Hans and Heidi no more!

**I still have more to tell you about Madeira, but I haven’t had time to write a post yetand I have Banoffee Pie to make today. This was in my drafts sooo… have a change of subject. Doors of Funchal old town and a post on the New Year’s fireworks coming soon, promise!**

I’ve always been interested in names… naming patterns through the ages, regional differences in naming children (even within the same country), the meanings of names, people’s reasons for choosing their children’s names… it’s all fascinating to me! So when the news show that Jan was watching just after New Year mentioned the Germany’s most popular baby names of 2013 I immediately sat up and took notice – and a good job, too, as it turned out. It came up as a question in the pub quiz last week! The day before said pub quiz, I happened to come across an article (this one here, actually. Note: It’s in German) that talked about the top baby names for 2013 in each of Germany’s Federal states. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who finds this stuff interesting, so I wanted to share what I’d learned with all you readers as well.
So, what were the most popular baby names given in Germany in 2013? Well, the top girl’s and boy’s name in 2013 were the same as in 2012, namely (ha, geddit?):

Ben and Mia

In most of Germany’s states, the top names were exactly the same as those for Germany as a whole, Ben and Mia. But in a few states there were slight differences. There were four states that differed from the rest of Germany: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Ben and Emma), Hamburg (Paul and Emma), Berlin (Felix and Mia) and finally Bavaria, which, according to the researcher, always has its own top names that are different to the rest. 2013 was no exception… the top names for last year in Bavaria were Maximilian and Sophia/Sofie. For my own Bundesland, Baden-Württemberg, Mia and Ben were top, followed by Emma and Luca/Luka in second place.  Sophia/Sofie and Lucas/Lukas came in third.

Ben was the number one name for German boys for the third time in 2013, while Mia has been the top girl’s name in Germany since 2009! It seems once a trend takes hold, it’s rather reluctant to go away again… which probably explains why there were so many Sarahs and Jennifers around my age at school!

And now, just because it was so fun, here are the top names in a few other countries. Where I couldn’t find statistics for 2013, I’ve taken the top names from 2012 instead:

Austria (2012): Anna and Lukas
Switzerland (2012): Mia and Noah
Liechtenstein: Anna and Luka/Luca
Netherlands (2012): Emma and Daan
Finland (2012): Ella and Onni
Sweden (2012): Alice and William
Norway (2012): Nora/Norah and Lukas/Lucas
Iceland: Emilía/Emelía (joint first with Katrín) and Aron
Estonia (2012): Sofia and Rasmus
Latvia (2012): Sofija and Roberts
Spain (2012): Lucía and Daniel
Peru (2012): María and Luis
Puerto Rico (2012): Mia and Sebastian
Northern Ireland (2013): Grace and Jack
Republic of Ireland (2012): Emily and Jack
England and Wales (2012): Amelia and Harry
Scotland (2013): Sophie and Jack
Canada (2013): Emma and Liam
USA (2012): Sophia and Jacob
New Zealand: Olivia and Jack

I’ve tried to arrange them roughly into language groups, but actually what I find most interesting is the similarities between completely different countries, for example Emma is top in both the Netherlands and Canada while Mia beats all the other girls in Germany and Puerto Rico! No more Hans and Heidi for the Germans (not that I believe Germans were ever predominantly called those names… but they were the most stereotypical I could think of 😉 )

As for my own name… Beverley has never featured in even the top ten of any ranking that I’m aware of… and to be honest, I’m glad! Although I did get annoyed as a kid when nothing came with my name on it…. ever!

* Most of my statistics came from Wikipedia, but a few came from the German website Beliebte Vornamen.


27 thoughts on “Hans and Heidi no more!

  1. I am fascinated by these things as well and will usually click through when I see an article mentioning top baby names. Here in the States it seems more classic (old-fashioned) names are making a come back. 🙂

    1. It’s the same in the UK… Amelia is quite traditional and about 3-4 years ago Ruby was incredibly popular – previously the only Ruby I knew was the old lady next door to my dad!

    1. Yep. ALthough the was a theory in one of the articles I read that all the German Bens are after Ben Affleck and the Emmas are because of Emma Watson! Still better than being named after Beyonce 😉

      In the 90s, Kevin was really popular in German because of the Home Alone films!!

  2. Interesting to see how much was shared around the world!

    I feel your pain though — as a kid there was never ANYTHING with the name “Polly” on it. Struggles…

    1. In the rare cases that somewhere DID have my name, it was spelled the American way (without the third e). In BRITAIN, where the name is actually from, they spelled it the American way!!

    1. I think Iceland only has a limited number of names to choose from though? From what I’ve heard, their even stricter than Germany! (The law here is it must definitely be a name, if the first name is not clearly male or female you have to add a second name that clearly shows the gender and it can’t be “harmful” to the child)

    1. I know somone who has Hans as the first part of a hyphenated name, and a Johannes who everybody calls Hannes.

      If I based it purely on the names of people I know, most German males are called Patrick or Christian and the girls are Katharina, Julia and Anna!

  3. This is super interesting to read! I always feel like every guy in German is either named Felix or Daniel and I like to tell people this. I also feel like I know a lot of Marvins and Sebastian’s for some reason. Oh and how could I forget Jan’s 😉

    1. I know one Daniel and a couple of Sebastians, but mostly I feel like German guys are all called Christian and Patrick. And all the girld are Katharina or Julia!

      At the school I taught at, there was one class where all the boys had names that were variants on a Jan/Johann/Johannes/Jannis theme. It was so confusing!

  4. Such a fascinating list! Truly amazing how many similarities there are from country to country — really seems to point to globalization or whatever you wish to call it. I do find it sad, as each language has so many unique names that seem to be getting lost in the shuffle.

    1. I think the more unique names are still there… just not at the top of the list. Till is 46th on the list… definitely not a name in English-speaking countries!

      I think people travel so much now that they want to give their kids names that will be understood everywhere, especially if they have a very German (or Finnish or whatever) name themselves and have had trouble getting people to understand it abroad.

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