Thanks to plenty of hygge, Denmark consistently ranks as one of the "happiest countries in the world," boasting a high standard of living and excellence in education, health care and human development. Danish, the official language of Denmark, is well-represented on the birth certificates of its citizens. That's most likely because the nation's Law on Personal Names limits parents to a list of about 7,000 names.
Danish spædbarn names must be gender-specific. They cannot be "unusual," nor can they be surnames. For names not on the approved list, parents must obtain approval from their local church, which is then followed by a review by government officials.
Fortunately, the names that are on Denmark's list are lovely — even if they are notoriously difficult (for us Americans) to pronounce!
How many famous female Danes do you know? Probably more than you thought: actress Brigitte Nielsen, model Helena Christensen, tennis champ Caroline Wozniacki, ballroom dancer Camilla Dallerup, fashion designer Anine Bing, and Lili Elbe, the subject of the film The Danish Girl, and one of the first recipients of gender-reassignment surgery.
Notable Danish men include Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, scientist Hans Christian Ørsted, runner Gunnar Nielsen, actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and writer Hans Christian Andersen and actor Viggo Mortensen.
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