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The United Nations: a palace as grand as Versailles


The ineluctable Palace of Nations dominates the area. Through its monumentality and the sheer multitude of activities that take place under its roof, it breathes special energy into the city.

In 1919, Geneva was chosen as the head quarters of the League of Nations (LN). It was the first-ever intergovernmental organisation with a political vocation to be established at the heart of world diplomacy.

The need to build a ‘temple of peace' quickly became obvious. Several architects—Carlo Broggi (Italy), Julien Flegenheimer (Switzerland), Camille Lefèvre and Henri-Paul Nénot (France), and Joseph Vago (Hungary)—worked together on the project. The construction lasted from 1929 to 1937 and was the largest architectural project of its time in Europe. The building it gave birth to is as large as Versailles. The exterior of the complex, consisting of five buildings, is characterised by monumental Academicism; its interior, however, is decorated with outstanding works of art, reflecting the cultural diversity of the countries that made up the League.

The League of Nations stopped its activities with the Second World War. After its dissolution in 1946, the Palace became the European headquarters of the United Nations and, in 1966, the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG). Today, it is the venue for some 9,000 meetings yearly, making it the hub of global diplomatic activity.

Palais des Nations
8-14, avenue de la Paix (entrance via the Pregny Gate, opposite the ICRC)
1202 Geneva

+41 (0)22 917 48 96

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