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

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 burger 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 just how the chair-holder should carry out his teaching.

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 ends of tie-rods that rectify 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 so-called patronus and that this right should be passed on to his progeny. Curiously, this patronage remains to this day, in the sense that the present-day heir has the right to make a statement when the chair is appointed.

The Skytteanum is thus the residence of the professor, and premises for research and teaching in political science are attached, 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.