Nielsen remains Denmark’s most common last name

But fewer Danes have surnames ending in ‘-sen’

Connie, Brian, Brigitte, Holger K – in Denmark, forget about keeping up with the Jensens, as the Nielsens are all over the place.

In fact, as of January 1, there were exactly 249,088 Danes with Nielsen as a surname – about 1,300 more than the number of Jensens, a name dropping in popularity as many opt for double-barrel versions, or their mother’s maiden name.

Think about that for a moment. About 9 percent of the Danish population is named either Nielsen or Jensen. Throw Hansen, Pedersen and Andersen into the mix and you’ve covered a million Danes!

With 64 percent, the island of Læsø is the municipality with the highest share of people who have surnames that end in the suffix ‘-sen’. Meanwhile, Ishøj has the lowest share at 29 – a low percentage that is common in other municipalities in the western suburbs of Copenhagen.

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Ishøj takes issue
According to national statistics keeper Danmarks Statistik, the area’s high number of immigrants and their descendants are the reason for the low prevalence of surnames ending in ‘-sen’.

And actually, despite the high number of Nielsens and Jensens, fewer Danes have surnames that end in the ‘-sen’ suffix.

Over the past 25 years, the share of Danes with surnames that end in the ‘-sen’ suffix has dwindled significantly from 62 to 47 percent.

The most popular Danish surname that doesn’t end in the ‘-sen’ suffix is Møller, followed by Lund, Holm, Schmidt and Østergaard.