Uppsala University no longer provides living quarters for professors or other employees. With one exception – Skytteanum. In this building, southeast of the Cathedral, easily recognised by its distinctive semicircular archway, is still the residence of the Johan Skytte Professor of Eloquence and Government.

Aerial view of the Skytteanum building, with Uppsala Cathedral in the background.

The building and the chair are named after Johan Skytte, born in 1577. He was the son of a burgher who studied in Germany and was later appointed to tutor Prince Gustavus Adolphus. When he was made a nobleman, he took the name Skytte. He attained the highest position in the nation, Councillor of the Realm, in 1617, and in 1622 he was appointed Chancellor of Uppsala University. He is probably best known for establishing and endowing the professorial chair in 1622. He also prescribed in detail exactly how the chair-holder should carry out his teaching duties.

He donated the building to serve as the residence of the chair-holder. It originates from the 14th century and was rather dilapidated when Johan Skytte bought it. He restored the building, and in 1626 the first professor could move in. On the side of the building there are very large letters, actually decorative anchor plates for reinforcing the building. The letters are: H I S F R and F M N T G. Over the years students have come up with many humorous interpretations of the initials, but what they really stand for, in Swedish, is: Herr Johan Skytte Friherre Riksråd and Fru Maria Nääf Till Grönsöö (Mr Johan Skytte, Baron, Councillor of the Realm, and Mrs Maria Nääf Till Grönsöö).

Skytte had stipulated that the holder of the chair must be appointed by him as the patronus and that this right should be passed on to his descendants. Curiously, this patronage survives to this day, in the sense that the present-day heir has the right to make a statement when a new holder is appointed to the chair.

The Skytteanum is thus the residence of the professor, and also comprises premises for research and teaching in political science, two small buildings and a large garden. The Skytte Chair is considered the oldest professorship in political science in the world, and the building, with its garden, is a quaint feature of the academic milieu in Uppsala.

Two students studying in the Skytteanum's garden on a sunny day
The garden of Skytteanum is open to public on weekdays. 

Last modified: 2022-09-19