• Sweden's news in English

Swedish university party life exposed

Karen Holst · 26 Aug 2011, 10:28

Published: 26 Aug 2011 10:28 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

With the return of classes comes the return of the party life at Sweden's universities.

So how do you hook into all the fun and games in this vodka-loving nation after your strenuous studies reach a boiling point?

It’s pretty simple.

Even if you’ve only been in Sweden for about eight minutes, you can quickly gather that these northerly people like things organised, planned, and punctual.

And university party life is no exception.

If you find yourself at an institution that invites you to join a student ’nation,’ be ready for your social scene to make a quick jump into the bleary-eyed, fuzz-brained, red-zone at the drop of a hat.

Nations are essentially large social clubs, with – in a complete departure from the fraternity/sorority style arrangement common in the United States – the added bonus of mixed genders.

These groups, which represent the oldest student societies in Sweden, form the very pulse of student life on campus outside of the classroom and have been beating strong since the mid-1600s.

Two of the oldest universities in Sweden, Lund and Uppsala, proudly boast their intact nation culture on campus.

Each school offers a choice of 13 different nations for its students to select from while emphasising the idea that they bring individual social flavours to distinguish them from one another.

”There is a little something for everyone here - each nation has its own feel so you pick the one that best suits you,” explains Boel Nilsson, Curator of Lund’s Nation at Lund University.

The nations each bear a geographical name related to Sweden. Traditionally, students were required to become members of the nation associated with their home region.

The practice was meant to provide a means for students coming from outside the university area to socialise with other students from their native region and catch up on news from home.

Today, this requirement no longer exists, however. Although the nations still pride themselves on their uniqueness, despite that many offer extremely similar activities.

The groups are open to any registered student regardless of the department or level of study.

So what happens in a nation?

“It’s everything! From nightclubs, to bars, to theatre, orchestras, choirs, sports, lunch and even housing, nations do it all,” exclaims Nilsson.

Many nations have their own newspaper, sports teams, dance floors, radio programme, restaurants and pubs (cheap eats!), all of which are run voluntarily by the students.

Some even offer a limited number of student apartments to offset the infamous housing crisis faced by many newly arriving students.

For example, Lund’s Nation at Lund University is the school’s largest nation with more than 4,000 active members who maintain the attitude of “Lund’s nation is always open.”

They even have a skyline Penthouse, a locale known for its killer weekly parties and awesome weekend brunches.

In addition, they organize annual events such as Siste April, a semi-formal dinner, and OktoberFest, to a name only a few.

Other nations at Lund University focus on specific themes.

You can tap into your inner-rockstar with Sydskånska, which pledges to indulge your study time with the world’s best music. They run Lund’s only soul and funk club, and offer weekly jazz tea hours, a sweet reggae lair, a hip-hop club and a smoke and laser electro beat club.

“It’s really good to become a member of the nation that best suits you. It’s like a whole family of friends and that’s the best part,” says Nilsson.

Although nations are open to all students, once you’ve joined a nation you usually become involved in that group’s particular activities. Your campus I.D. card transforms into your gateway to the good times. You swipe it at the door and, poof!, gain entry to any event.

And, if you don’t become a member of a nation? Well, you could try to party at regular bars or clubs in your uni town, but apparently there won’t be many worth checking into and none with the true college spirit vibe.

Don’t panic if your school of choice is without nations. This does not mean that your social scene radar will sustain a mere buzz.

In the land of the highly organized, there is always an alternative!

Most universities offer their own type of similar student social clubs and/or pubs; they just don’t have the historical distinction of being a true nation.

For example, the individual departments at Örebro University each offer their own social club, which is then responsible for planning its own activities, including the college parties.

“All of the course sections organize their own parties with things like Pub Night or a semi-formal dinner,” says Ulrika Kvist, who works in school’s International Student office.

Story continues below…

However, Kvist points out a clear line.

If you are an international or exchange student, there are additional groups available to you that help your transition to Sweden while bolstering your social life with students in the same predicament.

This does not, however, guarantee mingling with Swedish students.

“The social clubs for the exchange students versus the Swedish students are essentially the same, but some of their offerings do differ,” explains Kvist, and points to the Buddy System for new students as an example.

Up north in Luleå, students who take a break from skiing or boarding hit STUK, an on-campus restaurant and bar.

STUK is voluntarily run by students and offers a café, pub, cheap but tasty restaurant, dance floor and theatre stage. It’s the place to awaken your college party groove when up north.

Regardless of where you find yourself, and when you feel the need to let loose, you will be able tap into the good times on campus.

Just check the schedule!

Until then, skål to the next happy hour!

Karen Holst (kholstmedia@gmail.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

22:14 August 26, 2011 by motorsports
in seeking out a learning centre ie uni my first thought today will be does it have a place for worhip of the creator upon His planet we all can thrive?

if the answer is yes then my seeking the extension of my life beyond the earthly will be where i will seek this learning for my future here on earth..Ít is all too easy to focus on the short vision, it is the long sighted od us in vision that will come away after learing to be better equipped for the road that lies ahead for us.

God said that He so loved the world that He gave us His one and only Son that whom so ever may beleive on Him will never perish..

this has to be the first and most formost seeking of my uni placement
02:24 August 27, 2011 by Stoopnagle
motorsports: Then Sweden might not be the place for you. I never witnessed any faith-based communities in university life while I was there. Of course, that was upwards of 15 years ago. You can find this sort of thing State's side. Try: www.bju.edu if you are of the evangelical bent or www.nd.edu if you're a bit more "traditional."

Blekingska Nation represent! Once you're in a Nation, then take advantage of the dagens and pub.
04:23 August 29, 2011 by VicTaulic
this story is nothing without pictures
21:03 August 29, 2011 by graphixperson
Kalmar Nation!
14:07 September 1, 2011 by swedejane

Perhaps you should seek out a university that is capable of instructing you in the use of proper english spelling and grammar. God apparently hasn't done such a good job with you on that score.
Today's headlines
Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available