Conflict & Justice

Iceland's Name War: Girl Sues to Use Her Given Name


The Icelandic capital, Reykjavik. (Photo:WikiCommons)

One of the great pleasures, and challenges, of becoming a parent is choosing a name. You could honor family members, or mimic celebrities. Or somehow reflect your personality.

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But there's a few countries where many of those choices are actually illegal.

A 15-year-old girl in Iceland is currently suing the government for the right to legally use the name given to her by her mother.

Her name is Blaer, which means "light breeze" in Icelandic.

But it's not on the list approved by the government.

Sveinn Gudmarsson, a reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcast Service, says the case is breaking new ground as no-one has challenged the naming board in court before.

Gudmarsson says the law came in for "nationalistic" reasons in the early 1990s, as Iceland dealt with a new phenomenon: immigration.