When I first came to Lund, I was amazed by the presence of students in everyday life. There were few places I visited in the first couple of months, where I didn’t see a least one other university student. It took a while for me to realize that the university’s 50000 students translate to more than half of Lund’s population. This is probably one of the reasons why Lund was repeatedly rated as the town with the best student life in all of Sweden.
Given the university’s long history, many student organizations and traditions developed over the years. The first organized student organizations were the so-called “nations”, which originally provided a second home for students from different parts of Sweden. Each nation was named after a different province or town, which can make for an interesting exercise, if you are interested in Swedish geography. Today the nations are open to everyone, even though their names stayed the same or were adjusted if two nations merged into one. The student nations in Lund today are: Östgöta nation, Västgöta nation, Smålands nation, Lunds nation, Malmö nation, Helsingkrona nation, Sydskånska nation, Kristianstads nation, Blekingska nation, Göteborgs nation, Hallands nation, Kalmar nation, and Wermlands nation. All of these, with the exception of Smålands nation, joined a network called “Studentlund”, which acts as a kind of umbrella organization.
The nations, which work on a membership basis, have their own houses with bars, night clubs, and student housing areas and serve as the base of Lunds student life. Volunteers help keeping the nations alive and organize fun events every week. If you want to really emerge in the student life in Lund, volunteering and becoming an active member in any of the nations is a great way to learn about Sweden, have a good time, and make new friends in the process. But even if you don’t want to actively help out at a nation, it is definitely worth joining one in order to benefit from the low prices (usually around 30 SEK for a beer and 40-50 SEK for a meal) and the great atmosphere. All nations within Studentlund require visitors to be a member in one of the nations in order to go to their events, clubs, or bars. To do so you will have to pay a fee of ~300 SEK per semester to the nation you choose. I decided to join Wermlands nation, when I moved to Lund, but unless you are an active member the choice of your nation does not matter too much. (You can also switch at any point for no extra cost).
Since the nations have been around for such a long time, they have many traditions, most notably the “sittnings” (formal banquet-style dinner) and balls. I was quite surprised about this as a new master’s student, because I had never heard of such student traditions anywhere else. Both of these events usually involve a white tie dress code (which is still genuinely mind-boggling to me), a lot of singing, and snaps. If you want to impress people with your Swedish skills, sittnings are a great opportunity to do so, while practicing your singing voice.
One final thing to mention about the nations in Lund are their breakfast and lunch options. Different nations will offer brunch buffets or lunch deals on different days of the week, which can come in very handy if you were too lazy too cook something for yourself and don’t want to spend a lot. The price is normally 35 or 40 SEK.
You can find out about all the different events here: