Finland relaxes given name laws

Finnish names in the late 1800s. Image: Severin Falkman (1880) / Museovirasto, Musketti / Yle

Finland will update name laws at the start of 2019 to provide residents with a wider range of options for their own names as well as their children’s. The new laws will create more space for foreign-background names and families. First names will no longer have to conform to Finnish tradition. That said, many foreign-background names that have become widespread as a result of immigration already comply with Finnish naming practice.

But civil servants will still regulate name-giving in Finland to some degree. Last year, the names committee maintained by the Ministry of Justice nixed parents’ plans to name baby boys Alcapone, Enikko, Monck, Weicca, and Topelius. Officials also shut down Poon, Wolf, Fafnir, Marj-Linn, Paulii, and Tuhka (’ash’) for girls.