If you’ve ever spent any time in the Swedish university towns of Lund or Uppsala, you might have noticed the posters scattered around notifying you of various student events. To the untrained eye these might seem like any old student associations putting on events, but Lund and Uppsala Universities have a fascinating history attached to their student societies.
The student nations (in Swedish: nationer) at Lund and Uppsala Universities are the oldest student societies in Sweden.
The first nations were created in the 1600s, around the same time as the universities were formed. The nations were named after the Swedish provinces and students were required to sign up to the nation that they were from. Historically, the nations were created to provide students with a friendly space to meet others while they studied away from home.
These days the purpose of the student nations haven’t changed much, however it has been slightly updated. All students – local as well as international – are required to sign up to a nation, which are dotted around the towns, when they arrive at Lund or Uppsala. They have a selection of very different nations to choose from, all with their unique atmosphere, social flare and extracurricular activities.
When you sign up, you’re automatically given an ID card which gives you access to all the other nations and their student services. This includes lunches and brunches, pubs, quizzes, housing opportunities, formal balls, and other festivities. There are opportunities for students to get involved and volunteer at the nations but most choose to join on a casual basis.
Both universities offer a choice of 13 nations for students; Lund takes its student nation names from provinces and areas in southern Sweden, while Uppsala takes its names from all over the country. Each nation has their own personality, focus, and coat of arms.
Find out about each of the Lund and Uppsala University student nations:
Lund University’s student nations
The only student nation located in West Lund, Blekingska is known for their live events and pub nights.
Göteborgs Nation was founded in 1682 and is considered one of the oldest student nations in Lund.
Known for their weekly events, formal balls, and night clubs, Hallands Nation is popular among local and international students.
Helsingkrona has, since its start in 1890, been a social nation. They have a football club, restaurant nights, and even their own radio station!
As one of the oldest nations, Kalmar Nation was founded in 1696. The nation is considered one of the smallest in Lund, and they specialize in fun pub nights, hikes, and game nights. They have a large number of international members.
Kristianstad Nation, also known as” Krischan,” is a tightly-knit student nation. They take great pride in creating a family-like environment for their members.
This is the largest student nation at Lund University. With over 3,000 members, Lund Nation is known for throwing fun parties, brunches, and sports events.
Malmö Nation is also one of Lund’s biggest nations. It is located in the middle of Lund, close to the Botanical Gardens and a short walk from Lund Nation.
Smålands Nation, founded in 1668 when Lund University was formally opened, call themselves the unofficial haven for socialists, feminists, radical students, and outcasts.
Sydskånska (which translates to “Southern Skåne”) is one of Lund’s biggest nations. They host pub nights, football events, and are known for their concerts.
Västgöta Nation offer food and restaurants, clubs, pubs, sporting events and courses for those keen to get involved. They sometimes collaborate with their counterpart in Uppsala.
A sustainable and environmentally conscious nation, Wemlands Nation saves one square meter of rainforest for every new member who signs up.
As one of the oldest nations at Lund University, Östgöta is a medium size nation offering great activities for students; pub nights, formal balls, and good food to name a few.
Uppsala University’s student nations
A nation in true Gotland spirit, they are a pub, a library, and a lounge all in one.
With 1,900 members, Gästrike-Hälsinge Nation is best known for their extensive selection of beers (170 different types!) and the shortest housing queues.
This is the smallest nation in Uppsala, with just over 500 members. As such, it’s a very personable nation – a home away from home for its members.
Kalmar is one of Uppsala’s smaller nations. They offer students everything from hiking events to pub evenings and brunches.
Norrlands Nation offer, perhaps, the biggest select of student activities at Uppsala University. Weekly pub evenings, formal balls, breakfast and lunch events are only a small selection of what the nation hosts.
Smålands Nation is like a big 1600 sized family. They have an established sports association and a choir that members can sign up to.
Come rain, hail or snow, Stockholms Nation is open all year around providing its members with a space to meet for pub quizzes, study sessions at the library or weekday brunches.
Snerikes Nation is Sweden’s oldest nation, founded in 1595. It’s one of the most popular student societies in Uppsala, putting on well-attended events and festivities year-round.
Due to dropping numbers of members in the early 1800s, three nations from Uppland decided to merge and create what is today known as Uplands Nation.
With over 3,000 members, Värmlands is one of Uppsala’s most popular nations. They offer various student activities, including pub nights, bars, choir, and student housing.
This nation was founded in 1639 by priest students from Västgöta. They had moved to Uppsala to complete their degrees before returning back to their towns and villages. Today Västgöta Nation has close to 1,100 members.
Like Västgöta Nation, V-dala was created in 1639. Their daily activities include lunch service, pub evenings, and brunches. We think they have the best emblem, so they’re featured in the header image.
Endearingly nicknamed ÖG, Östgöta Nation is popular among local and international students alike. The nation strives to make students feel at home, no matter where that is.