Sweden // The southwest //


“There is a very tangible Lund spirit – those with it have … an ironic distance to everything, including themselves and Lund, a barb to deflate pompous self-importance”, wrote the Swedish essayist Jan Mårtensson. His compatriot, poet Peter Ortman, for his part once described what he termed “Lund syndrome”: “a mix of paranoia, exhibitionism and megalomania”. Whatever it is about the place, there is indeed a special spirit to LUND – a sense of tolerance (it’s more relaxed than other Swedish cities), and a belief that people should be judged by what they do, not by what they have.

A few kilometres inland and 54km south of Helsingborg, Lund’s reputation as a glorious old university city is well founded. An ocean of bikes is the first image to greet you at the train station, and like Oxford in England – with which Lund is usually aptly compared – there is a bohemian, laidback eccentricity in the air. With a twelfth-century Romanesque cathedral, medieval streets lined with a variety of architectural styles, and a wealth of cafés and restaurants, Lund is an enchanting little city that could well captivate you for a couple of days; it has a wide range of museums, a couple of them excellent, a mix of architectural grandeur, plus the buzz of student life. While Lund does lose much of its atmosphere during the summer months, some places remain open through June to August.