A brief history

Education and research since 1666

Higher education has been taking place in Lund ever since the foundation of a studium generale in 1438, which trained future pastors. It was operational from 1438, until the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658, when Denmark lost the southern counties to Sweden. Then, in 1666, to demonstrate the re-establishment of Swedish control, Lund University was founded.

Portrait of Queen Hedvig Eleonora, who took an active part in the founding of the University. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

The University is founded, 1666–1668

Lund University was founded on 19 December 1666, with its own charter, endowment letter and constitutions under Karl XI’s regency with Queen Hedvig Eleonora at the helm. Due to a delay in the delivery of robes and insignia to the professors, the formal inauguration took place on 28 January 1668, on the King’s name day.

The new university was named Regia Academia Carolina – The Royal Carolingian Academy. At its inception, it only had four faculties; theology, law, medicine, and philosophy. Lund University became the widespread denomination in the late 19th century.

At the outset, the University did not have any premises of its own and teaching took place in the cathedral (right). At the end of the 1600s, King Karl XI donated the King’s House (left) to the University, which thereby acquired its first main building.

From the first chair in economics to the digital future

The teaching of business-related subjects traces back to 1750, when the University got its first chair in economics. However, at that time, the professors usually had much broader academic fields to cover and they were often affiliated with other faculties within the university. For example, in the early days following his appointment at the university, the most well-known professor of Economics from Lund, Knut Wicksell, was professor of Economics and Fiscal Law at the Faculty of Law. Other professors combined Economics with subjects such as Botany, Mathematics or Mechanics. 

Over the years to come, the departments that today constitute the School of Economics and Management were established. The Department of Economics was established in 1901 within the Faculty of Law, the Department of Statistics was started in 1926 within the Faculty of Philosophy, while the Department of Economic History emerged as a separate department within the Faculty of Humanities around 1950. The Department of Business Administration was established in 1958, the Department of Business Law in 1962, and the Department of Informatics in 1965, all within the Faculty of Social Sciences.

In 1961, the Faculty of Business and Economics was established and the first class of 100 students was enrolled for a three year long programme. Since then, thousands of students have been educated in business and economics at Lund University.

Although there is a long history of informal ties and close co-operation between the different units, the formal development of a unified School began in the late 1980s, when the first part of the campus, the Holger Crafoord Centre, was built with generous donations from the Crafoord Foundation. The building is named after the founder of the foundation, the industrialist Holger Crafoord (1908-1982). The Holger Crafoord Centre was built in three stages during the period 1988-1998.

An organisational change in 2004 led to the establishment of the School of Economics and Management as a separate faculty in its own right at Lund University.

In 2006 the Centre for Economic Demography was awarded a unique Linnaeus grant from the Swedish Research Council securing long-term financing, and in 2011 the Knut Wicksell Centre of Financial Studies was established following a long-term VINNOVA grant. In 2014, the interdisciplinary Centre for Retail Research, involving researchers from a range of disciplines including ethnology, engineering and marketing and management was established based on a long-term grant from the Swedish Retail and Wholesale Development Council.

All centres at LUSEM are built on interdisciplinary approaches. The interdisciplinary approach is also the foundation for LUSEM’s most recent establishments; SITE (Strategy, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship), and the Sustainable Future Hub.

At present, the School is actively working on setting up the most recent focus area with the working title of Digital Future.

Knut Wicksell is considered one of the founders of modern macroeconomics. He was professor of Economics and Fiscal Law in Lund 1901–1916.

Lund University

Lund University has a long and vibrant history covering more than 350 years of teaching and research. Today it is one of the largest universities in Scandinavia with nine different faculties; Law, Economics and Management, Humanities and Theology, Fine and Performing Arts, Medicine, Science, Social Sciences, and Engineering.

Lund University is a member of the prestigious research-intensive university networks Universitas 21 (U21) and the League of European Research Universities (LERU).

Two of the world’s foremost research facilities for materials research and life science are established in Lund. MAX IV, inaugurated in June 2016, is the leading synchrotron radiation facility in the world.

The European research facility ESS will be the world’s most powerful neutron source when it opens for research in 2023.

MAX IV and ESS will have a major impact on future scientific and industrial development in both materials science and life science.

Ideon Science Park, Medicon Village and Science Village Scandinavia are closely linked to Lund University, integrating research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

More information

A brief history of Lund University

Traditions at Lund University

Last published: 2020-02-07