Scandinavian migration to Britain

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Scandinavian migration to Britain is a phenomenon that has occurred at different periods over the past 1,200 years. Over the last couple of centuries, there has been regular migration from Scandinavia to Great Britain, from families looking to settle, businesspeople, academics to migrant workers, particularly those in the oil industry.

Scandinavian ancestry of British peoples[edit]

A study into the Scandinavian ancestry of British peoples found that there is evidence of particular concentrations in the Isle of Man, Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles, Skye and the western Highlands in Scotland; and the Wirral, West Lancashire, Cumbria, Yorkshire and East Anglia in England.[1][2][3][4]

Contemporary migration[edit]

The 2001 UK Census recorded 22,525 people born in Sweden, 18,695 in Denmark, 13,798 in Norway, 11,322 in Finland and 1,552 in Iceland.[5]

In more recent estimates by the Office for National Statistics, Sweden was the only Scandinavian country to feature in the top 60 foreign countries of birth of UK residents in 2013, with an estimated 27,000 people.[6]

Notable individuals[edit]

The table below includes Britons with significant recent Nordic ancestry.

Name Image (If available) Ancestry Occupation
Jacob Aagaard Jacob Aagaard Denmark Danish born Scottish Grandmaster of Chess
Alexandra of Denmark Alexandra of Denmark Denmark Queen of the United Kingdom, consort of Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India
Sir Ove Arup Denmark English engineer, founder of Arup
Roald Dahl Roal Dahl Norway author
Sophie Dahl Norway fashion model and granddaughter of Roald Dahl
Camilla Dallerup Denmark ballroom dancer, a former professional on BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing
Britt Ekland Britt Ekland Sweden actress and Bond Girl
Johan Eliasch Sweden UK-based businessman,chairman & CEO of sporting goods manufacturer Head and Party deputy treasurer of the Conservative Party
Mariella Frostrup Norway journalist and radio and television presenter
Charles Hambro Denmark banker and politician, part of the Hambros Banking dynasty
Gustav Holst Gustav Holstl Sweden English composer and was a music teacher best known for his orchestral suite The Planets
Ashley Jensen Ashley Jensenl Denmark Scottish actress
Ulrika Jonsson Sweden television personality
Magnus Lund Magnus Lundl Norway English rugby union player
Magnus Magnusson Iceland television presenter, notably for the BBC's Mastermind & novelist
Sally Magnusson Iceland news presenter and daughter of Magnus Magnusson
Rosita Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough Sweden artist and noblewoman
Jan Mølby Jan Molby.jpg Denmark former professional footballer who spent much of his career at Liverpool F.C.
Kirsten O'Brien Kirsten O'Brien 1.jpg Norway TV presenter
Hans Rausing Rausing256 148782a.jpg Sweden billionaire heir to the Tetra Pak/Tetra Laval dynasty
Christian Salvesen Norway shipowner and businessman
Edward Theodore Salvesen Norway Scottish lawyer, politician and judge
Peter Schmeichel Peter Schmeichel 2012-01-25 001.jpg Denmark former Manchester United goalkeeper and whose son Kasper spent his childhood in Manchester
Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, 12th Earl of Shaftesbury NickLibrary.jpg Sweden peer and runner
Steve Simonsen Denmark English goalkeeper
Rupert Svendsen-Cook Norway English Formula BMW UK race car driver
Sandi Toksvig Sandi Toksvig in 2009.jpg Denmark comedian
Christian Wolmar Christian wolmar.jpg Sweden journalist, author, and railway historian
Patrick Wymark Finland English actor
Mai Zetterling Sweden actress

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Excavating Past Population Structures by Surname-Based Sampling: The Genetic Legacy of the Vikings in Northwest England
  2. ^ Goodacre, S; Helgason, A; Nicholson, J; Southam, L; Ferguson, L; Hickey, E; Vega, E; Stefánsson, K; Ward, R; Sykes, B (2005). "Genetic evidence for a family-based Scandinavian settlement of Shetland and Orkney during the Viking periods". Heredity. 95 (2): 129–135. doi:10.1038/sj.hdy.6800661. PMID 15815712.
  3. ^ "Gene geography: Do you have Viking ancestry in your DNA?". Wellcome Trust. 2004. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  4. ^ Branagan, Mark (30 January 2009). "'Time team' to seek out genetic secrets of Yorkshire's Viking past". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  5. ^ "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Estimated overseas-born population resident in the United Kingdom by sex, by country of birth (Table 1.4)". Office for National Statistics. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2015. Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95 per cent confidence intervals.