About Palais des Nations
The Palais des Nations (Palace of Nations) is the home of the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland. A hugely busy building, it hosted more than 10,000 intergovernmental meetings in 2012 alone.
History of Palais des Nations
The Palais was built between 1929 and 1938 after a competition was held for its design. It was built to serve as the headquarters of the League of Nations, and at the time of its completion, it was the second-largest building complex in Europe after Versailles. It overlooks Lake Geneva and has a clear view of the French Alps.
The Palais des Nations in Geneva has been the official European headquarters of the United Nations since 1966 – second in importance only to New York. Prior to this, the Palais des Nations was originally home to the League of Nations, leading to it also being known as the Volkerbund or ‘League of Nations’ Palace.
Now at a length of some 600 metres, the grand Palais des Nations is where one finds several important elements of the UN, including its Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and Human Rights Council.
Palais des Nations Today
The facility is an outstanding testimony to 20th century architecture. Situated in the beautiful Ariana park, it is a popular tourist site both for its historical and political significance and for its scenery.
Guided and thematic tours of the Palais des Nations are available to the general public, who can see important places such as its 2,000-seater assembly hall – the largest room in the palace – and the Council Chamber, as well as learning about the history and role of the UN.
Getting to Palais des Nations
From the centre of Geneva, the Palais des Nations is a 9 minute drive via Rue de Montbrillant. Equally, Geneva’s extensive public transport system has frequent buses which depart from Cornavin and take around 6 minutes to reach the Appia stop, after which it is a 4 minute walk to the Palais des Nations. From the city centre, the Palais is a 35-40 minute walk via Rue de Montbrillant.