Chalmers Cortège 2018


Written by Usisipho

04 May 2018

Every year on Valborg (30 April), The Chalmers Cortège takes place, attracting around 250 000 people! This year people were willing to brave the rain to catch the show. So, what’s the deal behind this massive event?


Cortège is a parade or carnival hosted by Chalmers University of Technology. It has happened (almost) every year since 1909! Hundreds of students spend time designing, and building carriages / floats and vehicles for a week or two. These are then paraded through the city starting from campus, through the Gothenburg city centre, and back to campus again. The carriages are often accompanied by music, marching bands and dancers.

The start of Cortège | Source: Usisipho

The build up to Cortège is quite an exciting time on campus! Hundreds of students can be seen wearing their signature white lab coats (labbrock or läkarrock). Although after all that building, they rarely stay white. The main parking lot is cleared, and Byggplatsen (the building site) is set up. This is where the students gather to build their carriages, get access to cheap food, beer, and even live music shows and events. During this time, a theme song (Cortègelåten) plays during the entire day and can be heard in the area. To be honest, I’m not sure how they put up with hearing the same song for so many hours a day!

Builders at byggplatsen | Source: Usisipho

In addition to the carriages, a magazine or program is published and sold to accompany the event. It contains a list and description of all the carriages, comics, funny drawings and interviews with performers. Here’s a couple of examples:

Did you know Elvis has a big brother? | Source: Cortègeprogram 2018

Being able to count in Swedish may help for the above joke. But here’s an English example:

Arch enemies | Source: Cortègeprogram 2018
Despite the rain, there was no shortage of people! | Source: Usisipho

So what kind of carriages do they build? A whole bunch! The carriages are most often based on popular culture. Anything from big news headlines, sports events, to politics. Additionally, in traditional Gothenburg style, puns and jokes are also a popular theme! Here’s some photos of examples from Chalmers Cortège 2018:

Funky vehicles | Source: Usisipho
To funky bicycles | Source: Usisipho
The Hawaiian missile scare | Source: Usisipho
Marching bands | Source: Usisipho
100 years of Finnish independence | Source: Usisipho

Want to read about Cortège 2015? Check out Gimmy’s post here!

Curious about life at Chalmers in general? Read about my impressions after 6 months here! Otherwise, feel free to email me with any questions you have, at usisipho.studyinsweden -at-


Written by Usisipho

04 May 2018