Naming Laws

Here in the UK you can almost name your baby anything (within reason), but did you know that some countries around the world have laws regarding the naming of new born babies. That’s why this Funny Law Friday we are taking a look at 4 countries with strict and interesting naming laws.


Germany is a very practical and forward thinking country, this also shows in their baby naming laws. When naming your child in Germany you must be able to tell the gender of the child by their first name, and then the name must also not have a negative effect on the wellbeing of the child. The First name must also not be a last name, an object or a product. The name you choose has to be approved by the Standesamt (German civil registration office). If the office rejects your chosen name you can appeal the decision. But if you lose the appeal a new will have to be chosen. Each time you submit a name you pay a fee, so it can get costly.


Denmark have a very strict law in place for personal names. This is to protect children from having odd names. Denmark have a list of 7,000 pre-approved names that parents can choose from. If the parents wish to name their child something that is not on the list. They will have to get special permission from their local church, and the name is then reviewed by governmental officials. Like Germany the law states that the first name must indicate the gender of the child, also the first name must not be a last name. There are also laws in place that to protect rare Danish last names.


In Sweden first names must be reported to the Tax Agency for approval. First names will not be approved if they can cause offense or can cause discomfort. it can also be rejected if it is not suitable as a first name. In Sweden you are allowed multiple first names, but if later in life you wish to change your first name you must keep at least one of your original first names. For example, if you were called Matt and you wanted to change your name to Luke, your new name would be Luke Matt. Also you can only change your name once.


Iceland have a naming committee which decide whether a given name will be acceptable. If parents wish to choose a name that is not on the National Register of Persons, they must apply for it to be approved. For a name to be approved it must pass a few tests. It must only contain letters in the Icelandic alphabet, and must also fit grammatically with the language. Other points are: it must not embarrass the child in the future, it must be gender specific and no more than 3 personal names are allowed.

This article is intended for general information purposes only and  shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. Newnham &  Jordan Solicitors cannot accept  responsibility for  any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in  respect of this  article or any external articles it may refer or link to.



Angie Newnham
Article by Angie Newnham
Having worked for various law firms in the Bournemouth and Poole area Angie Newnham decided to set up her own business in 2010. Angie’s experience covers a range of legal disciplines including Property Law and Conveyancing, which includes both residential, commercial and agricultural work, Social Housing, Landlord & Tenant issues, Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney and a niche interest in equine law and equestrian agreements.

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