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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, student organizations in Swedenmarker, Finlandmarker, and, to a lesser degree, Scotlandmarker 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.



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


Corporations in Estoniamarker are very much like those in Germanymarker 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 together") 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.


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 during the nineteenth century when the government tried to diminish the importance of nations as political organizations.

It was traditional for students to belong to the nations of their provinces but the requirement was abolished in 1930s. Now, nations are a feature peculiar to the University of Helsinkimarker, the oldest Finnish university. Their membership is, since 1937, voluntary, and they concentrate on the student culture. There is also a Swedish-speaking nation (Teknologföreningenmarker) in the Helsinki University of Technologymarker.

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. This corporation 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.

See also Nations at the university.


Corporations in Francemarker are called bureaux des élèves, corporation or, for short, corpo.



Corporations in Italymarker are called goliardia.

Moreover, in Romemarker, there is a corporation of German Catholic students (mostly theologians), the Capitolina, associated with the German CV, and, in Bozenmarker, there is a German-speaking Catholic corporation, the Meinhardia, associated with the Austrian ÖCV.


In Tokyomarker, there is the corporation Edo-Rhenania, associated with the German CV.


Corporations in Latviamarker follow traditions similar to those in Germany, however "foxes" (first year members) do not wear colours. The first Latvian corporation, Lettonia was founded in 1870 at the University of Tartumarker (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 women's 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.


Active Lithuanian corporations:

Korp! Fraternitas Lithuanica, founded 1908 11 28

T.L.S. Korp! Neo-Lithuania, founded 1922 11 11

Korp!Vytis & ASD, established 1924 10 16

Korp!Gaja, founded 1928

Korp!Plienas, founded 1931 02 23

Korp!Tilia, founded 1989 11 07

Korp!Tautito, founded 1993 09 15

Corp!Republica, established 2001 09 02


Corporations in Polandmarker mostly follow traditions similar to those in Germanymarker, 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 Dorpatmarker. 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 Warsawmarker, Poznańmarker, Wrocławmarker, Gdańskmarker and Toruńmarker


The oldest corporation in the Netherlands, Vindicat atque Politmarker, was established in the Dutch city of Groningenmarker on 4 February 1815, other corporations were established in the cities of Utrechtmarker, Leidenmarker, Delftmarker, Amsterdammarker, Rotterdammarker, and Wageningenmarker.

During the first half of the nineteenth century, it was very common for every student to join such a corporation (or corps in Dutch). At the beginning of the twentieth 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.


See Nations in Scotland.


United States

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