Originally uploaded by torkristensen
FT.com wrote that “Mr Rasmussen resigned on Saturday and his successor, finance minister Lars Lokke [sic!] Rasmussen – the third consecutive premier with that surname – now has a tough act to follow, particularly with the economy and the minority government’s popularity hitting new lows.”
As a native speaker of Danish, I hadn’t even noticed that this is the case.
Of course I know their names – Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Lars Løkke Rasmussen – but as everybody else in Denmark I think of them as Poul Nyrup, Anders Fogh and Lars Løkke, and I find it utterly bizarre and confusing when they in English-language media are all referred to as Mr. Rasmussen.
What’s happening is that surnames ending in -sen are so common that most people who have a less common middle name use that for most purposes, especially if their first name is common (such as Poul, Anders or Lars).