50 Most Common Danish Last Names and Their Meanings

Jensen, Nielsen, Hansen, Pedersen, Andersen... Are you one of the millions of people sporting one of these top common last names from Denmark? The following list of the most commonly occurring Danish surnames includes details on each last name's origin and meaning. It's interesting to note that about 4.6% of all Danes living in Denmark today have the Jensen surname and about 1/3 of the entire population of Denmark carries one of the top 15 surnames from this list.

The majority of Danish last names are based on patronymics, so the first surname on the list that doesn't end in -sen (son of) is Møller, all the way down at #19. Those which aren't patronymics derive mainly from nicknames, geographic features, or occupations.

These common Danish last names are the most popular surnames in use in Denmark today, from a list compiled annually by Danmarks Statistik from the Central Person Register (CPR). Population numbers come from statistics published 1 January 2015.

01
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JENSEN

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Population: 258,203
Jensen is a patronymic surname literally meaning "son of Jens." Jensen is a short form of the Old French Jehan, one of several variations of Johannes or John.

02
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Getty / Caiaimage / Robert Daly

Population: 258,195
A patronymic surname meaning "son of Niels." The given name Niels is the Danish version of the Greek given name Νικόλαος (Nikolaos), or Nicholas, meaning "victory of the people." More »

03
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Getty / Brandon Tabiolo

Population: 216,007

This patronymic surname of Danish, Norwegian and Dutch origin means "son of Hans." The given name Hans is a German, Dutch and Scandinavian short form of Johannes, meaning "gift of God." More »

04
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PEDERSEN

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Population: 162,865
A Danish and Norwegian patronymic surname meaning "son of Peder." The given name Peter means "stone or rock." See also the surname PETERSEN/PETERSON.

05
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Population: 159,085
A Danish or Norwegian patronymic surname meaning "son of Anders," a given name which derives from the Greek name Ανδρέας (Andreas), similar to the English name Andrew, meaning "manly, masculine." More »

06
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Population: 119,161
Yet another name of Danish or Norwegian origin based on patronymics, Christensen literally means "son of Christen," a common Danish variant of the given name Christian. More »

07
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LARSEN

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Population: 115,883
A Danish and Norwegian patronymic surname meaning "son of Lars," a short form of the given name Laurentius, meaning "crowned with laurel."

08
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SØRENSEN

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Population: 110,951
This Scandinavian surname of Danish and Norwegian origin means "son of Soren," a given name derived from the Latin name Severus, meaning "stern."

09
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Getty Images News

Population: 94,535
Also of Danish and Norwegian origin, the common last name Rasmussen or Rasmusen is a patronymic name meaning "son of Rasmus," short for "Erasmus." More »

10
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Getty / Cultura RM Exclusive / Flynn Larsen

Population: 88,269
A name of Danish, Norwegian and German origin (Jörgensen), this common patronymic surname means "son of Jørgen," a Danish version of the Greek Γεώργιος (Geōrgios), or English name George, meaning "farmer or earth worker." More »

11
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PETERSEN

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Population: 80,323
With the "t" spelling, the last name Petersen may be of Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, or North German origin. It's a patronymic surname meaning "son of Peter." See also PEDERSEN.

12
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MADSEN

Population: 64,215
A patronymic surname of Danish and Norwegian origin, meaning "son of Mads," a Danish pet form of the given name Mathias, or Matthew.

13
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KRISTENSEN

Population: 60.595
This variant spelling of the common Danish surname CHRISTENSEN,is  a patronymic name meaning "son of Kristen."

14
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OLSEN

Population: 48,126
This common patronymic name of Danish and Norwegian origin translates as "son of Ole," from the given names Ole, Olaf, or Olav.

15
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THOMSEN

Population: 39,223
A Danish patronymic surname meaning "son of Tom" or "son of Thomas," a given name derived from the Aramaic תום or Tôm, meaning "twin."

16
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CHRISTIANSEN

Population: 36,997
A patronymic surname of Danish and Norwegian origin, meaning "son of Christian." While it is the 16th most common surname in Denmark, it is shared by less than 1% of the population.

17
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POULSEN

Population: 32,095
A Danish patronymic surname that literally translates as "son of Poul," a Danish version of the given name Paul. Sometimes seen spelled as Paulsen, but much less common.

18
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JOHANSEN

Population: 31,151
Another one of the surnames that derives from a variant of John, meaning "gift of God, this patronymic surname of Danish and Norwegian origin translates directly as "son of Johan."

19
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MØLLER

Population: 30,157
The most common Danish surname that is not derived from patronymics, the Danish Møller is an occupational name for "miller." See also MILLER and ÖLLER.

20
of 50

MORTENSEN

Population: 29,401
A Danish and Norwegian patronymic surname meaning "son of Morten."

21
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KNUDSEN

 Population: 29,283
This patronymic surname of Danish, Norwegian, and German origin means "son of Knud," a given name which derives from the Old Norse knútr meaning "knot."

22
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JAKOBSEN

Population: 28,163
A Danish and Norwegian patronymic surname which translates as "son of Jacob." The "k" spelling of this surname is very slightly more common in Denmark.

23
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JACOBSEN

 Population: 24,414
A variant spelling of JAKOBSEN (#22). The "c" spelling is more common than the "k" in Norway and other parts of the world.

24
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MIKKELSEN

 Population: 22,708
"Son of Mikkel," or Michael, is the translation of this common surname of Danish and Norwegian origin.

25
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OLESEN

Population: 22,535 
A variant spelling of OLSEN (#14), this surname also means "son of Ole."

26
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FREDERIKSEN

Population: 20,235
A Danish patronymic surname meaning "son of Frederik." The Norwegian version of this last name is usually spelled FREDRIKSEN (without the "e"), while the common Swedish variant is FREDRIKSSON. 

27
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LAURSEN

 Population: 18,311
A variation on LARSEN (#7), this Danish and Norwegian patronymic last name translates as "son of Laurs."

28
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HENRIKSEN

Population: 17,404
Son of Henrik. A Danish and Norwegian patronymic surname derived from the given name, Henrik, a variant of Henry.

29
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LUND

 Population: 17,268
A common topographic surname of primarily Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and English origins for someone who lived by a grove. From the word lund, meaning "grove," derived from the Old Norse lundr.

30
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HOLM

Population: 15,846
Holm is most often a topographic last name of Northern English and Scandinavian origins meaning "small island," from the Old Norse word holmr.

31
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 Population: 15,813
A Danish and German occupational surname for blacksmith or metal worker. See also the English surname SMITH. More »

32
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 Population: 14,928
A Norwegian or Danish patronymic name from the personal or first name Erik, derived from the Old Norse Eiríkr, meaning "eternal ruler." More »

33
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KRISTIANSEN

 Population: 13,933
A patronymic surname of Danish and Norwegian origin, meaning "son of Kristian." 

34
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SIMONSEN

Population: 13,165
"Son of Simon," from the suffix -sen, meaning "son of" and the given name Simon, meaning "hearkening or listening."This last name may be of North German, Danish or Norwegian origin. 

35
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CLAUSEN

Population: 12,977 
This Danish patronymic surname literally means "child of Claus." The given name Claus is a German form of the Greek Νικόλαος (Nikolaos), or Nicholas, meaning "victory of the people."

36
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SVENDSEN

Population: 11,686
This Danish and Norwegian patronymic name means "son of Sven," a given name derived from the Old Norse Sveinn, originally a meaning "boy" or "servant."

37
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ANDREASEN

Population: 11,636 
"Son of Andreas," derived from the given name Andreas or Andrew, meaning "manly" or "masculine. Of Danish, Norwegian and North German origin.

38
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IVERSEN

Population: 10,564 
This Norwegian and Danish patronymic surname meaning "son of Iver" derives from the given name Iver, meaning "archer."

39
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ØSTERGAARD

Population: 10,468
This Danish habitational or topographical surname means "east of the farm" from the Danish øster, meaning "eastern" and gård, meaning farmstead."

40
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JEPPESEN

Population: 9,874
A Danish patronymic surname meaning "son of Jeppe," from the personal name Jeppe, a Danish form of Jacob, meaning "supplanter."

41
of 50

VESTERGAARD

Population: 9,428 
This Danish topographical surname means "west of the farm," from the Danish vester, meaning "western" and gård, meaning farmstead."

42
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NISSEN

 Population: 9,231
A Danish patronymic surname which translates as "son of Nis," a Danish short form of the given name Nicholas, meaning "victory of the people."

43
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LAURIDSEN

Population: 9,202
A Norwegian and Danish patronymic surname meaning "son of Laurids," a Danish form of Laurentius, or Lawrence, meaning "from Laurentum" (a city near Rome) or "laurelled."

44
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KJÆR

Population: 9,086
A topographical surname of Danish origin, meaning "carr" or "fen," marshy areas of low, wet land.

45
of 50

JESPERSEN

 Population: 8,944
A Danish and North German patronymic surname from the given name Jesper, a Danish form of Jasper or Kasper, meaning "keeper of treasure."

46
of 50

MOGENSEN

 Population: 8,867
This Danish and Norwegian patronymic name means "son of Mogens," a Danish form of the given name Magnus meaning "great."

47
of 50

NORGAARD

Population: 8,831 
A Danish habitational surname meaning "north farm," from nord or "north" and gård or "farm."

48
of 50

JEPSEN

 Population: 8,590
A Danish patronymic surname meaning "son of Jep," a Danish form of the personal name Jacob, meaning "supplanter."

49
of 50

FRANDSEN

 Population: 8,502
A Danish patronymic surname meaning "son of Frands," a Danish variant of the personal name Frans or Franz. From the Latin Franciscus, or Francis, which means "Frenchman."

50
of 50

SØNDERGAARD

 Population: 8,023
A habitational surname meaning "southern farm," from the Danish sønder or "southern" and gård or "farm."