The society life of the Swedish Universities offers one feature which may be of interest, after the numerous descriptions of duelling and fighting organizations in the German institutions of learning. Sweden is divided into a number of provinces. These provinces, individually or in groups, together with two or three of the principal cities, such as Stockholm and Gothenburg, are represented in the universities by societies called "Nations." There are about a round dozen of these Nations, taking their names from the provinces or cities which they represent; the Gota Nation, from Gothenburg; Upland's Nation, Nerike's and Gefle, from provinces of the same names, and so on. The mere fact of a student belonging to a certain city or province entitles him, upon presenting credentials, to an "enlistment" into one of these Nations.
Each of the Nations has a club-house, its elaborateness depending on the wealth of the society. In every one of the principal clubs, there is a large hall of sufficient size to hold four or five hundred men. Here the great fetes take place, and banquets are given to the other Nations, the hall being used also as a ball-room on such occasions. At ordinary times the hall is used as a gathering place for the men where they smoke, gossip and listen to music by some of their number. Nothing goes on in or out of the university that is not immediately made known at the Nations. They take the place of the college paper in the student's daily life. Connected also with the clubs are library rooms and libraries, and various other rooms devoted to social purposes. The size and importance of the libraries depend, as does the building, on the wealth of the Nation, some of them containing several thousand volumes.
As can be readily seen, the main purpose of the Nations is to bring together men of common ties and sympathies, and, by this union, to bring them, in turn, into contact with all the rest of the university men. This system works admirably among our Swedish brothers, and it would seem to recommend itself to favor among students in American universities. Nothing can be more pleasant than acquaintance with men from one's own state or city, and frequently the acquaintance would never be made unless by some such method as this.
There are now three universities in Sweden, Upsala, Lund and Stockholm, named in the order of their importance. Upsala has between eighteen and nineteen hundred students, Lund about a thousand, and Stockholm, the youngest, a considerably smaller number. Admission to Stockholm does not necessitate a knowledge of Greek or Latin, while at Upsala and Lund they are required. The two latter universities have a somewhat arbitrary curriculum, while Stockholm gives a man great freedom of choice in his studies for a degree. By this course, although the youngest, she bids fair soon to rival even Upsala in wealth and numbers. All three of the universities are open to both sexes, and at Stockholm there is a chair in the highest mathematics occupied by a woman.