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The age-old tradition of the Swedish "student nation"

Published fredag 1 september 2017 kl 14.49
Each nation host formal dinners throughout the year called gasques.
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Each nation host formal dinners throughout the year called gasques. Credit: Uppsalastudent.com
Uplands Nation at Uppsala University
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Uplands Nation at Uppsala University Credit: Uppsala University

It is back-to-school time as Swedish universities held their first classes for the term this week. A central part of student life at some of Sweden’s oldest universities is student nations or "nationer" in Swedish, but what are they and can international students join?

In two of Sweden's oldest universities - Lund and Uppsala - the history of nations stretches back as far as the 1600s.

Radio Sweden visited Uppsala University to find out more about student nations and how to choose which one to join.

"The nations are places to gather as students. Earlier they were based on where in Sweden you came from...but nowadays you choose based on where you feel most at home," explained Julia Stålenheim who is the first curator of Uplands Nation.

Each has its own pub and cafe and offers various event throughout the choir year. A traditional nation custom are three course formal dinners called gasques. 

There are 13 nations at Uppsala University, all named for different regions in Sweden. Though previously students joined based on the region they came from, today student are free to choose with one exception - Södermanlands-Nerikes Nation which requires Swedish students to be from or have family relations to the region.

Listen to our story to hear new students talk about which nation they plan to join. 

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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