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More Danes choose new name

An increasing number of Danes are switching Hansen and Jensen for more exotic last names. This is down to a quest for individuality, says University of Copenhagen names researcher

Common Danish surnames such as Jensen, Nielsen and Hansen are increasingly switched for more something more exotic as an increasing number of Danes change their last name to stand out from the crowd.

Over 320,000 Danes have opted to make use of new laws that were introduced in 2006 making it easier for people change name.

The popular trend of changing family names is an attempt to stand out from the crowd and express individuality, says Katrine Kehlet Norskov a PhD student specialising in Danish names at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Scandinavian Research.

Standing out from the crowd

»There is a tendency to want to be called something that no one else is called,« says Norskov to the Copenhagen Post.

»You are a bit more special if your name isn’t Jensen or Hansen.«

An estimated 50,000 people will change their surnames in 2010, according to estimates from the Department of Family Affairs.

Hansen not in danger of disappearance

According to Norskov, however, it is unlikely that traditional Danish names will disappear completely.

»I don’t think we’ll see names such as Jensen and Hansen disappearing, although these names could become much rarer in the future if this trend continues,« she says.

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