Corporation (university)

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The term corporation refers to different kinds of student organizations worldwide. Generally, universities in the various European countries have student organizations called corporations. The name is derived from the Latin corporatio meaning a body or group. There was an earlier type of student organization, called a nation from the Middle Ages, where students from all over Europe at a particular university would unite according to national (actually regional) lines. Today, many student organizations in Sweden, Finland, and, to a lesser degree, Scotland are still termed nations, while most of the rest of European universities, the organizations are considered corporations.

Below are short entries on the organizations found at universities on a country-by-country basis. There are also references to longer articles.


Sharing common roots, Austrian corporations are quite similar to their German counterparts. While Catholic corporations generally are associated with the Christian-conservative Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) and are generally pro-Austrian, other corporations, especially Burschenschaften, are involved with the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) and can be characterized as German-nationalist organizations.


Most Belgian corporations were founded during the last century. In French, they are called ordres, in Dutch studentenvereniging.

Non-exhaustive list of main active corporations :

  • ASMO, Academic Order of Saint Michel, founded in Brussels in 1937
  • Pétase, founded in Brussels in 1958
  • Academic Order of Saint-Louis, founded in Brussels in 1980
  • Vulcania, founded in Brussels in 1921
  • Vulcain, founded in Brussels in 1969
  • Bacchus, founded in Brussels in 1971
  • CDSO, founded in Brussels in 1967
  • ODSL, Order of the Disciples of Saint-Luc, founded in Brussels in 1989
  • Academicus Martini Quinti Ordo, founded Brussels in 1993
  • CDOSA, Saint Aubain, founded in Namur in 1984
  • Bretelle, founded in Namur in 1989
  • Torè, founded in Liège in 1921
  • OGS, Grand Seminar Order, founded in Liège in 1982
  • Emeraude, founded in Liège in 1988
  • Catholique, founded in Ghent in 1880
  • KASK, Koninklijke Antwerpse Studentenkring, founded in Leuven in 1881
  • KMKS, Koninklijke Mechelse Studentenkring, founded in Leuven in 1885
  • Vla-vla, founded in Leuven in 1922
  • de:Corps Flaminea Löwen, founded in Leuven 1989
  • ANLO, Academicus Neo Lovaniensis Ordo, founded in Louvain-la-Neuve in 1991
  • ASBO, Academicus Sanctae Barbae Ordo, founded in Louvain-la-Neuve in 1987
  • LSO, Lovaniensis Scientificus Ordo, founded in Louvain-la-Neuve in 1984
  • Neo Lovaniensis Phileasque Ordo, Philéas, founded in Louvain-la-Neuve in 1992
  • OAC, la charrue, founded in Louvain-la-Neuve in 1991
  • OBA, founded in Louvain-la-Neuve in 1992
  • FAMA, Famosa Absurdarum Mulierum Academia, founded in Louvain-la-Neuve in 1988



There are very few corporations in London, all of which were founded by students from continental Europe.

See also: de:Ian Lilburn (Scotto-Germania London)


Corporations in Estonia are very much like those in Germany though foxes (first-year members) do not wear colours, but a black cap instead. Estonian corporations usually have a circinus stitched to their caps, that is, the letters VCFC (an abbreviation for a Latin sentence: Vivat, crescat, floreat corporatio, meaning "Live, grow, prosper corporation") and the initials of the name of the corporation. Corporations are popular in Estonia. Other student organisations or societies with a lengthy tradition, but without the name, corporation, are also commonly referred to as corporations.

Active corporations and student societies in Estonia:

Male corporations, members of the League of Estonian Corporations:

Female corporations:

  • Korp! Filiae Patriae, founded in Tartu October 27, 1920.
  • Korp! Indla, founded in Tartu March 7, 1924.
  • Korp! Lembela, founded in Tartu October 24, 1924.
  • Korp! Amicitia, founded in Tartu November 21, 1924.
  • Korp! Sororitas Estoniae, founded in Tallinn February 16, 2011

Other corporations and student societies:

  • Estonian Students' Society, founded in Tartu April 7, 1870.
  • EÜS Põhjala, founded in Saint Petersburg November 13, 1884.
  • ÜS Liivika, founded in Riga April 21, 1909.
  • Estonian Women Students' Society, founded in Tartu November 14, 1911.
  • EÜS Veljesto, founded in Tartu February 24, 1920.
  • ÜS Raimla, founded in Tartu September 22, 1922.
  • ÜÜ Fraternitas Fennica, founded in Tartu October 22, 1926.
  • Korp! Ave, founded in Tallinn, October 29, 1987.
  • Korp! Arminia Dorpatensis, founded in Tartu October 24, 1850, refounded in Tartu May 2, 1994.


Corporations in Finland are called in Finnish osakunta, in English, "nations". The name refers to the historical custom of the continental universities where students usually formed corporations according to their home nations. In Swedish universities, the same practice was followed by the provinces but the name remained. The Finnish version of the name actually is an archaic form of department, and this name was adopted to replace the term "kansakunta" ("nation" in the purely ethnic sense) during the 19th century when the Russian government tried to diminish the importance of nations as political organizations.

Earlier, it was traditional for students to belong to the nations of their provinces. Since 1937, students could resign from their nation, but they still had to pay the fee to the nation throughout their time at the university. This compulsory fee was abolished in the 1960s. Nowadays, the nations are a feature peculiar to the University of Helsinki, the oldest Finnish university and they concentrate on the student culture. There is also a Swedish-speaking nation, Teknologföreningen, at Aalto University School of Science and Technology.

In most universities, the primary form of corporation is an association of students majoring in a particular subject. In the universities of technology, these are called guilds.

In addition to the voluntary corporations, every Finnish university student is also required to be a member of the general student corporation of the university, the Student Union (ylioppilaskunta, studentkår), which has the power to levy a membership fee. The union also has the legal power to represent the students to the university administration and in all other matters. It also organizes the health care of the students.


Corporations in France are called bureau des étudiants, corporation or, for short, corpo.




Corporations in Italy are known as confraternite studentesche or collectively as goliardia (from Goliard), although the latter generally refers to the spirit they follow (conviviality, license, celebrating love and drink, and making satyrical songs).

There are also two German-speaking Catholic corporations. In Rome, the Capitolina, associated with the German CV, and composed mainly of German Theology students. In Bozen, the Meinhardia, associated with the Austrian ÖCV.


In Tokyo, there is the corporation AV Edo-Rhenania zu Tokio, associated with the German CV.

Furthermore, Canada, British Columbia The Japanese student corporation is there, called Ouka. The meaning is Cherry blossom. The Ouka related with bushido and Tokyo Angling and Country Club.


Corporations in Latvia follow traditions similar to those in Germany, however a "fuksis" (from Latin: faex "sediment", first year members) does not wear colours, but a black cap instead with a circinus stitched to it, usually made of silver. Although there are some differences, tradition of the Baltic, to include Latvian corporations is still based on 1812 Jena rules. The Baltic branch of German tradition is distinct to Latvian, Estonian, Polish and some German corporations founded at universities of Tartu and Riga. Their umbrella organizations maintain reciprocal links. THe umbrella organization for Latvian student corporations is the Presidium Convent (P!K!) and for female corporations the Female Student Presidium Convent or S!P!K!.

Latvian student corporations are closed, lifelong organizations and strictly wear 3 colours. During the Soviet occupation corporations were prohibited but they continued to work abroad, among Latvian refugees in countries like the USA, Canada, Australia, Sweden and Germany. In Latvia corporations renewed operation after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The first Latvian corporation, Lettonia was founded in 1870 at the University of Tartu (then Dorpat). It combined beer, commercium songs, and academic fencing traditions of German corporations with Latvian nationalism and a strong emphasis on Latvian culture. The first Latvian corporation founded in Riga was Selonija, founded in 1880 at the Riga Polytechnicum. The first female corporation, Daugaviete, was founded in 1921 at the University of Latvia. As of 2004, Latvia has 23 male and 13 female corporations, with about 10,000 members in total.

Various academic lifelong organisations (student societies etc.)with similar traditions, also sometimes named as corporations, but with differences in traditions and symbols, are also active in Latvia.

See also: de:Präsidenkonvent

Active student corporations in Latvia:

  • Lettonia, founded in Tartu February 19, 1870
  • Fraternitas Arctica, Russian minority corporation, founded in Riga November 7, 1880
  • Selonija, founded in Riga November 24, 1880
  • Lettgallia, founded in Tartu February 8, 1899
  • Talavija, founded in Riga December 14, 1900
  • Fraternitas Lettica, founded in Moscow October 20, 1902
  • Latvia, founded in Tartu February 17, 1917
  • Ventonia, founded in Tartu November 21, 1917
  • Tervetia, founded in Riga April 30, 1922
  • Beveronija, founded in Riga May 4, 1922
  • Philyronia, founded in Liepāja (Libau) July 7, 1924
  • Fraternitas Metropolitana, founded in Riga October 6, 1924
  • Fraternitas Vesthardiana, founded in Riga October 8, 1924
  • Fraternitas Academica, founded in Riga February 4, 1925
  • Fraternitas Lataviensis, founded in Riga September 16, 1926
  • Patria, founded in Riga September 20, 1926
  • Fraternitas Livonica, founded in Riga October 29, 1926
  • Vendia founded in Riga March 20, 1927
  • Lacuania, founded in Riga December 7, 1927
  • Fraternitas Imantica, founded in Pinneberg February 18, 1947
  • Gersicania, founded in Pinneberg March 14, 1947
  • Fraternitas Cursica, founded in Pinneberg May 7, 1947
  • Fraternitas Vanenica, founded in Munich June 20, 1947

Active female student corporations in Latvia:

  • Daugaviete, founded in Riga 1921
  • Gundega, founded in Riga 1923
  • Dzintra, founded in Riga 1924
  • Imeria, founded in Riga 1924
  • Selga, founded in Riga 1927
  • Gaujmaliete, founded in Riga 1927
  • Varavīksne, founded in Riga 1927
  • Sororitas Tatiana, founded in Riga 1932
  • Aurora, founded in Riga 1933
  • Spīdola, founded in Pinneberg 1947
  • Zinta, founded in Pinneberg 1947
  • Staburadze, founded in Munich 1947
  • Līga, founded in Riga 1993, dissolved in 2003, resumed full activity in 2014

Student societies and other organisations


Active Lithuanian corporations:


Corporations in Poland mostly follow traditions similar to those in Germany, however "fuxes" (first year members) do not wear full colours. The first Polish corporation, Konwent Polonia, was established in 1828 by the Polish students of the University of Dorpat. The second and third oldest corporations were established by the Polish students of the Riga Technical University: Arkonia (1879) and Welecja (1883). There were more than one hundred corporations in Poland between 1918 and 1939. During communism in Poland (1944–1989), corporations were forbidden. Today about fifteen corporations continue to be active in Poland, at the universities in Warsaw, Kraków, Poznań, Wrocław, Gdańsk and Toruń


The oldest corporation in the Netherlands, the Groninger Studenten Corps 'Vindicat atque Polit', was established in the Dutch city of Groningen on 4 February 1815. Years later other corporations were established in the cities of Utrecht, Leiden, Delft, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Wageningen.

During the first half of the 19th century, it was very common for every student to join such a corporation (or corps in Dutch). At the beginning of the 20th century, more types of student associations were established, and many had a religious basis.

During World War II, all corpora (Latin plural of corps) not willing to subscribe to the new German law that Jewish students no longer could become member of non-commercial unions, the corpora either closed-down or became clandestine organizations. During the 1970s, most of the corporations started to enroll women as fully accepted members. Now, corporations and other student associations are widespread in the Netherlands.

Name of corporation: Founded in:
Leidse Studenten Vereniging 'Minerva' 1839
Groninger Studenten Corps 'Vindicat atque Polit' 1815
Utrechtsch Studenten Corps 1816
Delftsch Studenten Corps 1848
Amsterdamsch Studenten Corps / Amsterdamsche Vrouwelijke Studenten Vereeniging 1851
Wageningse Studenten Vereniging Ceres 1878
Utrechtsche Vrouwelijke Studenten Vereeniging / Nieuwe Vereniging van Vrouwelijke Studenten te Utrecht 1899
Rotterdams Studenten Corps / Rotterdamse Vrouwelijke Studenten Vereniging 1913




There is a continuous tradition of corporations in Switzerland which goes back to the early 19th century. Especially in its beginnings, political developments had a strong influence on the foundation of corporations and their activities. In the 1840s, the catholic-conservative Schweizerischer Studentenverein was founded as the counterpart of the radical-liberal Schweizerischer Zofingerverein which led to religion playing a more important role in corporation life. Today, many corporations are still active (the Schweizerischer Studentenverein being the biggest umbrella organization), but play a less significant role in society. Swiss corporations call themselves Studentenverbindung and resemble strongly to German Studentenverbindungen.

Further reading:

United States[edit]

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