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From London to Cairo, place names are quite stylish, indeed.  Here’s another in that category, one rarer – and yet maybe more name-like, too.

Thanks to The Mrs. for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day: Dalarna.

Dalarna: Welcome to Sweden

Dalarna is in Sweden, a province smack in the middle of the skinny country.  Norway borders Dalarna on the west.  While the boundaries have shifted over the centuries, the historical area is roughly the same as the modern-day administrative unit, Dalarnas Iän.

The name’s origin is straightforward: it refers to the dales, or valleys, of which there are many in the region.

And while it didn’t ring any bells, once I started reading about Dalarna, I realized that most of us will recognize its familiar symbols – like the one above, the Dala horse.  If you’ve been to Ikea or flipped through a Hanna Andersson catalog, you’ve probably got some idea of the vibe.

Dalarna: As a Given Name

So maybe that makes Dalarna a great place to visit, but what suggests Dalarna could be a given name?

There’s an ever-so-lovely model named Dalarna Lundvall – usually known professionally by just her first.  Her surname is as Swedish as a meatball, but I couldn’t discover where she was born.

Because Dalarna just isn’t a given name in Sweden.  Not ever, as far as I can tell.

Unless you happen to meet the model, there’s little chance of running into a Dalarna in the US, either.

The name is rare – it isn’t recorded by the Social Security Administration.  This means that there’s never been a single year when five or more children were given the name.

Dalarna: Undiscovered Possibility

And yet, Dalarna has potential:

  • It’s been a title for members of the Swedish royal family – Duke of Dalarna.  Plenty of surnames and place names associated with titles have filtered into general use.  Think of Clarence, Lennox, and Kent.
  • Dalarna sounds like a girl’s name, a sister for Veronica, an alternative to Delilah or Danica.
  • Place names like Brooklyn and London are in the US Top 100 for girls.  Explaining that you were named Cairo or Odessa or Macon or Dalarna after the place seems perfectly reasonable in 2014.
  • Savannah Guthrie’s new daughter is named Vale – same meaning, more or less, as Dalarna.
  • Here’s my favorite part – Elea of British Baby Names recently identified the trend for Dolly names in the UK.  Dolly, Dahlia, Dalarna …

And sure enough, the 1940s US Census turns up a very small number of women with the first or middle name Dalarna.  I counted fewer than a dozen – but that’s enough to suggest that Dalarna is a possibility waiting on some family trees.

If you’re looking for a Swedish heritage choice less expected than Ingrid, Dalarna could be one to consider.

What do you think of Dalarna?  Is this one wearable in the US in 2014?

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. My birth name is Dalarna. It was always peculiar as a child and no one can pronounce it correctly. It is kinda fun knowing there aren’t many of us with this name.

  2. There’s a Dalarna Way and Dalarna Court in my town; I had never wondered about the name but there is a strong Swedish heritage here. Dalarna nn Dolly or even Dala would be cute.

  3. Oh, yea!!
    It feels somehow Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe or Tolkien to me. Clunky but cool. What a treat to find out that it’s has Scandinavian charm!
    Thank you for writing on this name, Abby!