Finnish Last Names – Origin and Meanings

Finnish Last Names – What does -nen mean?


Finnish last names, along with Swedish and Norwegian last names, are all part of the Scandinavian name group. Like most countries around the world, they are made up of patronymic and geographic last names.

This is where the very common -nen comes in. What does it mean, and why do so many Finnish names end in this suffix?

You might have noticed, especially once you look through the list we have compiled, but a lot of Finnish surname share the same name ending. This is because the majority of Finnish surnames are taken after place names or geographical locations. So, -nen basically indicates that the individual is from a place containing the preceding word.

For example, Virtanen is made up of the word Virta, meaning small stream, and -nen, indicating a belonging to the place. Many Finnish Last Names are closely related to nature, and this is evident in the list of name we have compiled.

Finnish Last Names Finnish Finland Flag
Finnish Last Names


30+ Most Common Finnish Last Names and Meanings

Listed below are some of the most popular Finnish surnames and their meanings. As mentioned above, you will notice that a lot of these surnames are related to nature.

Korhonen – Hard of Hearing (The direct translation or modern meaning is unknown for this very popular Finnish last name.)

Virtanen – Small stream

Ruoho – Grass

Lehtonen – Small grove or forest

Halla – Frost

Ahonen – Small glade

Kanerva – Heather

Mäkinen – Small hill

Nieminen – Small peninsula

Järvinen – Small lake

Heikkinen – Home ruler

Koskinen – Small rapids

Seppälä – Blacksmith

Hämäläinen – From Tavastia a province in Finland.

Kivi – Stone, Pebble

Laaksonen – Valley

Jokinen – River

Kokko – Eagle

Hamalainen – Someone from Hame province in Finland.

Kangas – Fabric, Cloth

Ranta – Shore

Nurmi – Field or pasture

Peura – Deer

Aalto – Wave

Vanhanen – Old

Korpela – Derived from the Finnish word Korpi, meaning a remote forest.

Lampi – Pond

Hanninen – Derived from the German personal name Johannes.

Annala – Derived from Anna.

Jarvela – Lake

Kemppainen – Warrior, Soldier


If you enjoyed reading this article, you can check out more of our articles below.

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  6. Vietnamese Last Names
  7. Pakistani Last Names
  8. Danish Last Names
  9. Romanian Last Names
  10. Brazilian Last Names

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