someone who lived in or near a forest (literal meaning "forest"). 3,853
88. Koch Surname of common Germanic origin deriving for an occupational name for a cook. 3,516
89. Thorsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the Old Norse given name Thor. 3,683
90. Hermansen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Herman. 3,467
91. Thygesen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Thyge. 3,580
92. Nygaard Danish surname deriving from a nickname for a person living on the farmstead named "Nygaard" (literal meaning "the new farmstead"). 4,037
93. Bang   3,709
94. Kruse Danish surname deriving from a nickname (personal characteristic) for a person with curly hair. 3,651
95. Karlsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Karl. 3,381
96. Juhl Danish surname deriving from a seasonal name (literal meaning nowadays is "Christmas"), however the Danish name relates to a pre-Christian winter festival. Side forms are Juul and Juel 3,566
97. Villadsen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Villads. 3,388
98. Hedegaard Danish surname deriving from a nickname for a person living on the farmstead named "Hedegaard" (literal meaning "the farmstead by/on the heath"). 3,781
99. Lorenzen Danish surname of patronymic origin deriving from the given name Lorenz. 3,385
100. Damgaard Danish surname deriving from a nickname for a person living on the farmstead named "Damgaard" (literal meaning "the farmstead by the pond"). 3,887

A few numbers and facts...

  • 500,000

    ...Danes emigrated up to 1968, and of these about 70% departed for the USA. In the 1800's alone a vast majority of 90% went to the USA. Read more...

  • 261,065

    This many individuals, comprising of 4.6 percent of all Danes, carries the surname JENSEN followed by NIELSEN, HANSEN, PEDERSEN and ANDERSEN. Read more...

  • 1,000

    Of the 5,000 basic words in modern English, as many as 20 percent are so-called loan words from the Old Norse language (ON). Read more...

  • 1769

    This year the first Danish census was taken. The next censuses were taken in 1787 and 1801 and from 1834 onwards every 5-10 years. Read more...