The Viking Age was a time of expansion when the population in Scandinavia increased rapidly. People had to find new land to feed their families. Thousands and thousands of Scandinavians left their homes to find new land and they brought their language and traditions along. Viking placenames can still be found in many countries in Europe outside Scandinavia: In France (Normandy), Russia, Ireland and especially in England and Scotland. Why not look for Viking placenames in your country or region.

Let's see what happened at the Helgi's farm situated somewhere in Norway:

Berg farm

Helgi's family had lived at the farm called Berg (rock, small mountain) for more than 200 years. Helgi now lived there with his wife and family. His sons were married and had children. They also lived there. The Longhouse was full of people and food was scarce. The eldest son would take over as head of the family and also the farm when Helgi died.


Helgi gave his second eldest son Tor, the northern part of the farm and told him to build his own farm at a large clearing in the forest there. Helgi in fact 'cut off' a part of his farm and gave it to his son. The Viking word for a part 'cut off' from a farm like this was tvedt or tveit and the local people named this new farm 'Tor's -tvedt'.

Erik's Place

One day in the Hunger month (February) Helgi said to his third son: "Erik, the family farm can no longer feed you and your family. You will have to find a place of your own". In spring Erik left the farm with his wife and children to settle in a new place. He found a good place for a farm and local people might have called it Erik's-by, or Erik's-stad, both suffixes meaning 'homestead'. The suffix -heim might also have been used for his new place. It is hard to say because fashions changed then just as they do now.

Here are some more words the Vikings often used:

bulletTorp (thorpe), a secondary settlement - outlying farm.
bulletSeter (-set), mountain pasture, shielding. (Summerset).
bulletFjell (-fell), mountain
bulletDal (-dale), valley
bulletØy (ey), island
bulletNes (ness), headland, promontory
bulletVik (wick), bay
bulletBorg (borough), castle, fortified town
bulletVåg (voe), bay
bulletGård (garth), farm
bulletSund (sound), strait(s)

Vikings settled in many places outside their own homelands and their language influenced the way in which their settlements in other lands were named.   Have a look, for example, at what happened in The Danelaw of England

More about placenames

bulletComplete listing
Byplan over Jorvik
Eboracum - Eoforwic - Jorvik - York
Eboracum - Eoforwic - Jorvik -York
England and The Danelaw
Hvor var Vinland?
Norrøne familienavn i Normandie og Yorkshire
Norrøne landskapsnavn i Danelagen
Norrøne stedsnavn i England
Norrøne stedsnavn i Russland
Place-names in The Danelaw
Scandinavian-named settlements around Jorvik
Scandinavian-named settlements around Jorvik
Skandinaviske stedsnavn i i Jorvik (York) - regionen
Stedsnavn i Danelagen
Stedsnavn med et norrønt personnavn som en del av navnet
The Viking Network: England og Danelagen
The Vikings in Normandy: Density of Scandinavian place names
The Vikings in Normandy: Place names derived from the Old Norse words for landscape features and other descriptions
The Vikings in Normandy: Place names, based on a Scandinavian personal name element
Viking Clothes
Viking place names and language in England
Viking Placenames
Viking Placenames in Ireland
Viking Placenames in Orkney
Viking Placenames in Russia
Vikingenes klær
Vikingtiden i Wales
- 14. august 2004 -