Naming Twin BoysWe have an update! Please scroll to the bottom to learn the names Renee and her husband chose for their new sons.

Renee writes:

My husband and I are expecting twin boys sometime in the next week or two! We have had a terrible time agreeing on names. My husband is very into Scandinavian names, and has some good ones in his family tree. His favorites include:

  • Soren – I like Soren, and that is probably our best common ground right now.
  • Axel – I know it is popular, but I find to be a bit harsh.
  • Lars – A little too eccentric for me.
  • Sven – Same as Lars.
  • Magnus – OK, but our last name starts with an M.
  • Jasper – Adorable, but our last name ends in -er. Is it terrible to have first and last names ending in -er?

There are some names and combos that I love that my husband has vetoed:

  • Griffin and Grant (Grant is hubby’s middle name)
  • Grant and Garrison (hubby is a big Prairie Home Companion fan, but doesn’t like 3-syllable names)
  • Felix, Oscar – both vetoed without explanation
  • Noah, Isaac – vetoed for being too common

We have a daughter named Sena, a name from my husband’s Danish family who came to the US several generations back.

Read on for my response, and please leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.

Hi Renee –

Congratulations on your new additions! Here’s hoping we can complete this #namehelp post before the big day!

Let’s start with a few observations:

  • You seem committed to the Scandi style, and preferably to nickname-proof names that aren’t too common. That’s a pretty solid starting point, and yet it doesn’t necessarily help if you can’t find names you love!
  • Unless something changes dramatically, I think you ought to call one of your sons Soren. You basically agree on the name, and it fits your criteria.
  • And yet, I find myself wondering if your husband’s preferences are too dominant. It sounds like names that don’t fit the Scandinavian heritage choice mold have all been vetoed. And yet, looking at the most popular names in Scandinavian countries today, they’re not necessarily what you’d expect. Hugo and Leo are big in Sweden; Felix is pretty popular in Denmark. There’s something to be said for not sticking too closely to a theme when it no longer works for your family.
  • Another thought: while there are tons of fabulous Scandinavian names, not all of them import smoothly. Ingvar is incredibly cool, but not terribly accessible in the US.
  • Aliteration can work nicely with names, but if you’re not crazy about a kiddo with the initials MM, then feel free to cross Magnus off your list.
  • Lastly, the question of an -er first with an -er last comes down mostly to personal preference. I often don’t mind it on principle, but I do find many combinations difficult to say. Hunter Tyler, Asher Carter, Parker Taylor. Interestingly, though, Jasper M-er seems more workable than other pairings. Still, I’d put it towards the bottom of your list – for now.

Assuming one son is named Soren, I like the idea of these names for his brother:

Carsten – A Danish and German form of Christian, Carsten fits right in with popular names like Carter and Carson, but remains much rarer.

Hugo – It doesn’t feel Scandinavian, but it is used throughout the region today. And ‘o’ ending names work well with your surname. Soren and Hugo are both relatively uncommon in the US today.

Kennet – I found Kennet listed as a Nordic form of Kenneth. Today, it looks like Kennet is slightly dated in Scandinavia. But in the US, it would fit right in with Bennett and Beckett and Elliot.

Niels – As in Niels Bohr. Downside: it would be misheard as Neil/Neal pretty much all the time. Upsides: the ‘s’ ending works well with your surname, and Niels Bohr seems like a pretty cool namesake. Though I’m not sure how you feel about explaining your son’s name that way. “No, not Neil Armstrong/Young, like Niels Bohr. With an ‘s’.”

Stefan – All three of your children would have S names, and yet I kind of like Sena, Soren, and Stefan together. Stefan feels more generically European than Scandinavian, though it most certainly is used in Denmark and such.

Torsten – A cool name with an undeniably Nordic vibe – but it’s awfully close to Soren, isn’t it? Maybe only if Soren ends up out of the running …

I’m also tempted to suggest Leif and Rune. They feel specifically Scandi, but work well in American English. Because most names on your list are a little longer, though, I’m not sure if single-syllable boy names are out of consideration.

Overall, though, I’m most attracted to names like Hugo, Felix, and Griffin – names that aren’t purely Scandinavian in background, but would wear well in their company. Hugo is, hands-down, my favorite. I particularly like that Hugo and Soren both share a letter o, which seems like a subtle link between the two names, and the fact that Hugo is popular in Nordic countries today, without being as obvious a heritage choice as Axel or Sven.

Renee writes: Our boys are here and we named them Soren and Oscar! We love where we landed and think they’re perfect for our little guys. (I put Oscar back on the table and my husband liked it that time). Interesting that several readers suggested Oscar.

Congratulations to the family – what great names for brothers!

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. I really like the name Hollace, classy and strong name. Holden is a pretty solid name also in my opinion. God speed to your sweet family!

  2. I agree with several other posters. Soren & Ansel are GREAT! And Ansel Adams is quite a cool namesake.

    Otherwise, I like Karl. He’s got Nordic chops.

    Best wishes!!

  3. I LOVE Emil. Sigh. Love it. Soren and Emil. Sounds perfect to me.

    I also think Lars is a solid name that isn’t too out there.

    As for Jasper, I think it would depend on what your last name is. I’ve said Jasper with as many last names ending in -er as I can think of… I think as long as your last name doesn’t have a dominant S or P sound in it then you should be fine with the repeat ending. Although Jasper isn’t an overly long name, there are so many dominant sounds, that I think it sort of breaks up the duplicate ending. Just my thoughts anyways. Soren and Jasper are an interesting pair to me, so I like it!!

    I also kind of like Sven. Especially with Soren and Sena.

    Good luck!