Icelandic names (2)

Some time ago, I wrote about an Icelandic  girl who was unable to officially have the name her mother chose for her because it was not on ‘the list’. Luckily, sense seems to have prevailed, and she is no longer known as Girl Bjarkardottir, but by her real name Blaer:

A 15-year-old Icelandic girl has won the right to use the name given her by her mother, after a court battle against the authorities. Blaer Bjarkardottir will now be able to use her first name, which means “light breeze”, officially. Icelandic authorities had objected, saying it was not a proper feminine name. The country has very strict laws on names which must fit Icelandic grammar and pronunciation rules.

“I’m very happy,” Blaer said after the ruling. “I’m glad this is over. Now I expect I’ll have to get new identity papers. Finally, I’ll have the name Blaer in my passport.”

Reykjavik District Court’s decision overturns an earlier rejection of the name by Icelandic authorities. Until now, Blaer Bjarkardottir had been identified simply as “Girl” in communications with officials. Like Germany and Denmark, Iceland has rigid limitations about how a baby can be named. The names like Carolina and Christa, for example, are not allowed because the letter “c” is not part of Iceland’s alphabet. Names cannot be unisex either.

Blaer’s mother, Bjork Eidsdottir, has said that she had no idea that Blaer was not on the list of accepted female names when she gave it to her daughter. The panel rejected the name because they said it was too masculine for a girl. There are some 1,853 approved female names on the Icelandic Naming Committee’s list.

It was not immediately clear whether the government would appeal the district court’s decision to the Supreme Court.


  1. jena

    Interesting that these Scandi countries which I think of as very forward-thinking are pretty fascistic about what you can name your child! There’s a fine line between valuing conformity and being a control freak 😉 Crazy! Hooray for these women who prevailed!


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