Initially built for the League of Nations, the construction of the Palace of Nations began in 1929 and ended in 1938, a year before the League’s demise. Further infrastructure works were undertaken in the 50’s and 60’s resulting in the building we know today. Officially, the Palace of Nations has been the ONU/UN’s headquarters since 1946, shortly after WWII. Paradoxically, Switzerland only joined the UN in 2002.
Take a bus number 8 from Gare Cornavin to Appia bus stop, right next to the UN.
Another way to access UN Office: go to Palais des Nations (famous square with Borken Chair), by either tramway 15 or buses 5, 8, 11, 22, 28, V, F and Z. From here, walk a brief 5 minutes up the street Avenue de la Paix towards the main UN entry at Avenue de la Paix 12.
United Nations Guide
Group guided tours, which are the only way how to get inside the UN, are available in over 15 languages. From the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room to the Assembly Hall, the two-hour long tour will take you across all the main landmarks of this historical building.
The Serpent Bar, an extremely 70's cafeteria with a view over the lake and peacocks walking in the front garden. The perfect opportunity to take a selfie while enjoying fair-trade organic foods and drinks.
The SAFI shop is restricted to UN Office representatives. It sells the diplomat’s full panoply, from toiletries to tailor-made suits and fancy watches. The SAFI shop is not duty-free.
A book and souvenirs shop is available to visitors, it offers a large selection of books from international governmental organisations including UNESCO.
Over the years, the UN Office has been the scene of espionage, surveillance telephone tappings were found in different rooms of the building. Conveniently, nobody ever knew what country was responsible for installing those systems.
- Art collection (2000 international works of art)
- The Re-Birth sculpture (by Michelangelo Pistoletto, unveiled October 24th2015)
- Adapted for disabled guests
- Bar cafeteria
- Free WIFI hotspots
Around United Nations
- 2 important Geneva's museums are right next to Palace of Nations:
- Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum - One of Geneva's top museums, mapping the history and current mission of International Committee of the Red Cross.
- Ariana Museum - glass and ceramics museum.
- Ariana park (46 hectares)
- Place des Nations, with it's famous Broken Chair.
- Geneva's Botanical Gardens and Conservatory
Whether a visitor, press or delegate, the very complete UN website has an area dedicated to you.
Public and private conferences and committees are held daily, usually themed after peace, politics and humanistic values.
Have a look at the complete program for moreinformation.