The Alumni Network Blog

The latest from the Alumni Network at Lund University

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A quick hello from the Alumni Office

Our office has reopened again after the summer vacation. But it’s not really business as usual. Many of us are working from home and we are more often meeting through Zoom than IRL. Even the mandatory “fika” is now enjoyed with our colleagues during a “Zoom-fika”. We are also looking forward to meeting many of you online since we are planning a digital version of our autumn events programme for alumni. 

Here are some updates from Lund University, Lund and the alumni community from the last two weeks – exciting research news, a different type of Arrival Day, a new way to move around in Lund and an alumna competing for a masterchef title on TV. 

Photo above by Kennet Ruona of Sjön Sjön (the lake “Sjön”) by LTH.

New rapid and robust COVID-19 antibody test developed

A new COVID-19 antibody test developed by scientists at Lund University has shown robust performance upon clinical validation and application. The test detects antibodies in the blood targeting the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, and determines in just 15 minutes whether a person has had COVID-19, regardless of whether they have had any symptoms. Click here for more information.

1,024 new international students arrived safely in Lund

On Monday 17 August and Tuesday 18 August, Lund University welcomed 1,024 new international students. Due to the pandemic, a number of precautions had been taken in order to give the new students the safest and warmest welcome possible. Instead of having the halls of the AF building filled with enthusiastic and talkative students, Arrival Day was split into two days, offering a crowd-free self-check-in service. Many of the Orientation Weeks activities have moved outdoors or online. Like every year before, however, the international student mentors are doing a fantastic job helping the new students finding their way in Lund. Click here to read more about Arrival Day.

Arrival Day August 2020
From Arrival Day 18 August at Medicon Village

Alumna reappears in Swedish Masterchef

The TV show “Swedish Masterchef” is broadcasting a jubilee season where they welcome back former winners to compete for the title of “Masterchef of the Decade”. We are proud to see that alumna Jennie Walldén (Masterchef in 2013) back in the cooking show. Click here to read more about the show (in Swedish).

Premiere tour of first tram in Lund

The first tram “Åsa-Hanna” had its premiere tour in Lund on 17 August. Watch the tram travel at minimal speed through Lund in this video from Sydsvenskan.

August 21, 2020

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LinkedIn guide: Optimize your career opportunities

LinkedIn is one of the largest professional networking sites with 675 million monthly users and with 30 million companies on the platform, it’s safe to say that the platform is the right place to be if you’re looking to widen your professional network. But setting up an account isn’t as easy as it sounds. How do you make your profile stand out from the crowd? And what are some of the dos and don’ts? 

Earlier this semester the Alumni and Career Offices hosted a LinkedIn webinar where the certified CV and LinkedIn expert, Birgitta Möller, explained how you should think and act when setting up your profile, as well as when you’re using the platform to connect with others. Because so many of the viewers appreciated her tips and tricks, I’ve created a short written guide for LinkedIn based on her presentation. Enjoy!

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with millions of users

Step number one: Setting up your profile

A well-maintained LinkedIn profile will help build your personal brand, but keep in mind that your LinkedIn profile is not a digital resumé. LinkedIn is a social platform, so here you have the possibility to be more creative and personal when listing your knowledge and experiences.

These sections should be completely filled out in order to maximize your profile:


It’s possible to create a profile in a language that is different from your default profile. Therefore, always make sure your profile is available in English as recruiters will have an easier time finding your profile as their search results are in English. 

Profile picture:

Your profile picture is the first impression your profile visitors will have of you. So choose a picture that looks professional. Take a look at your picture and ask yourself: “Does this look like a person I would hire for this particular job?” Your photo does not have to be taken by a professional photographer in a fancy studio. However, try to avoid selfies. 

Selfies are great – but maybe not optimal for LinkedIn

Banner photo:

Your banner is part of making your profile more memorable. Try choosing an image that compliments your story and fits the context you want to be in.

Your headline:

In this section you have 120 characters to make an impression. So use the opportunity to tell your personal story by using keywords relevant for your field of work and/or be vocal about what you can help people with in your work. Or you can list some of your strongest skills. But try to avoid generic, cliché descriptions and buzzwords. 


Here you should take the opportunity to market yourself! Make it a single job targeting text and give recruiters a chance to get to know you, your skills and what you have to offer. Write in first person as it sounds more personal.

Experience section:

When listing your experience, make sure to use real job titles that are commonly known, since they are searchable. Include relevant skills in each job description, but keep it short and don’t focus too much on details. In order to make your profile more interesting, try to include relevant media (you could add your thesis, photos, presentations, videos etc.) for each job description.

List your most relevant experience in your profile


Here you should list any degree or coursework that is relevant for the field in which you want to work. If you don’t have a lot of work experience, the education section is a chance for you to include any other relevant experience, such as licenses, certifications or volunteer work.

Skill section:

A very important section for search engine optimization. The more you include, the better the chance that recruiters will find you. But make share that the skills you list are relevant. Make use of top skills listed in job ads. 


A great way to make your profile stand out. Your recommendations should come from someone who can directly speak to your characteristics and strengths. Never exchange recommendations with a classmate or a colleague – recommendations should be genuine!

Additional tips on optimizing your profile:

  • Customize your personal URL! By doing so, it shows that you know your way around LinkedIn and a short, personalized link looks good on your resume.

  • Fill in your industry and choose the one most relevant for you. Recruiters search based on industries!

DOs and DON’Ts when using LinkedIn

 Now that you’ve created a professional profile, it’s time to start building a network and finding exciting new opportunities. The key to finding these are through your connections. So how many connections do you need?  You should strive to have a minimum of 50 connections, but the more the better. This is because you usually find new opportunities through a contact of a contact.

Making new connections

When connecting with other people on the platform, DO NOT send a default contact message. DO write a personalized contact message instead. Explain how you know each other and why you are interested in having them in your network. If you don’t know each other, introduce yourself and ask if they are open to new connections. If they’re not, you can always follow them instead.

Being an active user

An important part of using LinkedIn is of course to be active. A great profile is not enough; you need to write posts, share, comment and like other people’s posts in order to be seen. When writing posts, DO NOT use advanced, complicated language. Instead, be conversational and personal as people are more likely to respond to posts that they understand and can relate to.

DO follow company pages. Follow companies you want to work at, it sends a clear signal to recruiters that you are interested in this particular company and want to hear more from them.

DO join groups. It’s a great way to meet new professionals within your field of interest. Be active in the conversations within these groups and share your knowledge. That way, you can connect with people who have the same interests as you. For example, join the Lund University Alumni Network group to connect with other LU alumni around the world.

There are a lot of tips and tricks on how to optimize your online presence and widen your professional network, however, I hope that this guide has given you some valuable advice on how to use the platform. Social media is all about building your own personal brand. And knowing how to do this, even if it’s just knowing how to set up a professional-looking LinkedIn profile, will definitely be a step in the right direction toward reaching your career goals. 

August 6, 2020

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3 good ways to go green – study a MOOC at Lund University

How do we live life more sustainably? How do we shape cities so both people and the environment can prosper? And how can we use materials for a longer period of time? Enroll in three MOOCs offered by the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University to learn about the answers to these questions.

Greening the Economy: Lessons and Experiences from Scandinavia

How do we live a good life on one planet with over seven billion people? This course addresses this question by looking into how individual choices, business strategies, sustainable cities and national policies can promote a greener economy. This course is offered by the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University.
Start date: 10 August
Click here for course registration.

Greening the Economy: Sustainable Cities

How can we shape urban development towards sustainable and prosperous futures? This course will explore sustainable cities as engines for greening the economy. This course is offered by the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University.
Start date: 10 August
Click here for course registration.

Greening the Economy: Circular Economy – Sustainable Materials Management

In this MOOC we look at where important materials come from and how they can be used more efficiently, longer, and in closed loops through innovative business models, policies and local initiatives. This course is offered by the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University.
Start date: 10 August
Click here for course registration.

Photo by Mehmood Yousafzai from Pexels.

August 3, 2020

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6 Inspiring Podcasts

A list of podcasts by Lund University or our friends and alumni. Enjoy!

IIIEE podcast: Advancing Sustainable Solutions (in English)

Click here to reach the podcast
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) is an interdisciplinary research and education institute at Lund University with activities focusing on the transition to low-carbon and resource efficient economies. In this podcast, IIIEE shares ongoing research and activities through engaging conversation that is relatable and applicable to our daily lives. Working from home? Check out the latest episode “Tips and Tools for Teleworking”!

Studentafton podcast (in Swedish and English)

Click here to reach the Studentlund website
Click here to listen to the podcast on Spotify
If you use another podcast app, please search for “Studentafton”. 
Interviews by the popular student organisation Studentafton which has welcomed distinguished guests since 1830. On the long, and old, guest list you find speakers such as Dag Hammarskjöld, Henry Kissinger, Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, Will Farrell and many, many more. Studentafton also invite their speakers to join their podcast. There are podcasts in both English and Swedish. Check out the links above for more information. 

LU Futura podcast (in Swedish)

Click here to reach the podcast
A podcast by the LU Futura Think Tank with a focus on understanding the pandemic and its consequences for our society. LU Futura is the University’s new think-tank, which will take an interdisciplinary approach to important future issues. With research conducted at nine different faculties, Lund University has a unique opportunity to look at future problems from all possible perspectives.

Vetenskap & hälsa podcast (in Swedish)

Click here to reach the podcast 
A podcast presenting exciting research at Lund University within the field of medicine and health.

Öppet fall podcast (in Swedish)

Click here to reach the podcast 
”Öppet fall” is a podcast by the Faculty of Law at Lund University. In this podcast researchers analyse the most notable Swedish crime cases throughout history.

Sommar i P1 radio show with several alumni speakers (in Swedish)

Click here for more information 
Personal stories by well-known people from different parts of Swedish society. Pay special attention to episodes with Anders Tegnell, Betlehem Isaak, Patrik Svensson, Rasmus Troedsson, Ola Wong, Karin Smirnoff, Simon J Berger, Anna Takanen, Patrik Lundberg and Olof Stenhammar. We are proud to say that not only are they a part of “Sommar i P1”, but also a part of the Lund University alumni community!


Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash

July 21, 2020

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Starting a new job during a pandemic – 4 tips from a recruiter

home office

In March earlier this year, I got a new job. I was over the moon excited, as I now was able to work full-time as a Communications Officer at the University. And this being my first ever full-time job since graduating in January, you can probably imagine how excited I was when I stepped into the office on my first day.

I was able to work for five days at the office, before my new boss informed us all that from now on, we would all work from home. In the beginning it was a peculiar situation, not only for me as a new employee, but for everyone. Luckily, I had a great onboarding and got comfortable in my new role very quickly.

My office for the past couple of months

As working from home is somewhat of the new “normal” right now, I can imagine that many of you who are currently looking for jobs will have a somewhat similar experience to me when starting a new job during these special times. Therefore, I had a chat with Anna Alpenhoff, who has experience with hosting digital introductions for new employees as well as digital recruiting, and she shared some of her best tips:  

  • Make sure you are given a contact person that will have time set aside in their daily work to be available for you when you need them. As a new employee, you will have a lot of questions and it’s comforting to know that this person will have time to answer your calls or emails.
  • During meetings, ask if it’s okay to record the video call. Then you don’t have to worry about taking notes during the meeting, instead you can go back to the material later if you need to refresh your memory. But make it clear that the recording is simply for your personal use only!
  • Have an honest conversation with your co-workers about how you’re feeling about your situation. Everyone can agree that the situation we’re in is unusual and there’s a mutual understanding that it can be a struggle, especially if you’re new.
  • If your office has a digital “fika” or other regular informal video meetings, make sure you attend them. These are great for being included in the informal conversations at the office.

Anna has also conducted Skype interviews when recruiting new employees, so she had two additional tips for those of you who are going to have a digital interview:

  • Do your digital interview in a calm, quiet setting where you feel comfortable.
  • Make sure the technical bit works beforehand. Having a microphone or camera that doesn’t work in the middle of a digital interview, will just be stressful and interruptive.

She also highlighted that even though digital interviews have some obvious differences from “regular” interviews, they aren’t that different. What’s most important is that you are prepared for the interview regardless of whether it’s digital or in person.

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4 smart ways to expand your knowledge of business and law – Enroll in a MOOC at Lund University

A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills and advance your career. Lund University offers a variety of exciting MOOCs and in this post you learn more about MOOCs in business and law.

Click here to learn more about MOOCs at Lund University.

Digital Business Models

Digital business models are disrupting 50-year old companies in telecommunications, transportation, advertising, e-commerce, automotive, insurance and many other industries. This course will explore how software developers are not just the innovators but also the decision makers in modern competitive battles from mobile to cloud, and from consumer goods to enterprise software. This course is offered by the School of Economics and Management at Lund University.
Click here for course registration.

European Business Law (course 1): Understanding the Fundamentals

The Lund University series in European Business Law ranges from considering the basic structures and principles of the European Union to focusing on specialized areas of European Union law. In this first course we will examine the core structures and principles of the European Union as well as the main sources of law. This course is offered by the Faculty of Law at Lund University.
Click here for course registration.

European Business Law (course 2): Doing Business in Europe

This course discusses strategic and financial considerations within Company law, as well as Labour law issues such as restructuring enterprises, working conditions and handling crises situations. The course also examines other legal areas such as Tax law, Environmental law and Private International law, and how they tie in to doing business in Europe. This course is offered by the Faculty of Law at Lund University.
Click here for course registration.

European Business Law (course 3): Competing in Europe

This course discusses how to compete on the internal market and protect your brand, product or invention. It includes legal disciplines such as Intellectual Property law (IP law), Competition law and specific branches within Public law, such as public procurement and state aid. This course is offered by the Faculty of Law at Lund University.
Click here for course registration.


Photo by Stefan Bengtsson of the court room at Juridicum, Lund University

July 1, 2020

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If you could read only one book (or watch only one TV marathon) this summer, which one would it be?

The summer is usually a very busy time for many of us. But, if you could find the time for a good book, which one would it be? And what movies and TV-series are you eager to watch during a rainy summer day? We reached out to some of our Lund University colleagues to ask these questions. And below you will learn about their absolute favourites. 


Cicilia CarlssonCicilia Carlsson,
International Marketing Manager,
Lund University

If you could read only one book this summer, which one would it be?
A Thousand Splendid Suns, written by Khaled Hosseini. I couldn’t really stop reading this book. The characters are fictive, but the story is based on actual historic events, taking place in Afghanistan from the early 70s to present time. The mixture of very strong characters, a truly emotional story and a culture I haven’t read much about before captivated me.

What movie or TV-series will you watch on rainy summer day?
I’ve watched it several times already, but my go-to TV-series would have to be Band of Brothers, produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. Partly because I love Steven Spielberg’s work in general, but also because it’s based on actual historic events and real-life characters. It may be a bit too much action in some episodes though, and if I wouldn’t be in the mood for that during the rainy summer day, I would most likely put on the TV-series Friends instead – it always makes me happy.

Audrey SavageAudrey Savage,
Junior Marketing Officer,
Lund University

Which movie or TV-series will I watch on a rainy day:
In honor of Pride month, I’ll be watching the second season of Pose, now that it is out on Netflix. It’s a fictionalization of the underground ballroom culture of the Black and Latino LGBT community of New York City in the 80s and 90s. If you’re familiar with the groundbreaking documentary on the same topic, Paris is Burning, then you’ll have a good idea what the show is about. Ballroom gave the LGBT community a safe place to gather in pride and find respect at a time when the rest of the world made it very difficult to do so, particularly during the AIDS epidemic. The show is beautifully filmed with a great mix of comedy, drama, emotion, and history (as well as Billy Porter’s greatest performance of all time, in my humble opinion)! Enjoy!

If I could only read one book this summer:
Everything is F*cked: A Book about Hope by Mark Manson. This book seems particularly relevant in these difficult times we are going through with coronavirus and so many other tragedies this year. In this book, Mark discusses how we tend to view the world as getting worse and worse when it is actually arguably the best time in history to be alive. He attributes this to a larger loss of hope in our society and his book is an intuitive and often very humorous look at how to regain a sense of personal hope in the world in order to contribute to creating an even better one for the future.

Kristen Clarberg, International Coordinator at LTH, Lund University

If you only had time to read one book this summer, which would it be?
I would like to say I would read something quite sophisticated like Hemingway or Melville (because one should) but, in reality, I will be reading YA novels like The Hunger Games. Nothing like a dystopian future to put life in perspective. I’ve just started York: The Shadow Cipher, by Laura Ruby, which takes place in an alternative New York and involves genius twins who create a mystery to solve in the makeup of the city itself. Looking forward to finding out which riddles and answers are held in this version of the ‘city that never sleeps’.

What movie or series will you watch on a rainy summer day?
I have two answers for this; with and without kids.

With kids, a family favourite for rainy days is Nailed It. Both my kids and I love it and if we then bake something afterwards, no matter how it looks, we feel quite good about the results (as long as it tastes good)!

Without kids, I would love to binge some HBO series like: Killing Eve, What We Do in the Shadows, His Dark Materials or try the new Perry Mason. I keep hearing good things about these series but we do not have HBO, so a summer binge would be just right to fix this ‘problem’.


Julia HanssonJulia Hansson
Communications Officer, Lund University

What movie or TV-series will you watch on rainy summer day?
On a rainy summer day, I will watch the celebrated drama series Normal People based on a novel by Sally Rooney. It depicts love, power, youth and friendship. I have read the book and have high expectations for the TV series, that got 8.6 on IMDB. I’m almost looking forward to a few rainy summer days just to have time for this TV marathon.

Isabelle Jönsson
International Coordinator, Lund University

If you could read only one book this summer, which one would it be and why?
A Nearly Normal Family by Mattias Edvardsson. The book is set in Lund and impossible to put down! It’s a crime story from a family perspective, instead of a police perspective, which shows that really anyone can get into big trouble. Very exciting and realistic! And, as a Lund resident, you are familiar with the story’s surroundings.

Click here to read our interview with alumnus Mattias Edvardsson.

What movie or TV-series will you watch on rainy summer day?
I’m looking forward to the Netflix movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. A film with Will Ferrell about the Eurovision Song Contest! 🙂 I’ve heard that Ferrell actually is a Eurovision fan and that will definitely put a very comical touch on the movie. Popcorn, glitter and glam all prepared. I love Eurovision, humour and Will Ferrell!


Cover photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

June 29, 2020

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“As long as no sanitary inconvenience comes of it” – The story of Sjöström’s privies

The Lundblad building in the 1870s
The Lundblad – and subsequently Sjöström – building shortly before its demolition in the 1870s, viewed from the south. In the right-hand corner, there is a glimpse of one of the newer buildings on Toll’s section of site number 21. The pile of stones in the foreground is a result of Helgo Zettervall’s ongoing cathedral renovation. Photo source: AF’s Archives & Student museum

On the eastern side of the present-day Kyrkogatan, just south of the main University building’s south façade, where the old zoologist Sven Nilsson’s bust now rests high up on its pedestal, there lay in times gone by a now entirely vanished quarter, site number 21 in Kraft’s district according to the city of Lund’s site divisions at the time. It was a site with, in many regards, proud academic and cultural history, however, in the latter half of the 19th century, when it came into the University’s possession it also became the subject of – if you will pardon the pun – a faecal matter.

In the early 19th century, site number 21 was a place that any Lund citizen or non-resident visitor with a thirst for knowledge had reason to visit. At the time, the property belonged to the Professor of Latin, Johan Lundblad, and he was not only an eloquent speaker and talented poet in both Latin and Swedish, he was also a major entrepreneur in the field of the printed word. As a young man, he had the responsibility of managing the University’s book auction room, and later came to run his own bookshop as well as a publishing house and print shop (he also made an unsuccessful attempt at establishing Lund’s first lending library). Originally, Lundblad ran these businesses from his home in a large building on Mårtenstorget (the present-day Krognos House is a remnant of these once more extensive buildings), however, in 1805 he had instead purchased ‘courtyard number 21 at Lilla Torg’ for 3 333 riksdalers and moved his ventures there. By 1809, he had closed down the print shop; however, he ran the bookshop until his death in 1820 (later, it was run by other owners and in other locations around the city, well into the 20th century. Older citizens of Lund still remember it as Ph. Lindstedt’s university bookshop, when it was located on the corner of Klostergatan and Stora Gråbrödersgatan; at the time of its closure it was reportedly Sweden’s oldest bookshop).

However, Professor Lundblad and his book box was far from the only literary and intellectual feature on the site. On the top floor of one of the buildings, Lundblad rented out rooms to some younger academics, including (from 1813) Bengt Magnus Bolméer, future professor of oriental languages, and Christopher Isac Heurlin, future Bishop of Visby and Växjö. Around these two gentlemen, there soon gathered a merry group of the University’s most talented and discussion-loving young talents in a kind of informal gentleman’s club where they ‘tossed around thoughts and ideas’ over a bowl of punch. This coterie later became known as ‘Härbärget’, and among its most famous members were the poet Esaias Tegnér and the polymath Carl Adolph Agardh.

Education at a lower academic level was also cultivated on the site. Following Lundblad’s death, for just over one and a half decades, the site housed the public primary school in Lund, and the spread of the written word was also supported by the city’s post office being located on the site for a period in the 1830s.

A fire insurance policy tells a story

However, neither Professor Lundblad, nor his printer, bookshop assistants, tenants, members of Härgberget with Tegnér and Agardh at the helm, students in the public primary school or the city postmaster could survive on writing, words and thoughts alone. The body also has its needs, including digestive needs, and at a time long before running water in buildings, this meant that site number 21 also needed a relatively significant number of outdoor lavatories. We have not been able to find any information on exactly how many and what they looked like in Lundblad’s time, however, a preserved insurance policy for the buildings on the site dated 1842 states that for one of these buildings there was ”1 Privy house, with eight sections on the top floor”. The building, which at the time was registered as being around six years old, also housed stables with space for four horses and two cows, a warehouse, a farm hand’s quarters, lodges, a feed barn and woodshed in addition to these privies. In other words, it was quite a substantial two-storey building: 28 Swedish ells in length and 15.5 ells in width (approximately 16.5 x 9 metres in modern measurements). Based on the information found on the site’s buildings in the insurance policy, and the study of old maps of Lund, we believe we have identified this outhouse as a building in the north-eastern corner of the site, facing the so-called Munck’s site to the north (where the main University building’s auditorium lies today) and toward the old botanic garden (the current University Square) in the east. It is this necessary establishment – for posterity known as ’Sjöström’s privies’ – on which this article focuses.

Who then was this Sjöström, who had the doubtful honour of lending his name to a large collection of privies? A surprisingly anonymous man it must be said. After his death in 1860, the weekly Lunds Weckoblad did not dedicate even the smallest obituary to him, despite the fact that Gustaf Sjöström, born in Malmö in 1786, had been one of the city of Lund’s faithful servants for more than four decades, first as a city cashier and later as a district court judge. In addition to these two main occupations he had also had a series of other municipal roles, including as a member of (and later accountant for) the city’s poverty department, as a local ‘officer and collector’ for the public number lottery and as a supervisor for the newly established Northern Cemetery. In the latter post, however, it can be said that Sjöström ended up in roles that led to a conflict of interest. In the autumn of 1840, there was an urgent need to dig drainage for a waterlogged, not yet occupied section of the cemetery; however, the problem was that this also required two private allotments next to the cemetery to be dug up as well. However, the owners of the two sites were not interested in covering the costs for this – one of whom was Sjöström himself!

Lunds Weckoblad
After judge Sjöström’s death in 1860, there was no obituary in Lunds Weckoblad, however, there was an advertisement for an auction of his personal estate. It stated that Sjöström, in addition to eight privies, also owned fourteen chiffoniers! Image source: the National Library of Sweden

The allotment in the north was not judge Sjöström’s only property. He was also possibly the owner of an area of land on Helgonabacken that for a long time was known as Sjöström’s garden (now a part of the hospital district), and sometime after Professor Lundblad’s death he became, in any case, the owner of site number 21. It would seem that Sjöström commissioned a new build on the site, because when, at the beginning of 1844, he sold parts of the site to a cavalry master Axel Toll, it was stated in the purchase documents that it related to ‘the eastern or newly built section of the Courtyard and Site Number 21’. If our assumptions about where the outhouse and privies stood are correct, these should have been included in that part of the site – now registered as 21B – that Toll acquired. This also concords with the fact that they were around eight years old in 1844 and therefore could clearly be registered as newly built. However, if this was the case one might think that the privies in question should have been known as ‘Toll’s privies’, however, the fact that this was not the case may be due to the brevity of Toll’s time as owner. By the autumn 1844, he had sold his part of the site. To whom is something we will explain shortly, but first a little bit of background.

Cramped University on the hunt for premises

As judge Sjöström made property transactions, the University was suffering from a severe lack of premises. At the turn of the century, the attempt to release the pressure on the University’s original main building, the King’s House, by building an additional wing – known as ‘Kuggis’ – had quickly been insufficient as well. Therefore, at the time, the University also rented a former school building diagonally across from the cathedral, which included the book auctioning room that Johan Lundblad had once managed but also a chemistry room and office for its financial administration; the Chamber of Revenue. At the end of the 1830s, however, the cathedral chapter started making proposals to demolish both this and a number of other small buildings that ‘made the cathedral’s western façade unsightly”. The situation was therefore critical, and what the University did then was acquire cavalry captain Toll’s part of site 21, the eastern section – comprising three buildings, of which one presumably housed the eight privies. These were therefore now primarily used by the University’s financial administration, and by the staff responsible for the University’s mineral and coin collections, who were also located there. The University’s caretaker was also given premises in Toll’s buildings and is therefore assumed to have used the facilities.

Excerpt of a map from 1856 of the University's buidlings
Excerpt of a map from 1856 of the University’s buildings. To the left of the King’s House (A) and the old botanical garden (K) you can see site 21B with three buildings marked with ‘i’, of which the most northerly is assumed to have housed the privies. North of this is the Munck’s site (L). Image source: University Archives

However, the acquisition of Toll’s site was also just a temporary solution. Neither these buildings nor the new department buildings that were built around the middle of the century – including Anatomicum and Chemicum (now known as ‘The Old Archaeology Building’ and ‘The Old Department of History’) – were able to meet the University’s increasing needs in the long term. Perhaps the location of the Chamber of Revenue in a converted private housing building was also not considered to live up to the demands placed on a university administration at the time. Increasingly, the University started to focus on obtaining funds to build a new, large and pompous but also modern and fit-for-purpose main building – a university building.

Helgo Zettervall drew up plans for such a building and the first drawings were ready by 1874. In December of the same year, the University also purchased the now deceased Sjöström’s former part of site 21. Namely because it was on this part as well as on Toll’s and Munck’s parts in the north and western sections of the former botanical garden that the new building was planned to be built. The days of Sjöström’s privies were now ultimately numbered. The Swedish Government and parliament were, however, not as fast as the University. It took several years and many rounds (which are described in more detail in an article in the 2017 degree conferment ceremony programme before Lund University, in 1877, finally received SEK 450 000 in funding for the building of a new University building. Finally, the construction could begin, however, even that would take a number of years to complete.

Exemption from the ‘offensive matter from privies’ requirement

At the time, the public health committee in the city of Lund issued a statement on ‘established privies in new or old buildings here in the city’. The statement was regularly published in the city’s newspapers throughout the summer of 1877, stating that such privies ‘are not permitted to be used before they have been, in due order, inspected and approved by the city’s architect’ and that, for privies to be approved, they were to be established so that ‘the offensive matter from privies be collected from a concave cement receptacle located under the surface of the ground, which is covered and equipped with a ventilation shaft’.

One can imagine that this statement created a great headache for the University. On the one hand, the buildings on Sjöström’s site were shortly to be demolished to provide space for a new University building, and it would therefore be a great financial waste to update the privies to meet the requirements of the public health committee. On the other hand, however, it is to be assumed that the University administration needed, to put it politely, somewhere to relieve themselves until the University building was completed. This led the University’s finance committee to submit a request to the public health committee that was unlike any ordinary request, namely an exemption from the hygiene requirements. Specifically, the committee decided at its meeting, on 21 July 1877, to ‘approach the city’s public health committee with a request that the privies in the Sjöström building and the Chamber of Revenue’s building, which would shortly be demolished, be permitted to remain in unchanged condition until further notice’. On 1 August, the public health committee responded, in the most wonderful bureaucratic Swedish, that ‘no obstacles shall be faced for retaining the privies until further notice so long as no sanitary inconvenience comes of it’. The administration’s sanitary establishments were thus saved for the time being, and not torn down until the construction of the main University building.

The public health committee's response to the University's request
The public health committee’s response to the University’s request for an exemption from the requirement to adapt the Sjöström privies. Image source: University Archives

A diminished lavatory paradise

Considering the story of the Sjöström privies was over, you have to ask yourself where the members of management relieved themselves following the construction of the main University building, which was completed in 1882. As it is also thought that the University’s new building was not only to house the administration, but was also intended as combined premises for teaching, ceremonies and lectures, as well as (in the initial plans) a gymnasium, it is easy to see that the other activities would have also required lavatory solutions. In Helgo Zettervall’s first drawings of the new main University building from 1874, the building is also abundantly equipped with toilets, even fashionably indicated as ‘WC’! In addition to a latrine with five toilets on the ground floor, roughly where the Pillared Hall’s serving kitchen is now situated, there was a ‘WC’ next to the administration’s premises in the southern part of the building, approximately where a lift is now located. In any case, this ‘WC’ may be viewed as a spiritual successor to Sjöström’s privies in that it was placed together with (and was likely to have been intended for) the university administration. Finally, for anyone who looked outside on the 1874 plans for the main University building, Zettervall had planned to build ‘bedle’s quarters’ on the site of the current Palaestra, with two additional toilets in a woodshed situated there.

Excerpt from Helgo Zetterval’s original drawings of the main University building from 1874
Excerpt from Helgo Zetterval’s original drawings of the main University building from 1874 showed the premises on the first floor designated for the University management and administration. A designated ‘WC’ is seen on the upper side of the long cloakroom corridor. Image source: University Archives

However, the 1874 plan was greatly criticised by the authorities in Stockholm, particularly with regard to the gymnasium planned for the ground floor, which resulted in Zettervall producing a revised and less ambitious proposal in 1877. Gone were the bedle’s quarters at the present-day Palaestra and its woodshed. Instead, there was a proposal for caretaker’s quarters in part of the former gymnasium, which itself had become a place for ‘Historical collections’ (the current Pillared Hall). The latrine was removed. Remaining in the drawings was only the administration’s toilet, an unassuming remnant of what had once been an embarras des richesses of privies. On top of everything, we do not even know if this modern spin-off from Sjöströms’s privies was actually built; in the festschrift published by the University in memory of Oscar II’s 25-year anniversary of his reign in 1897, this useful fixture is not included in the otherwise detailed drawing of the main University building it contains. Perhaps there were no toilets built in the new main University building at all? Or perhaps it was considered indiscreet to remind his majesty of a throne other than the one he himself had ascended?

Irrespectively, what remains is the question of how people relieved themselves in the new main University building, and here we must admit that we have not succeeded in finding an answer. Since the matter was not considered pressing enough, no action was taken until 1929 when a new sanitary solution was planned for the building, and then in the basement, in the form of one bathroom for ladies and another for gentlemen with two and four closets respectively (presumably reflecting the assumed need at a time when there were approximately 6 male students for every female). This solution, an early architectural recognition of the admission of women to the academy, also points to the current-day visitors’ toilets in the main University building, which, as you may know, are located in the basement.

And with that, we’ve got everything out of our systems.

Fredrik Tersmeden & Henrik Ullstad

Archivists at the University Archive

June 26, 2020

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A recruiter’s tips when attending a Virtual Career Fair

typing on keyboard

Earlier this month, Lund University arranged its first ever virtual career fair. The online event was a great success, with over 1,000 attendees eager to virtually meet the 24 companies participating in the fair.

I interviewed Marie Norén, Gig Manager at Gigstep, which was one of the 24 participating companies, about her experience participating in the virtual career fair.

Tell me about your experience of the virtual career fair – how was it?

– We had some great dialogues with potential employees for upcoming assignments. The people we chatted with were curious, asked relevant questions and gave the impression of being well briefed about our company.

Do you have any previous experience of recruiting from virtual fairs?

– Gigstep hasn’t done anything like this before and to be honest, we were a bit skeptical at first. The face-to-face interaction you get during a physical job fair has been crucial for us. But the virtual fair was a very positive experience, we very much enjoyed it.

At the fair, how did you “meet” the attendees and establish contact?

– The setup with different conversation windows and virtual exhibition stands actually made it easier to establish contact with attendees. The chat was very useful and allowed several representatives from companies to have a dialogue with several different attendees. Our virtual exhibition stand also made it easier for us to convey our brand, as we could include ads, descriptions of our organisation as well as including visual elements such as pictures and videos.  

What are some of the pros and cons of a virtual career fair?

– At a” regular” job fair it’s sometimes hard to take in all impressions, since you meet so many different people. In our experience, the virtual fair was calmer with more qualitative dialogues through the chat. And another great thing is that the virtual fair makes it easy to link to our webpage, a relevant ad or to connect with each other on LinkedIn. However, I do prefer to meet people face-to-face because it’s a better way to develop a relationship with one another.

As an attendee, what can you do to prepare for a virtual fair?

– It’s always impressive when you notice that a person has visited your company’s webpage. Curiosity is key! Asking relevant questions is always a good idea. And also, it’s good to have thought about some of your strengths and weaknesses as well as your goals for your career path.

What are your best tips for students/alumni when participating in a virtual career fair? Any do’s and don’ts?

– It’s good to have a well-thought out presentation prepared for when you are going to be chatting with companies. And if there’s a company that you are extra interested in, it’s a good idea to follow up afterwards, either by email or a PM on LinkedIn. Lastly, be yourself. If you are a person who uses smileys in a text for example, do that!

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9 flowers under your pillow for a lovely Midsummer

The Midsummer night has always been surrounded by tales of mystery and magic. According to Swedish folklore, it was a perfect time to collect healing herbs and flowers as well as trying to predict the future. One of the activities that still lives on today is to put nine (or seven flowers) under your pillow at night. By doing so, you will meet your future spouse in your dreams.

We wish you a lovely and safe Midsummer weekend!

Source (in Swedish):

June 19, 2020

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Summer is here and with it came some good news!

University main building
Summer has arrived in Lund! Photo by Daniel Gunnarsson

Lund University named top 100

Lund University has been ranked as the top university in Sweden in the QS World University Rankings 2021. LU places 97th in the world, according to the prestigious ranking. Click here to learn more.

Art student from Iran named Global Swede 2020

The Global Swede award is given by the Swedish Institute to active, committed and enthusiastic students. This year, Zahra Moein, an Iranian art student, is one of 19 international students named a Global Swede 2020.
Check out the interview with the Zahra here.

Zahra Moein
June 15, 2020

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Congratulations graduates of 2020!


As you wrap up your studies and prepare for graduation, there is surely a lot on your mind. Lund University alumni have some messages of support as you leave your student years behind and continue on a new journey, especially in these current uncertain times. 

Katarina Strangarov

It will never be about the bad circumstances around you, people who do not perceive or value your qualities, chances you missed, your IQ, or your physical looks. It will always be about how much value you see in yourself, how much time you take to celebrate your success, how much understanding you have for your failures, and how much belief you have in your capabilities and dreams. This will make or break you. Focus all your energy on what you want, and life will serve it.

Katarina Štrangarov, Master in Service Management 2013, greetings from Austria


Tariro Mazodze

Firstly, I want to say congratulations for making it. Yes, the world will be different when you go out, but so will you. So you go out there and take the world by storm. All the best!! 

– Tariro Mazodze, Exchange student 2019, greetings from Zimbabwe



អបអរសាទរ! You have done a great job!

– Sophornna Chea, Master’s in Media and Communication Studies 2020, greetings from a fellow graduate this spring


[Translation] Don’t let Covid-19 eclipse the joy you have ALL the right to feel!

– Roger Orlinge, Social Work Degree 1982, greetings from Sweden


Soheila Ektefaie

[Translation] I remember the day that I arrived at Lund University. It was a beautiful day that I will never forget. I am sure that you had the same experience in some ways, too. We acquire knowledge in order to be able to deal with changes. Now you’re done, you have been working hard and should be proud of yourselves. You are unique and can make a difference. The society needs you in order to succeed. Sometimes you’ll be working alone and sometimes you will be working in a group. It does not matter. You are important; just go on. Together we can fight crises and flaws. My heart is with you. Please get in touch if I can be of any help. Good luck!

– Soheila Ektefaie, Bachelor’s programme in Human Rights studies, greetings from Sweden

Some messages have even come in on our Facebook page:

Messages for graduates

As you, too, become alumni, make sure to join the Lund University Alumni Network! Be a part of a global network and stay connected with Lund University. Membership is free and you can register here:

June 10, 2020

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