Public Opinion: Iceland teen known legally as ‘girl’ fights for right to name

REYKJAVIK, Iceland –  Call her the girl with no name.

A 15-year-old is suing the Icelandic state for the right to legally use the name given to her by her mother. The problem? Blaer, which means “light breeze” in Icelandic, is not on a list approved by the government.

Like a handful of other countries, including Germany and Denmark, Iceland has official rules about what a baby can be named. In a country comfortable with a firm state role, most people don’t question the Personal Names Register, a list of 1,712 male names and 1,853 female names that fit Icelandic grammar and pronunciation rules and that officials maintain will protect children from embarrassment. Parents can take from the list or apply to a special committee that has the power to say yea or nay.

Read more:

What do you think of this naming, um … tradition (?) that Iceland has?


  1. I didn’t know about this particularly, but I do know that Iceland does think of names different from what we’re used to. They have very few surnames, and seldom use them. We asked our guide her last name, and she was surprised to be asked. Nobody’s very concerned about it. Also, surnames vary according to gender. The daughter (Mary) of a man named Sam would be Mary Samsdottir. Sam’s son would be Joe Samsen.


  2. From a wider viewpoint, it’s probably a good idea, protecting children from some very stupid and embarrassing names. (Consider the 19th century mogul “Big Jim” Hogg, who named his daughter Ima.)

    From a personal viewpoint, I don’t see anything wrong with the name “light breeze.” Have you never heard of a girl named Zephyr?


  3. While I agree that it would help protect the child from being named something inappropriate or embarrassing, I do not agree that an unrelated person or authority should be allowed to dictate what parents may name their children.


  4. how different our country would be with that rule. No “Apple” or “Hashtag” or most of the names of hippie babies in the 60s. i think you can do that in a small sized country but not possible in a country as big and ethnically diverse as this one.


What's your answer?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s