Uppsala University (Swedish Uppsala universitet) is a public university in Uppsala, Sweden. The oldest university in Scandinavia, it was founded in 1477 on the initiative of the Archbishop of Uppsala Jakob Ulfsson and the Swedish Regent Sten Sture, and with a papal bull from Sixtus IV. After a turbulent period following the reformation, with some periods of virtual extinction, the university rose to some significance with the rise of Sweden as a great power and a leading Lutheran state from the end of the 16th century and was given a relative financial stability with the large donation of King Gustavus II Adolphus in the early 17th century.
The significance of Uppsala is twofold: it has for centuries been an important place of science and learning, represented by names such as Linnaeus, Celsius, and Ångström, as well as several Nobel laureates in the sciences. Uppsala also has an important place in Swedish national culture and identity: in historiography, literature and music, represented by names such as Rudbeck, Geijer, Atterbom, and Strindberg. It shares some peculiarities with the other historic university within the present borders of Sweden, that in Lund (founded in 1666), such as the nation system, and many aspects of Swedish academic culture in general, such as the white student cap, originate in Uppsala.
The university has nine faculties distributed over three so called disciplinary domains. It has ca 40,000 students studying on an undergraduate level or enrolled in professional programs, and ca 2,400 doctoral students. It has a teaching staff of 3,800, out of a total of 6,000 employees. Of its annual turnover of ca 4 billion SEK, approximately 60% goes to graduate studies and research. It belongs to the Coimbra Group of European universities.
Uppsala University has traditionally had a strong presence in the area around the cathedral on the western side of the Fyris river, and although lack of space has forced it ever since the late 19th century to seek areas for expansion further towards the western and southwestern perifery of Uppsala, the presence of the university still dominates the historic center of the town.
Before the reformation
As with most medieval universities, Uppsala University initially grew out of an ecclesiastical center. The archbishopric of Uppsala had been one of the most important sees in Sweden since Christianity first spread to this region in the ninth century. Uppsala had also long been a hub for regional trade, and had contained human settlements dating back into the deep recesses of the Middle Ages. As was also the case with most medieval universities, Uppsala had initially been chartered through a papal bull. Uppsala’s bull, which granted the university its corporate rights, was issued by Pope Pope Sixtus IV in 1477, and established a number of provisions. Among the most important of these was that the university was officially given the same freedoms and privileges as the University of Bologna. This included the right to establish the four traditional faculties of theology, law (Canon law and Roman law), medicine, and philosophy, and to award the bachelors, masters, licentiate, and doctorate degrees. The archbishop of Uppsala was also named as the university’s chancellor, and was charged with the duty to ensure that the rights and privileges of the university and its members were preserved.
The crisis of the 16th century
The turbulent period of the reformation of King Gustavus Vasa resulted in a drop in the already relatively insignificant number of students in Uppsala, which was seen as a center of Catholicism and of potential disloyalty to the Crown. Swedish students generally travelled to one of the Protestant universities in Germany, especially Wittenberg. There is some evidence of academic studies in Uppsala during the 16th century; the Faculty of Theology is mentioned in a document from 1526, King Eric XIV appointed Laurentius Petri Gothus (later archbishop) rector of the university in 1566, and his successor and brother John III appointed a number of professors in the period 1569-1574. At the end of the century the situation had changed, and Uppsala became a bastion of Lutheranism, which Duke Charles, the third of the sons of Gustavus Vasa to eventually become king (as Charles IX) used to consolidate his power and eventually oust his nephew Sigismund from the throne. The Meeting of Uppsala in 1593 established Lutheran orthodoxy in Sweden, and Charles and the Council of state gave new privileges to the university on August 1 of the same year.
Theology still had precedence, but in the privileges of 1593 the importance of a university to educate secular servants of the state was also emphasized. Three of the seven professorial chairs which were established were in Theology; of the other four, three were in Astronomy, Physics (or general natural sciences) and Latin eloquence. A fourth chair was given to Ericus Jacobi Skinnerus , who was also appointed rector, but whose discipline was not mentioned in the charter. An eighth chair, in Medicine, was established in 1595 but received no appointee for several years. In 1599 the number of students were approximately 150. In 1600 the first post-reformation conferment of degrees took place. In the same year, the antiquarian and mystic Johannes Bureus designed and engraved the seal of the university, which is today used as part of the logotype.
The expansion of the 17th century
The medieval university had mainly been a school for theology. The aspirations of the emergent new great power of Sweden demanded a different kind of learning. Sweden both grew through conquests and went through a complete overhaul of its administrative structure. It required a much larger class of civil servants and educators than before. Preparatory schools, gymnasiums, were also founded during this period in various cathedral towns, notably Västerås (the first one) in 1623. Beside Uppsala, new universities were founded in more distant parts of the Swedish Realm, the University of Dorpat (present-day Tartu) in Estonia (1632) and the University of Åbo in Finland (1640). After the Scanian provinces had been conquered from Denmark, the University of Lund was founded in 1666.
Instrumental in the reforms of the early 17th century Swedish state was the long-dominant Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna, who had spent his own student days in German universities and who for the last years before his death was also chancellor of the university. King Gustavus II Adolphus showed the university a keen interest and increased the professorial chairs from eight to thirteen in 1620, and again to seventeen in 1621. In 1624 the king donated "for all eternity" all his own inherited personal property in the provinces of Uplandia and Westmannia, some 300 farms, mills and other sources of income. The king's former private tutor, Johan Skytte, who was made chancellor of the university in 1622, donated the Skyttean chair in Eloquence and Government which still exists. The university received a stable structure with its constitution of 1626. The head of the university was to be the chancellor , his deputy was the "pro-chancellor" (always the archbishop ex officio). The immediate rule was the responsibility of the consistory, to which belonged all the professors of the university, and the rector magnificus, who was elected for a semester at the time; the latter position circulated among the professors, each of whom sometimes held it several times.
During the late 16th and early 17th centuries (and perhaps even earlier), the university was located to the old chapter house parallel to the south side of the cathedral, later renamed the Academia Carolina. In 1622-1625 a new university building was built east of the cathedral, the so-called Gustavianum, named after the reigning king. In the 1630s, the total number of students were about one thousand.
Queen Christina was generous to the university, gave scholarships to Swedish students to study abroad and recruited foreign scholars to Uppsala chairs, among them several from the University of Strassburg, notably the philologist Johannes Schefferus (professor skytteanus), whose little library and museum building at S:t Eriks torg now belongs to the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala. The Queen, who would eventually declare her abdication in the great hall of Uppsala Castle , visited the university on many occasions; in 1652 she was present at a anatomical demonstration arranged at the castle for the young physician Olaus Rudbeck. Rudbeck, one of several sons of the former Uppsala professor and later Bishop of Västerås Johannes Rudbeckius, was sent for a year to the progressive University of Leiden in Holland. Returning in 1654, he received an assistantship in Medicine in 1655, and had already gone to work on a program of improving aspects of the university. He planted the first botanical garden, the one which would eventually be tended by Carl Linnaeus and is kept today as a museum of 18th century botany under the name Linnaeus' Garden . With the patronage of the university chancellor Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie, Rudbeck was made full professor in 1660, was elected rector for two terms, despite his youth, and started a revision of the work of the other professors and a building spree with himself as architect. His most significant remaining architectural work is the anatomical theatre, which was added to Gustavianum in the 1660s and crowned with the characteristic cupola for which the building is today known.
A gifted scientist, architect and engineer, Rudbeck was the dominant personality of the university in the late 17th century who laid some of the groundwork for Linnaeus and others, but he is perhaps more known today for the pseudohistorical speculations of his Atlantica, which consumed much of his later life. When large parts of Uppsala burned down in 1702, Gustavianum, which contained the university library and its many valuable manuscripts, escaped the fire; local lore has it that the aging Rudbeck stood on the roof directing the work of fighting the fire.
The age of mercantilism and enlightenment
The early part of the 18th century was still characterized by the combination of Lutheran orthodoxy and classical philology of the previous century, but eventually a larger emphasis on sciences and practically useful knowledge developed. The innovative mathematician and physicist Samuel Klingenstierna (1698-1765) was made a professor in 1728, the physicist and astronomer Anders Celsius in 1729,and Carl Linnaeus was made professor of Medicine with Botany in 1741. The university was not immune to the parliamentary struggle between the parties known as the "Hats" and the "Caps", with the former having a preference for hard sciences and practical knowledge. The Hat government then in power established a chair in economics (conomia publica) in 1741 and called Anders Berch as its first incumbent. This was the first professorship in economics outside Germany, and possibly the third in Europe (the first chairs having been established in Halle and Frankfurt an der Oder in 1727). In 1759, following a donation, another chair in economy was established, the Borgströmian professorship in "practical economy", by which was meant the practical application of the natural sciences for economic purposes (it eventually developed into a chair for physiological botany).
There were very radical attempts at reforms which were never implemented, but important changes took place. University studies had until this time been very informal in their overall organization, with the all-purpose philosophiæ magister-degree being the only one frequently conferred and many never graduating, as there were no degree applicable to their intended area of work (and well-connected aristocratic students often not graduating as they did not need to). A few professional degrees for various purposes were introduced in 1749-1750, but the radical suggestion of binding students to a single program of study adapted to a particular profession was never implemented. The reforms of this era have been compared to those of the 1960s and 1970s (Sten Lindroth).
Although it took some time after the fire of 1702, Uppsala Cathedral and Uppsala Castle were both eventually restored, both by Carl Hårleman, perhaps the most important Swedish architect of the era. He also modified Gustavianum, designed a new conservatory for Linnaeus' botanical garden and built the new Consistory house, which was to be the administrative core of the university.
Another magnificent royal donation was that of the large baroque garden of the castle, given by Gustavus III to the university when it was obvious that the old botanical garden was insufficient. A large new conservatory was built by the architect Louis Jean Desprez . Additional grounds adjacent to the baroque garden has since been added. The old garden of Rudbeck and Linnaeus was largely left to decay, but was reconstructed in the years between 1918 and 1923 according to the specifications of Linnaeus in his work Hortus Upsaliensis from 1745.
The governing board of the university is the consistory, with representatives of the faculties as well as members representing the students and non-academic employees, and a number of university outsiders appointed by the Swedish government. Since the last reorganization in 1999 the university has a separate body called the academic senate, which is a wider, but mostly advisory group representing teaching staff / researchers and students. The executive head of the university is the rector magnificus (often translated into English as "vice-chancellor"), whose deputy is the prorector. In addition, there are (also since 1999) three vice rectors, each heading one of the three "disciplinary domains" (Arts and Social Sciences, Medicine and Pharmacy, and Science and Technology), into which the nine faculties are divided. Each faculty has a faculty board and is headed by a dean (dekanus). The position of dean is held part-time by a professor of the faculty.
Through division of faculties and the addition of a previously independent school of Pharmacy as a new faculty, the traditional four faculty-organization of European universities has evolved into the present nine faculties:
- The disciplinary domain of Arts and Social Sciences
- Faculty of Arts*
- Faculty of Social Sciences*
- Faculty of Languages*
- Faculty of Theology
- Faculty of Law
- The disciplinary domain of Medicine and Pharmacy
- Faculty of Medicine
- Faculty of Pharmacy**
- The disciplinary domain of Science and Technology
- Faculty of Science and Technology.* The engineering programs have from 1982 been marketed as the Uppsala School of Engineering (Uppsala Tekniska Högskola). This has however never been a separate institution, but only a unit within the Faculty of Science and Technology and use of the term has been phased out after the Faculty of Natural Sciences was renamed the Faculty of Sciences and Technology in the 1990s.
- Faculty of Education and Teaching Professions***
- *These four are derived from the original Philosophical Faculty.
- **The Faculty of Pharmacy was originally a school in Stockholm, in 1968 moved to Uppsala and incorporated with the university.
- ***Formerly a department of Education, it was in 2002 raised to the status of a faculty in its own right, but does not belong to any of the three disciplinary domains.
Main article: Uppsala University Library
The university library holds about 5.25 million volumes of books and periodicals (131,293 shelf meters), 61,959 manuscripts, 7,133 music prints, and 345,734 maps and other graphic dokuments. The holdings of the collection of manuscripts and music includes, among other things, the Gothic Bible manuscript Codex Argenteus.
The most widely recognized building of the university library is Carolina Rediviva, the "revived Carolina", thus named in reference to Academia Carolina (see illustration), which held the university library from the earliest times until 1691, when it was moved to the upper floor of Gustavianum, where it miraculously survived the great city fire of 1702. In the mid-18th century, there were plans to move it back to the Academia Carolina or a new building on the same spot. The building was demolished in 1778 to make place for a new library, but this was never built and the area next to the cathedral where it stood is today a lawn. The present Carolina Rediviva was built in a different place and completed in 1841.
The present university library system comprises 19 branches, including the one in the Carolina building.
The Uppsala Academic Hospital or Akademiska sjukhuset, which functions as a teaching hospital for the Faculty of Medicine and the Nursing School, is run by the Uppsala County Council in cooperation with the university. As of 2003, the hospital had 7,719 employees and as of 2004 1,079 places for patients.
The university hospital is actually older than the university, as it goes back to the earliest hospital, founded in Uppsala in 1302, much later merged with the university clinic. This was used for 400 years until the great fire of 1702 which destroyed large parts of central Uppsala. A new hospital, which later became the Uppsala county hospital, was built in its place, but was moved out of the town in 1811.
The first clinic with the specific intention to facilitate the practical education of medical students was the Nosocomium Academicum, founded in 1708 and located to the Oxenstierna Palace at Riddartorget beside the cathedral (see illustration above). The building (the former residence of the President of the Royal Chancellery Bengt Gabrielsson Oxenstierna) today houses the Faculty of Law.
The present Akademiska sjukhuset was founded in 1850 as an organizational merger of the county hospital and the university clinic, and a new building was inaugurated in 1867 on the hill below Uppsala Castle to the southeast. From this building, which is still in use, the present hospital complex has grown.
Peculiar to the two oldest universities in Sweden (Uppsala and Lund University), but with roots going back to the medieval university in Paris, is the system of student nations, societies of students mainly according to province of origin. The present 13 nations have roots in the early part of the 17th century, with some of them being the result of mergers of older, smaller nations that took place in the early 19th century in order to facilitate the financing of building projects. The nations were originally seen as subversive organisations promoting less virtuous aspects of student life, but in 1663 the consistory (board) of the university made membership in a nation legal, each nation being placed under the inspectorship of a professor. Somewhat later membership in a nation was made compulsory, a rule which is still in place.
The Uppsala Student Union was founded in 1849 as a corporation representing all students, irrespective of nation.
Main article: List of Uppsala University People
As the dominant academic institution in Sweden for several centuries, Uppsala University has ever since its first period of expansion in the early part of the 17th century educated a large proportion of Swedish politicians and civil servants, from 17th century Chancellor of the Realm (rikskansler) Johan Oxenstierna (1611-1657) and Lord Chief Justice (riksdrots) Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie (1622-1686) to the first Social Democratic Prime Minister of Sweden, Hjalmar Branting (1860-1925) and many later politicians. Other alumni are Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961), UN Secretary General who was (posthumously) awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1961, and the Swedish diplomat Hans Blix (b. 1928), who was Head of the IAEA 1981-1997, of the UNMOVIC 2000-2003, and previously Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs 1978-1979. Hammarskjöld and Blix both graduated from the Uppsala Faculty of Law, as did the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Anna Lindh, who was assassinated in 2003.
Most Swedish clergymen, including most bishops and archbishops, have been educated at the university, including, in more recent times, Nathan Söderblom (1866-1931), Professor of the History of Religions in the Faculty of Theology, later Archbishop of Uppsala, and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1930 for his work as leader of the ecumenical movement.
The university became prominent in the sciences in the 18th century with names such as the physician and botanist Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778), the father of taxonomy, and his numerous important pupils, the physicist and astronomer Anders Celsius (1701-1744), inventor of the centigrade scale, and the chemist Torbern Bergman (1735-1784). Another scientist from this era is Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), better remembered today as a religious mystic. Several of the elements were discovered by Uppsala scientists during this period or later. Jöns Jakob Berzelius, considered one of the fathers of modern chemistry, received his doctorate in medicine in Uppsala in 1804, but later moved to Stockholm. Uppsala scientists of the 19th century include the physicist Anders Jonas Ångström (1814-1874). During the 20th century several Nobel laureates in the sciences have been Uppsala alumni or professors at the university.
Many well-known Swedish writers have studied in Uppsala: Georg Stiernhielm (1698-1672) is often called the father of Swedish poetry. The poet and song composer Carl Michael Bellman (1740-1795), without doubt the best-loved and best-remembered of Swedish 18th century poets, matriculated but left the university after less than a year. The writer, historian and composer Erik Gustaf Geijer (1783-1847), professor of history, and the poet Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom (1790-1855), professor of poetry, were principal figures of early 19th century Swedish romanticism. The less than happy experiences of the Uppsala student life of novelist and playwright August Strindberg (1849-1912), resulted in his Från Fjärdingen och Svartbäcken (1877), a collection of short stories set in Uppsala ("From Fjärdingen and Svartbäcken", the title refers to two districts in Uppsala). Other Uppsala alumni are the poet Erik Axel Karlfeldt (1864-1931), who refused the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1918, but received it posthumously in 1931, the novelist and playwright Pär Lagerkvist (1891-1974), Nobel laureate in 1951, and the poet and novelist Karin Boye (1900-1941), for whom one branch of the university library has been named.