Now approaching the 400th anniversary of its founding—which is sure to be celebrated with all the pomp and tradition on which the institution prides itself—Lund University has shaped the little city around it in countless ways.
We’ll not waste space here telling the university’s story, given its own guidebooks do a far better job than we ever could. But whether you’re staying in the city for a while, or just visiting for a day or two, you can’t see Lund and not see the university… and that, as a passing academic might tell you, is less a statement of opinion than an ontological fact, given that large sections of the city, and particularly gamla staden, are parts of the campus.
Some of the must-see spots are obvious, even unavoidable: it’s barely more than four minutes walk from the train station to Lundagård, the tree-lined, park-like zone north of the redoubtable Domkyrkan, where you’ll find students lounging around in the sunshine just as early in the year as there’s sunshine to be seen. Further to the west, across the maze of winding, Tolkienesque little streets and houses that comprise the true core of Lund’s gamla staden, you’ll find Botan, the botanical gardens, which will also be populated with students.
(Basically, you should expect to see students sitting around pretty much everywhere at all times, apart from during the summer holidays, when long-term residents and the occasional professor can be seen sitting on benches and smiling to themselves in the unaccustomed quietude.)
It’s not all olde-worlde academe, though—and some bits of the campus have in fact reverted back to being residential communities, such as the justly named Paradise kvartiet, which is sometimes referred to simply as Eden, the name of one of the former university buildings that comprise this urban ecovillage.
Hop on the tram and head northwest, where the tramline provides a conceptual and geographical division between the gentrified but still bookish charm of Östra Torn to the south, and Brunnshög to the north. Built, with some controversy, on what was reckoned to be the finest agricultural land in the area (as well as the highest point in the kommun), Brunnshög was billed during its construction in the 2020s as the “Science Village”, a label which is now considered rather gauche and embarrassing by residents. Nonetheless, its carefully planned mixture of academia, cutting-edge industry and well-designed medium-density dwellings has worked out pretty well, despite some teething troubles. Fans of old-school Big Science may want to go all the way to the end of the tramline, where the vast architectural rings of the old Max IV laboratory and the European Spellation Source sit quietly behind the trees, their excess heat providing warmth to the whole neighbourhood.
You could happily waste a week just wandering around Lund without any preconceived schedule or agenda in mind—hell knows a couple of our writing staff did exactly that in the course of researching these articles!—but there’s also lots of museums and galleries to see, and bars and restaurants to try. We’ll limit ourselves to just a few recommendations: we already mentioned Botan above, and various guest lectures and teach-outs will be advertised on the local notice-boards, but you should also strongly consider a trip to the Museum of Lost Sensations, which is a truly unique experience. Those who retain their taste for student politics should seek out the offices of Lundagård—not the park, but the long-running student magazine that stole its name. Rumour has long connected the magazine to the notorious (or is it celebrated?) Homo Colossus movement; don’t expect to get a clear answer from the staff, but a cup of tea and a request for donations is pretty likely.