The names Lappkärret and Lappkärrsberget in Norra Djurgården from a topographical and geographical point of view

By Clas Tollin

In: Ortnamnssällskapets i Uppsala årsskrift 2021


Lappkärret and Stora and Lilla Lappkärrsberget are on the Stockholm University campus in the Norra Djurgården district of Stockholm. Earlier interpreters have for the most part offered two different explanations for the first element of these names, Lapp-. Either it refers to varglappar, literally ‘wolf rags’ – painted pieces of cloth once used to scare and chase wolves in hunting – or else it represents the ethnic designation lapp ‘Lapp, Sami’. On the basis of old maps and other sources, the present author questions both these interpretations. There is no support for the hypothesis that there were lappar ‘Sami’ in this location as early as when the name was first documented, nor, the author argues, do wolf hunting at Lappkärret and the establishment of the ‘northern deer park’ (norra djurgården) in Stockholm coincide in time. He interprets the names, rather, as containing the word lapp, as in papperslapp ‘scrap of paper’, tyglapp ‘snippet of cloth’ or åkerlapp ‘patch of arable land’, referring to a small, undistinguished feature in the terrain. He offers a number of examples of formations containing lapp(en), either as a simplex name or as the first or final element of nature and field names referring to a variety of features: islets, bodies of water, meadows etc.