Although the name of a city can seem innocuous, there’s always a story behind their origins. For example, Köpenhamn means “buying port,” Amsterdam is named after the dam on the Amstel, and Antwerp is a version of Hand werpen which means “throwing hand.” So what about Malmö?
There are several stories behind the name, however, the most accepted is that the name comes from Malmögahe, a composition of Malm, which means “gravel or sand” and the plural of hog, meaning “mound or hill.”
However, there is a darker origin story regarding the name. It revolves around a mill that is said to have stood on what is now the stortorget (or the “big square”). At this location according to legend, a maiden whose body was ground in the mill’s millstone. It was thought that the city was named after this event, as Mal Mö translates to the “ground-up maiden.”
Is this a true tale? Probably not, as the millstone is believed to have come from an old monastery constructed after the reformation, placed here in 1538. However, the legend could be the reason the millstone was dug into the square originally.
Know Before You Go
The millstone is right in front of the statue of Karl X.