Working group to deal with Karolinska Institutet’s historical heritage

In October 2020, the president of Karolinska Institutet appointed a working group with the task to take a closer look at certain aspects of KI’s historical heritage, not least its connection to race biology and racism, from a historical and ethical perspective.

The work was divided into two parts. The first part concerned monuments and the use of personal names on buildings, lecture halls, and streets at the KI campuses in Solna and Huddinge. The second part concerns the content, history, use, and future of the anatomical collections at KI.

Report and decision

The working group presented its first report on September 27, 2021: Historiska minnesmärken och namngivning på Karlinska Institutet - förslag till hantering The report suggests principles for using personal names in the public space of KI. For instance, personal names on important buildings, lecture halls, and all streets on campus are suggested to be replace by other kinds of names.

The report also included a memorandum written by Petter Hellström, PhD, Uppsala University: Namngivning av fysiska miljöer vid Karolinska Institutet: en historisk översikt och inventering

The president of Karolinska Institutet made a decision (November 2, 2021) regarding naming and monuments at KI. The name Retzius will be removed from the lecture hall at campus Solna. KI recommends Solna municipality to change the street name Retzius.

See also: This has occured in the Retzius case