The Most Popular Norwegian Baby Names in 2023

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How about a Norwegian baby name for your new born? Traditional Scandinavian names seem to be making a comeback. Here are the most popular baby names in Norway last year.

Annual figures released by Statistics Norway (SSB) give us a snapshot into naming trends in Norway. The full year rankings in 2023 were most notable for a continued trend towards more traditional names.

Norwegian baby dressed up as a Viking.

Olivia and Emma were the most popular names for newborn girls. For boys, Lucas/Lukas was the most popular name, followed by Noah/Noa.

Although there were a lot of changes in the top 20, both biblical names and traditional Scandinavian names remain popular among boys.

If you're searching for baby name inspiration or just looking for a window into Norwegian lifestyle, read on for the details.

Olivia retains #1 ranking for girls

For the second year running, Olivia is the most popular baby girl name in Norway, chosen in 366 cases. The name Olivia, derived from Latin, signifies “olive” or “olive tree,” a symbol of peace and fertility.

Popularised by Shakespeare in his comedy “Twelfth Night,” Olivia blends classical heritage with literary elegance. Its global popularity reflects its melodious sound and the timeless beauty it represents, making it a cherished choice for baby girls.

Olivia is closely followed by Emma (360), Ella (341), Lea/Leah (328), and Sofie/Sophie (323).

Just outside the top five is Nora/Norah/Noora, which was chosen for 322 newborn girls. A few years ago, this name topped the charts for several years in a row.

According to SSB researcher Jørgen Ouren, Nora is a short form of Eleonore, which appeared in Ibsen's play A Doll’s House.

A Norwegian baby holding its parent's finger.

“Nora was rarely used between 1940 and 1980, but then became popular alongside other short names for girls that end with an a,” he said.

The name's popularity may also have received a boost from the NRK series Skam, in which one of the main characters was named Noora. Norwegian handball player Nora Mørk is another well-known Nora.

“Both Nora and Emma have been popular for a while, and have more or less competed for first place since 2012. Name trends usually move slowly, and we see marginal differences at the top from last year,” said SSB senior adviser Anders Sønstebø.

Other baby girl names making up the top ten were Sofia/Sophia (298), Maja/Maia/Maya (297), Alma (288), and Ada (287).

Making up the top 20 were Selma (265), Astrid/Astri (262), Frida (258), Iben (also 258), Sara/Sarah/Zara (254), Ellinor/Elinor (249), Ingrid/Ingri (249), Mia (246), Hedda (243), and Aurora (241).

There is also considerable diversity among names. For example, eight percent of all girls names chosen were unique.

Lucas very popular for baby boys

Chosen by parents of 494 newborn boys, Lucas/Lukas comfortably takes the title as most popular name for newborn boys.

The name Lucas or Lukas originates from the Latin name “Lucas,” derived from the Greek word “Loukas.” This name means “from Lucania,” a region in Southern Italy.

Mother and baby boy on a Norway beach.

Over time, Lucas has come to be associated with light or the one who brings light, echoing the Latin word “lux” for light.

It's a name that has carried significance throughout history, often linked to Saint Luke the Evangelist, one of the four authors of the canonical Gospels in the New Testament. This connection imbues the name with a sense of tradition and spirituality.

In modern contexts, Lucas/Lukas is celebrated for its classical resonance and universal appeal, making it a favored choice for parents seeking a name with depth, historical roots, and an enduring sense of brightness and hope.

Other popular names for baby boys were Noah/Noa (410), Isak/Isac/Isaac (365), Oliver (also 365), Kasper/Casper (352), Elias (345), and Emil (also 345).

Although it topped the charts in 2017, 2019, and 2020, the name Jakob/Jacob has declined in popularity a little in recent years, perhaps because of parents wanting something different.

In 2023, Jakob/Jacob was chosen for 338 boys, making it the eighth most popular boys name.

Jakob is a traditional Norwegian name that was very popular at the end of the 19th century. It declined in usage around the 1950s but picked up again just before the turn of the century.

Popular boys names

“It is very common for there to be around 100 years between periods when a name is popular. It may be because many people draw inspiration from the family tree, without having direct associations with the name,” said Sønstebø.

Other popular names making up the top 10 for baby boy names were Oskar/Oscar (335), and Theodor/Teodor (332).

Theodor featured in the top list for the first time in 2019, and returned once again in 2022. The traditional name was popular in the 19th century but has made a recent comeback.

Making up the top 20 for baby boy names were: William (328), Johannes (311), Filip/Philip/Phillip/Fillip (307), Ludvig/Ludvig/Ludvik/Ludwig (306), Liam (304), Magnus (285), Henrik (277), Mohammad and six spelling variants (274), Olav (270), and Aksel/Aksel/Axel (268).

Inspired by athletics?

The Ingebrigtsen brothers are some of the most famous faces in Norwegian sport, even before Jakob's gold medal win at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

Is it just chance that the names of all three sporty brothers–Filip, Henrik, Jakob–all have popular names? All three are in the top 20.

However, the popularity has actually slipped from year-to-year. “I can at least say that winning Olympic gold does not help in the name statistics,” said SSB senior advisor Anders Sønstebø to NRK.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen at a Diamond League 2023 athletics event in France. Photo: Victor Velter / Shutterstock.com.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen at a Diamond League 2023 athletics event in France. Photo: Victor Velter / Shutterstock.com.

For those of you wondering about unusual names, check out our article on banned names in Norway.

Regional differences in baby names

Dig a little deeper into the statistics and you'll see some interesting trends across the country.

Mohammed (and its various spellings) is the most popular male name for Oslo babies, reflecting the ethnic diversity in the Norwegian capital. Taken nationally, Mohammed and its various spellings is down in 18th place, chosen by 274 parents, a significant increase in recent years.

Although Noah and Jakob/Jacob are the most common boys name across Norway, Emil tops the list in five counties: Innlandet, Rogaland, Vestfold og Telemark, Vestland, and Trøndelag.

Despite its general popularity, Nora is only the third most popular name for newborn girls in Oslo, behind Sofia and Hedvig. Other notable regional favourites include Aurora and Selma, both topping the lists in Innlandet and Trøndelag, respectively.

Should you choose a Norwegian baby name?

Choosing a Norwegian baby name can be a beautiful nod to the rich culture and beautiful landscapes of Norway. These names often carry deep meanings, rooted in nature, mythology, and the enduring strength of the Viking spirit.

Opting for a Norwegian name can connect a child to a legacy of exploration, resilience, and respect for the natural world. However, it's important to consider the ease of pronunciation and cultural significance in your own context.

A Norwegian name can be a unique and meaningful choice, fostering a sense of individuality and a connection to a storied heritage that spans the majestic fjords and the northern lights.

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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8 thoughts on “The Most Popular Norwegian Baby Names in 2023”

  1. Interesting in that here in the U. S. My nephew named his young son Magnus in combination with a very Norwegian last name. And the country abounds with”Eric’s” of everything spelling combined with last names of what seem to reflect all nationalities. So let’s hear it for the new Ragnar in Norway.

    • I want to give Ragnar as middle name to my baby. But then I’m thinking, will it make People laugh, exposing his mom as a sucker for Vikings tv series 😆
      My older son is Espen, just because I used to live in Norway and admired the country and its people. So I want to give Norwegian name to my new offspring to keep it consistent.

  2. All the variations of Philip are listed together, but William and Liam are not despite them being related to each other… Why is that?


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