Since the 1920s, numerous Swedish nationals wanted to see a maison suédoise at the Cité universitaire to reflect the good relationship between France and Sweden. It was to welcome Swedish students who wanted to live in Paris to try to better understand France and to meet other students and researchers.
An appeal was notably signed by Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf and Prince Eugén, the Prime Minister Carl Ekman, Minister of Foreign Affairs Eliel Löfgren, industrialists such as Ivar Kreuger and universities to raise the funds. The Maison des étudiants suédois owes its existence to the action and financial contribution of the “L’amitié franco-suédoise” association and to the contribution of private financial resources, in particular from the Fondation Wallenberg. These donations were supplemented by regular grants from the Swedish government.
The house holds the status of a foundation and is recognised as a public utility of which the board of directors is chaired by the Swedish ambassador in France.
With its 44 rooms, the Maison des étudiants suédois is the smallest at the Cité internationale. Its scale, conducive to conviviality and encounters, makes it one of the most popular buildings at the Cité internationale.
The building, designed by the architects Peder Clason and Germain Debré was inaugurated in 1931 in the presence of the president of the French Republic Paul Doume and the future king Gustave VI Adolphe of Sweden.
The building is distinguished by its 18th century manor character with its high roof with overhang that is punctuated with bull’s eye windows and dormers. The house, which has four sections of rooms on the ground floor, directly references the Swedish tradition of windows on the façade’s exterior. The French windows have blue shutters and add a Nordic touch to the façade as well as enhance the terrace.
The ground floor has a small lounge that has access to a south-facing terrace that looks onto the park. Every floor has a small furnished lounge, a kitchen and a dining spaces for around 10 rooms. The attention paid to the furniture made from birch and maple, and which was made in Sweden, corresponds to the founders’ desire to offer students a residence more similar to a family home than a college.