Yesterday I traveled to Lund, the university town just ten miles from Malmö. As a hub of research and biotech companies, it’s one of the main reasons I decided to come to this area of Sweden. I had an interview set up for the afternoon (more about that in a health post later), so I arrived early to spend the morning sight-seeing.
Having done my research about budget-friendly touristy options, I decided to start my day at the free Drottens Arkeologiska Museum, containing the ruins of a Middle Ages church. However, I should have paid more attention to the “underground museum” descriptor. It’s less of a museum and more of an unattended rocky foundation with creepy lighting and a café built on top. I suppose you get what you pay for!
There was also a skeleton in the room, so that spiced it up a bit. I decided to move on fairly quickly.
Walking around, I realized that Lund is like a smaller Malmö without the mix-ins of modern architecture. It’s all old, classic Swedish style. So what about the research and the biotech? As it turns out, there is a very modern life science research park called “Medicon Village” a bit outside the city. The Medicon Village starts at the end of Lund University’s campus, where innovative research happens behind old stone walls.
The feel and culture of Lund is dominated by Lund University, which was founded in 1666. There weren’t many students around this week, but when school is in session, the 41,000 students comprise half of Lund’s total population. Especially when close to the campus, I kept feeling like I was at Oxford or Brown or Harvard.
I also visited the Botanical Gardens in Lund, which are free to visit and have a lovely greenhouse with multiple rooms, all separated with heavy doors to allow for multiple different climates. I was happy to be in a place with labeled trees, thinking of Swarthmore’s arboretum.
Just before noon I went to the Lunds domkyrka, the cathedral in town. It’s known for its fifteenth-century astronomical clock and calendar, which has a certain display at 12 noon. According to Wikipedia, the church was founded in 1080.
Many people were gathered to see the clock strike 12. To me, it looked like the clock hadn’t moved in centuries, and there was no ticking second hand, no evidence of timekeeping. 12:00pm passed, uneventful. Then 12:01pm. Then at 12:02pm, to my great surprise, the little knights on top of the clock raised their swords and brought them down, clang, 12 times as the bell tolled. It was really amazing.