Lunds universitet 350 år
Lund University celebrates its 350 years’ anniversary in 2017 – 351 years after its foundation, and 349 years after its inauguration. After a presentation of the very different centenaries 1868 and 1968, the 2017 celebrations are presented as a third alternative. New efforts to emphasize the importance of Bishop Peder Winstrup as the so-called founder of the university started with the discovery of his uncommonly well-preserved mummy. However, the status of his dead body does not change the historical fact that Lund University, as the only one in Sweden, was founded by a woman, the Dowager Queen Hedwig Eleonora, acting as both mistress of the realm and public representative of the minor king. The role of the women before the first female students, doctors, and professors – as sponsors and as listeners to public lectures, etc. is underplayed in a development-optimistic perspective.
As in other jubilees, the road up to today’s peak is drawn as a way to a top, behind which even higher tops are painted up. This seems to be a common jubilee feature. Despite the necessary historical view, there is much “presentism” in the celebrations: one is concerned mostly with the present time, and the efforts of politicians and other actors to order certain kinds of research. However, instead of an additional history of the latest 50 years, a problematised, thematic book on the university’s external contacts has been produced.
The combination of serious and joke in Lundensian mentality is being depicted, as well as the university’s special relations with the city of Malmö, with the new Malmö University on one hand, and parts of the faculty of Medicin and the whole Artistic faculty of Lund University being located in Malmö, on the other hand.
Human life is too short to remember or grasp 350 years. Individual memories play an important role for the celebrations, but a 350 years old university is something more than the sum of its individual memories. As an institution it has a history, a responsibility, and a future.