In various European countries, student caps of different types are, or have been, worn either as a marker of a common identity, as is the case in the Nordic countries, or to identify the wearer as a member of a smaller body within the larger group of students, as is the case with the caps worn by members of German Studentenverbindungen.
The calotte originates from the skullcap worn by the Zouave papal regiment around 1860. The calotte is cylindrical, made from velvet and astrakhan (pelt of newborn lamb. The color of the top is bordeau red for the universities of Brussels, Leuven, Louvain-la-Neuve and Namur, white for the University of Ghent and emerald for the University of Liège.
In the front of the calotte are stripes representing the Belgian flag (black, yellow and red) and stripes representing the colors of the city or the university where the calotte has been received. At the back of the calotte, the faculty of the student is represented by a color and a symbol, with if needed an additional symbol to determine the speciality. Golden stars around the calotte represent the number of years that the student has studied successfully (if a year has to be retaken, a silver star will represent it). In addition to that, a number of official and personal pins will be added to the calotte, all representing something about its owner examples include.