Uppsala University

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As previously mentioned, Uppsala’s Cathedral was consecrated in 1435. It was the need for priest training that contributed to the formation of Uppsala University under the Catholic Church of Sweden. It was founded in 1477 making it the oldest university in Scandinavia. The political turmoil during the Lutheran Reformation in the 1500s led to changes not only in ideology, but the economic foundation of the University.


Photo: Olof Rudbeck was a key figure in Uppsala history.

In the 17th century King Gustav II Adolf gave a boost to Uppsala University with his financial support and the donation of more than 300 farms. The properties continue to be owned and under the direction of the University. One very important character who shaped the university’s direction at the time was Olof Rudbeck, a trained physician and scholar. He is the one who had the top built on the Gustavianum Museum.

It was also during the 1600s that a system in which students who came from the same region were joined together to form “student nations” or student clubs. Today there are 13 active student nations, each named after a Swedish province like Gothenburg, Norrland or Kalmar.

Much like student unions in other universities, the student nations manage different social activities like sports events, dances. They might operate pubs or restaurants and even some housing.  A 14th nation was later formed, named after Skåne so that students who do not wish to participate in club activities may become a member.


Photo: Kalmar Nation, one of the 13 student nations at the University.