Iceland Teenager Blaer Can Keep Her Name

Iceland Teenager Blaer Can Keep Her Name

A teenager from Iceland has been told by a court she will be allowed to keep the name she was given, in spite of an official ruling.

Blaer Bjarkardottir, 15, had been told she could not officially use her name because it did not appear on Iceland's Personal Names Register, a list of 1,712 male names and 1,853 female ones.

Icelandic officials had insisted the list was kept to ensure names fitted Icelandic grammar and pronunciation rules and would stop children from being given embarrassing names.

Oddly, the name Elvis was on the list, as it conforms to Icelandic guidelines, but Cara and Carolina had been rejected because the letter C is not part of Iceland's 32-letter alphabet.

Previously, if a name was not on the list then parents could apply to a special committee for permission to use it, which would then allow the name to be used on official documents such as school registers and passports.

But in Blaer's case the committee refused. She and her mother were the first to take their case to court.

On Thursday, Blaer told the court she was very happy with her name and only had problems with it when she was dealing with state authorities who rejected it.

The court did not grant her any damages but said she would be allowed to use her name. The government did not indicate whether it would appeal against the decision to the Supreme Court.

Blaer said after the ruling: "I'm very happy. I'm glad this is over. Now I expect I'll have to get new identity papers. Finally I'll have the name Blaer in my passport."

Blaer's mother, Bjork Eidsdottir, said previously she had only learned the name was not on the register after the priest who baptised the girl later informed her he had mistakenly allowed it.

She said: "I had no idea that the name wasn't on the list, the famous list of names that you can choose from."

She had chosen the name Blaer, as it means "light breeze" in Icelandic.

The naming committee panel rejected the teenager’s application on the grounds the word Blaer is a masculine one, even though it was used for a female character in a novel by Iceland's Nobel Prize-winning author Halldor Laxness.

So instead, Blaer was officially identified as 'Stulka' which means 'girl'. It meant she carried the name 'Girl' on her passport and bank details.

A number of countries have "approved" names lists, including Germany and Denmark.

However, in the US and the UK the trend for unusual names is growing, largely driven by celebrities.

The singer Beyonce and her rapper husband Jay-Z called their child Blue Ivy. The actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her rock star husband Chris Martin called their first child Apple.