is the second most populous
city in Switzerland
) and is the most populous city of Romandy
, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Situated where the Rhône
, it is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva
The municipality (ville de Genève)
has a population (as of December 2014) of 197,376, and the canton
(which is essentially the city and its inner-ring suburbs) has 482,545 residents.
In 2011, the compact agglomération franco-valdo-genevoise
or Grand Genève
) had 915,000 inhabitants in both – Switzerland and France (< 30mins distance). Within Swiss territory, the commuter area named "Métropole lémanique
" contains a population of 1.25 million. This area is essentially spread east from Geneva towards the Riviera area (Vevey
) and north-east towards Yverdon-les-Bains
, in the neighbouring canton ofVaud
Geneva is a global city
, a financial center, and worldwide center for diplomacy
due to the presence of numerous international organizations
, including the headquarters of many of the agencies of the United Nations
and the Red Cross
Geneva is the city that hosts the highest number of international organizations in the world.
It is also the place where the Geneva Conventions
were signed, which chiefly concern the treatment of wartime non-combatants and prisoners of war
Geneva was ranked as the world's ninth most important financial centre
for competitiveness by the Global Financial Centres Index
, ahead of Frankfurt
, and third in Europe behind London and Zürich.
A 2009 survey by Mercer
found that Geneva has the third-highest quality of life
of any city in the world (behind Vienna
for expatriates; it is narrowly outranked by Zürich).
The city has been referred to as the world's most compact metropolis and the "Peace Capital".
In 2009 and 2011, Geneva was ranked as, respectively, the fourth and fifth most expensive city
in the world.
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (October 2013)
The city was mentioned in Latin
) with the spelling Genava
, probably from a Celtic
from the stem *genu-
("bend, knee"), in the sense of a bending river or estuary
The medieval county of Geneva
in Middle Latin
was known as pagus major Genevensis
or Comitatus Genevensis
), after 1400 becoming the Genevois
province of Savoy
(albeit not extending to the city proper, until the Reformation
the seat of the bishop of Geneva
The name takes various forms in modern languages, Geneva
in English, French
: Genève [ʒ(ə)nɛv]
: Genf [ˈɡɛnf] ( listen)
: Ginevra [dʒiˈneːvra]
, and Romansh
The city in origin shares its name, *genawa
"estuary", with the Italian port city of Genoa
(in Italian Genova
Geneva was an Allobrogian
border town, fortified against the Celtic tribe Helvetii
, when the Romans took it in 121 BC. It became Christian
under the Late Roman Empire
, and acquired its first bishop
in the 5th century, having been connected to the bishopric of Vienne
in the 4th.
In the Middle Ages
, Geneva was ruled by a count
under the Holy Roman Empire
until the late 14th century, when it was granted a charter giving it a high degree of self-governance. Around this time the House of Savoy
came to (at least nominally) dominate the city. In the 15th century, anoligarchic republican
government emerged with the creation of the Grand Council
. In the first half of the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation
reached the city, causing religious strife during which Savoy rule was thrown off and Geneva allied itself with the Swiss Confederacy
. In 1541, with Protestantism in the ascendancy, John Calvin
, the founder of Calvinism
, became the spiritual leader of the city. By the 18th century, however, Geneva had come under the influence of Catholic France
, which cultivated the city as its own, who tended to be at odds with the ordinary townsfolk – to the point that an abortive revolution took place in 1782. In 1798, revolutionary France under the Directory
annexed Geneva. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars
, on 1 June 1814, Geneva was admitted to the Swiss Confederation
. In 1907, the separation of Church and State was adopted. Geneva flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries, becoming the seat of many international organizations.
Geography and climate
Geneva seen from SPOT Satellite
Geneva is located at 46°12' North, 6°09' East, at the south-western end of Lake Geneva
, where the lake flows back into the Rhône
. It is surrounded by two mountain chains, the Alps
and the Jura
The Geneva area seen from the Salève in France. The Jura mountains can be seen on the horizon.
The city has an area of 15.93 km2
(6.2 sq mi), while the area of the canton
is 282 km2
(108.9 sq mi), including the two small enclaves
. The part of the lake that is attached to Geneva has an area of 38 km2
(14.7 sq mi) and is sometimes referred to as Petit lac
(small lake). The canton has only a 4.5 km (2.8 mi) long border with the rest of Switzerland. Of 107.5 km (66.8 mi) of border, 103 are shared with France, the Départment de l'Ain
to the north and the Département de la Haute-Savoie
to the south.
Of the land in the city, 0.24 km2
(0.093 sq mi) or 1.5% is used for agricultural purposes, while 0.5 km2
(0.19 sq mi) or 3.1% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 14.63 km2
(5.65 sq mi) or 91.8% is settled (buildings or roads), 0.49 km2
(0.19 sq mi) or 3.1% is either rivers or lakes and 0.02 km2
(4.9 acres) or 0.1% is unproductive land.
Of the built up area, industrial buildings made up 3.4% of the area while housing and buildings made up 46.2% and transportation infrastructure 25.8%, while parks, green belts and sports fields made up 15.7%. All the forested land area is covered with heavy forests. Of the agricultural land, 0.3% is used for growing crops. Of the water in the municipality, 0.2% is in lakes and 2.9% is in rivers and streams.
Confluence of the Rhône and the Arve
The altitude of Geneva is 373.6 metres (1,225.7 ft), and corresponds to the altitude of the largest of the Pierres du Niton
, two large rocks emerging from the lake which date from the last ice age
. This rock was chosen by General Guillaume Henri Dufour
as the reference point for surveying in Switzerland.
The second main river of Geneva is the Arve
which flows into the Rhône
just west of the city centre. Mont Blanc
can be seen from Geneva and is an hour's drive from the city centre.
Average temperature and precipitation 1961–1990
The climate of Geneva is temperate
: Cfb). Winters are cool, usually with light frosts at night and thawing conditions during the day. Summers are pleasantly warm. Precipitation is adequate and is relatively well-distributed throughout the year, although autumn is slightly wetter than the other seasons. Ice storms near Lac Léman
are quite normal in the winter. In the summer many people enjoy swimming in the lake, and frequently patronise public beaches such as Genève Plage and the Bains des Pâquis
. Geneva, in certain years, receives snow in the colder months of the year. The nearby mountains are subject to substantial snowfall and are suitable for skiing. Many world-renowned ski resorts such as Verbier
are just over two hours away by car. Mont Salève
(1400 m), just across the border in France, dominates the southerly view from the city centre. The famous Mont Blanc
is visible from most of the city, enclosed in the mountain alp range surrounding nearby Chamonix
, which is one of the closest French skiing destinations to Geneva. There are a number of other Northern Alps ski resorts that are easily accessible from Geneva Airport including those of the Grand Massif such as Samoens, Morillon and Flaine as well as Le Grand Bornand and La Clusaz.
During the years 2000–2009, the mean yearly temperature was 11 °C and the mean number of sunshine-hours per year was 2003.
The highest temperature recorded in Genève–Cointrin was 39.7 °C (103.5 °F) in July 2015, and the lowest temperature recorded was -20.0 °C (-4.0 °F) in February 1956.
|Climate data for Genève–Cointrin (Reference period 1981–2010), Records (1901 - 2015)
|Record high °C (°F)
|Average high °C (°F)
|Daily mean °C (°F)
|Average low °C (°F)
|Record low °C (°F)
|Average precipitation mm (inches)
|Average snowfall cm (inches)
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)
|Average snowy days (≥ 1.0 cm)
|Average relative humidity (%)
|Mean monthly sunshine hours
|Percent possible sunshine
|Source #1: MeteoSwiss 
|Source #2: KNMI
The city is divided into eight quartiers
, or districts, sometimes composed of several neighborhoods. On the Left Bank are (1) Jonction, (2) Centre. Plainpalais, and Acacias, (3) Eaux-Vives, and (4) Champel, while the Right Bank includes (1) Saint-Jean and Charmilles, (2) Servette and Petit-Saconnex, (3) Grottes and Saint-Gervais, and (4) Paquis and Nations.
Logo of the city of Geneva
The City Council (Conseil administratif
) constitutes the executive
government of the City of Geneva and operates as a collegiate authority
. It is composed of five councilors (French
: Conseiller administratif/ Conseillère administrative
), each presiding over a department. The president of the executive department acts as mayor
). In the governmental year 2015/2016 the City Council is presided by Madame la maire de Genève Esther Alder
. Departmental tasks, coordination measures and implementation of laws decreed by the City Parliament are carried by the City Council. The election of the City Council is held every five years. The current mandate period (la législature
) is from 1 June 2015 to 31 May 2020. The executive body holds its meetings in the Palais Eynard
, near the Parc des Bastions. The building was built between 1817 and 1821 in Neoclassical style.
As of 2015, Geneva's City Council is made up of two representatives of the PS (Social Democratic Party
), and one member each of PES (Green Party
, who is also the mayor for the current year), Ensemble à Gauche
(an alliance of the left parties PST-POP
(Parti Suisse du Travail - Parti Ouvrier et Populaire
) and solidaritéS
), and PDC (Christian Democratic Party
), giving the left parties a very strong four out of five seats. The last election was held on 19 April 2015. All of the previous members were re-elected.
Le Conseil administratif of Geneva 
(M. Conseiller adminstratif/ Mme Conseillère administrative)
||Head of Office (Département, since) of
|Esther Alder[SR 1]
||Social Cohesion and Solidarity (Département de la cohésion sociale et de la solidarité, )
|Guillaume Barazzone[SR 2]
||Urban Environment and Security (Département de l’environnement urbain et de la sécurité, )
|| Ensemble à Gauche
||Construction and Development (Département des constructions et de l’aménagement, )
||Finance and Housing (Département des finances et du logement, )
||Culture and Sports (Département de la culture et du sport, )
- Jump up^ Mayor (Madame la maire de Genève) 2015/16
- Jump up^ Vice President (Vice-présidant) 2015/16
Le Conseil municipal
of Geneva for the mandate period of 2015-2020
Ensemble à gauche (PST-POP & Sol) (12.5%)
Les Verts (PES) (10%)
The City Parliament (Conseil municipal
) holds legislative power
. It is made up of 80 members, with elections held every five years. The City Parliament decrees regulations and by-laws that are executed by the City Council and the administration. The sessions of the City Parliament are public. Unlike members of the City Council, members of the City Parliament are not politicians by profession, and they are paid a fee based on their attendance. Any resident of Geneva allowed to vote can be elected as a member of the City Parliament. The Parliament holds its meetings in the Town Hall (Hôtel de Ville
), in the old city.
The last election of the City Parliament was held on 20 April 2015 for the mandate period (législature
) of 2015-2020. Currently the City Parliament consist of 19 members of the Social Democratic Party (PS)
, 15 Les Libéraux-Radicaux (PLR)
, 11 Christian Democratic People's Party (PDC)
, 11 Geneva Citizens' Movement (MCG,)
, 10Ensemble à Gauche
(an alliance of the left parties PST-POP
(Parti Suisse du Travail - Parti Ouvrier et Populaire
) and solidaritéS
), 8 Green Party (PES)
, and 6 Swiss People's Party (UDC)
Geneva does intentionally not have any particular "sister" tie with any city in the world. It declares itself related to the entire world.
Rue Pierre-Fatio in Geneva.
Geneva has a population (as of December 2014) of 197,376.
The city of Geneva is at the centre of the Geneva metropolitan area, known as the Grand Genève
in French (Greater Geneva). The Greater Geneva
includes the Canton of Geneva in its entirety as well as the District of Nyon
in the Canton of Vaud
and several areas in the neighboring French departments
. In 2011 the agglomération franco-valdo-genevoise
had 915,000 inhabitants, two-thirds of whom lived on Swiss soil and one-third on French soil.
The Geneva metropolitan area is experiencing steady demographic growth of 1.2% a year and the agglomération franco-valdo-genevoise
is expected to reach soon the mark of one million people.
The official language of Geneva, in both the city and canton is French
, the main language used in Romandie. As a result of immigration
flows in the 1960s and 1980s, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish are also spoken by a considerable proportion of the population. English is also quite common due to the high number of anglophone expatriates and foreigners working in international institutions and in the bank sector. Lack of proficiency in French of English-speaking expatriates (even after years spent in Geneva) is an increasing concern.
Most of the population (as of 2000) speak French (128,622 or 72.3%), with English being second most common (7,853 or 4.4%) and Spanish third (7,462 or 4.2%). There are 7,320 people who speak Italian (4.1%), 7,050 people who speak German (4.0%) and 113 people who speak Romansh
In the city of Geneva, as of 2013, 48% of the population are resident foreign nationals.
For a list of the largest groups of foreign residents see the cantonal overview
. Over the last 10 years (1999–2009 ) the population has changed at a rate of 7.2%. It has changed at a rate of 3.4% due to migration and at a rate of 3.4% due to births and deaths.
As of 2008, the gender distribution of the population was 47.8% male and 52.2% female. The population was made up of 46,284 Swiss men (24.2% of the population) and 45,127 (23.6%) non-Swiss men. There were 56,091 Swiss women (29.3%) and 43,735 (22.9%) non-Swiss women.
Of the population in the municipality 43,296 or about 24.3% were born in Geneva and lived there in 2000. There were 11,757 or 6.6% who were born in the same canton, while 27,359 or 15.4% were born somewhere else in Switzerland, and 77,893 or 43.8% were born outside of Switzerland.
In 2008 there were 1,147 live births to Swiss citizens and 893 births to non-Swiss citizens, and in same time span there were 1,114 deaths of Swiss citizens and 274 non-Swiss citizen deaths. Ignoring immigration and emigration, the population of Swiss citizens increased by 33 while the foreign population increased by 619. There were 465 Swiss men and 498 Swiss women who emigrated from Switzerland. At the same time, there were 2933 non-Swiss men and 2662 non-Swiss women who immigrated from another country to Switzerland. The total Swiss population change in 2008 (from all sources, including moves across municipal borders) was an increase of 135 and the non-Swiss population increased by 3181 people. This represents a population growth rate
The age distribution of the population (as of 2000) is children and teenagers (0–19 years old) make up 18.2% of the population, while adults (20–64 years old) make up 65.8% and seniors (over 64 years old) make up 16%.
As of 2000, there were 78,666 people who were single and never married in the municipality. There were 74,205 married individuals, 10,006 widows or widowers and 15,087 individuals who are divorced.
As of 2000, there were 86,231 private households in the municipality, and an average of 1.9 persons per household.
There were 44,373 households that consist of only one person and 2,549 households with five or more people. Out of a total of 89,269 households that answered this question, 49.7% were households made up of just one person and there were 471 adults who lived with their parents. Of the rest of the households, there are 17,429 married couples without children, 16,607 married couples with children There were 5,499 single parents with a child or children. There were 1,852 households that were made up of unrelated people and 3,038 households that were made up of some sort of institution or another collective housing.
Apartment buildings in the Quartier des Grottes
In 2000 there were 743 single family homes (or 10.6% of the total) out of a total of 6,990 inhabited buildings. There were 2,758 multi-family buildings (39.5%), along with 2,886 multi-purpose buildings that were mostly used for housing (41.3%) and 603 other use buildings (commercial or industrial) that also had some housing (8.6%). Of the single family homes 197 were built before 1919, while 20 were built between 1990 and 2000. The greatest number of single family homes (277) were built between 1919 and 1945.
In 2000 there were 101,794 apartments in the municipality. The most common apartment size was 3 rooms of which there were 27,084. There were 21,889 single room apartments and 11,166 apartments with five or more rooms. Of these apartments, a total of 85,330 apartments (83.8% of the total) were permanently occupied, while 13,644 apartments (13.4%) were seasonally occupied and 2,820 apartments (2.8%) were empty.
As of 2009, the construction rate of new housing units was 1.3 new units per 1000 residents.
As of 2003 the average price to rent an average apartment in Geneva was 1163.30 Swiss francs
(CHF) per month (US$930, £520, €740 approx. exchange rate from 2003). The average rate for a one-room apartment was 641.60 CHF (US$510, £290, €410), a two-room apartment was about 874.46 CHF (US$700, £390, €560), a three-room apartment was about 1126.37 CHF (US$900, £510, €720) and a six or more room apartment cost an average of 2691.07 CHF (US$2150, £1210, €1720). The average apartment price in Geneva was 104.2% of the national average of 1116 CHF.
The vacancy rate for the municipality, in 2010, was 0.25%.
In June 2011 the average price of an apartment in and around Geneva was 13,681 Swiss francs
(CHF) per square metre (11 square feet). The average can be as high as 17,589 Swiss francs
(CHF) per square metre (11 square feet) for a luxury apartment and as low as 9,847 Swiss francs
(CHF) for an older or basic apartment. For houses in and around Geneva, the average price was 11,595 Swiss francs
(CHF) per square metre (11 square feet) (June 2011), with a lowest price per square metre (11 square feet) of 4,874 Swiss francs
(CHF), and a maximum price of 21,966 Swiss francs
Monter calculates that the city's total population was 12,000–13,000 in 1550, doubling to over 25,000 by 1560.
The historical population is given in the following chart:
In more recent times, substantial immigration from France
and other predominantly Roman Catholic
countries over the past century has changed Geneva's religious demography considerably, as well as the European secularization
. As a result, twice as many Roman Catholics as Protestants lived in the city in 2000. They form part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg
The 2000 census documents that 66,491 or 37.4% were Roman Catholic, while 24,105 or 13.5% belonged to the Swiss Reformed Church
, and 8,698 (or about 4.89% of the population) were Muslim
. Of the rest of the population, there were 3,959 members of an Orthodox church
(or about 2.22% of the population), there were 220 individuals (or about 0.12% of the population) who belonged to the Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland
, and there were 2,422 individuals (or about 1.36% of the population) who belonged to another Christian church. There were 2,601 individuals (or about 1.46% of the population) who were Jewish
. There were 707 individuals who were Buddhist, 474 individuals who were Hindu and 423 individuals who belonged to another church.
41,289 (or about 23.20% of the population) belonged to no church, are agnostic
, and 26,575 individuals (or about 14.93% of the population) did not answer the question.
The headquarters of the Raelian movement
are located within the city. Geneva has historically been considered a Protestant
city and was known as the Protestant Rome
due to its being the base of John Calvin
, William Farel
, and other reformers
However, the city had a long Catholic history. It almost certain that St. Isaac (c. 400) was the first bishop of Geneva, one of his first successors being St. Salonius
, who took part in the Council of Orange (441)
, and in those of Vaison
(442) and Arles
(about 455). In the Middle Ages the bishops of Geneva had the status of prince of the Holy Roman Empire
from 1154, but the territory was subject to the political ambitions of the counts of Geneva and later the counts (subsequently dukes) of Savoy. Politically the city protected itself by union with the Old Swiss Confederacy
), uniting itself in 1526 with Berne and Fribourg.
As highlighted by popular perception, the Protestant Reformation
caused major transformations in the religious and political life of Geneva. Berne favoured the introduction of the new teaching, but in 1531 Catholic Fribourg renounced its allegiance to Geneva. Although John Calvin
went to Geneva in 1536, already from 1532 the Catholic bishop had been obliged to seek exile and in 1535 he fixed his see at Annecy
, in 1536 at Gex
. The city became a stronghold of Calvinism
, and became nicknamed the Protestant Rome
for its dominant influence in the Calvinist movement. The most famous bishop of Geneva at this period is St. Francis de Sales
, bishop in the years 1602–21.
In 1802, during its annexation to France under Napoleon I
, the Diocese of Geneva was united with the Diocese of Chambéry, but the 1814 Congress of Vienna and the 1816 Treaty of Turin
stipulated that in territories transferred to a now considerably extended Geneva the Catholic religion was to be protected, and that no changes were to be made in existing conditions without agreement with the Holy See.
In 1819 the city of Geneva and 20 parishes were united to the Diocese of Lausanne by Pope Pius VII
and in 1822 the non-Swiss territory was made into the Diocese of Annecy
. A variety of concord with the civil authorities came as a result of the separation of church and state
, enacted with strong Catholic support in 1907.
The World Council of Churches
has its headquarters at the Ecumenical Centre
View of Geneva to the south. Mont Salève
(in France) dominates the foreground, with the white summit of Mont Blanc
just visible behind it and 70 km (43 mi) away to the southeast. To the left of Mont Blanc is the point of Le Môle
View of Geneva from the Salève.
Heritage sites of national significance
There are 82 buildings or sites in Geneva that are listed as Swiss heritage site of national significance
, and the entire old city of Geneva is part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites
Religious buildings: Cathedral St-Pierre
et Chapel des Macchabés, Notre-Dame Church, Russian church
, St-Germain Church, Temple de la Fusterie, Temple de l'Auditoire
Former Arsenal and Archives of the City of Genève, Former Crédit Lyonnais, Former Hôtel Buisson, Former Hôtel du Résident de France et Bibliothèque de la Société de lecture de Genève, Former école des arts industriels, Archives d'État de Genève (Annexe), Bâtiment des forces motrices, Library de Genève, Library juive de Genève «Gérard Nordmann», Cabinet des estampes, Centre d'Iconographie genevoise, Collège Calvin, École Geisendorf, University Hospital of Geneva
(HUG), Hôtel de Ville et tour Baudet, Immeuble Clarté
at Rue Saint-Laurent 2 and 4, Immeubles House Rotonde at Rue Charles-Giron 11–19, Immeubles at Rue Beauregard 2, 4, 6, 8, Immeubles at Rue de la Corraterie 10–26, Immeubles at Rue des Granges 2–6, Immeuble at Rue des Granges 8, Immeubles at Rue des Granges 10 and 12, Immeuble at Rue des Granges 14, Immeuble and Former Armory at Rue des Granges 16, Immeubles at Rue Pierre Fatio 7 and 9, House de Saussure at Rue de la Cité 24, House Des arts du Grütli at Rue du Général-Dufour 16, House Royale et les deux immeubles à côté at Quai Gustave Ador 44–50, Tavel House at Rue du Puits-St-Pierre 6, Turrettini House at Rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville 8 and 10, Brunswick Monument, Palais de Justice, Palais de l'Athénée, Palais des Nations with library and archives of the SDN and ONU, Palais Eynard et Archives de la ville de Genève, Palais Wilson, Parc des Bastions avec Mur des Réformateurs, Place Neuve et Monument du Général Dufour, Pont de la Machine, Pont sur l'Arve, Poste du Mont-Blanc, Quai du Mont-Blanc, Quai et Hôtel des Bergues, Quai Général Guisan and English Gardens, Quai Gustave-Ador and Jet d'eau, Télévision Suisse Romande
, university of Geneva
, Victoria Hall
Fondation Baur and Museum of the arts d'Extrême-Orient, Parc et campagne de la Grange and Library (neolithic shore settlement/Roman villa), Bronze Age
shore settlement of Plonjon, Temple de la Madeleine archeological site, Temple Saint-Gervais archeological site, Old City with Celtic
and medieval villages
Museums, theaters, and other cultural sites:
Conservatoire de musique at Place Neuve 5, Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques, Fonds cantonal d'art contemporain, Ile Rousseau and statue, Institute and Museum of Voltaire with Library and Archives, Mallet House and Museum international de la Réforme, Musée Ariana
, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire
, Museum d'art moderne et contemporain, Museum d'ethnographie, Museum of the International Red Cross
, Musée Rath
, Muséum d'histoire naturelle, Salle communale de Plainpalais et théâtre Pitoëff, Villa Bartholoni et Museum d'Histoire et Sciences
International organizations: International Labour Organization
(BIT), International Committee of the Red Cross
, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR), World Meteorological Organization
, World Trade Organization
, International Telecommunication Union
, World Alliance of Young Men's Christian Association
Society and culture
||This section contains content that is written like an advertisement. (January 2016)
Geneva is one of the most diverse and international cities in the world with 184 nationalities living there. It is now possible to discover the city with a volunteering local via the association Geneva Greeters
. This is a not-for-profit association offering free-of-charge walks to travelers with a resident. These walks are an opportunity to go off-the-beaten tracks, meet a resident, and see Geneva as locals experience it. Today there are 25 Greeters from all ages and backgrounds who are passionate about their town. The offering is available for individuals or small groups of travelers up to 6 persons knowing each other. Each walk is unique and start from the interests of the visitors. Requests for visits needs to be sent at least few days in advance online on the website Geneva Greeters
. There are currently 12 languages available (mainly English, French, Spanish, German, Swiss-German, and Italian). Other languages include Russian, Portuguese, Dutch and Arabic.
The city's main newspaper is the Tribune de Genève
, with a readership of about 187,000, a daily newspaper
founded on 1 February 1879 by James T. Bates
. Le Courrier
, founded in 1868, was originally supported by the Roman Catholic Church
, but has been independent since 1996. Mainly focussed on Geneva, Le Courrier
is trying to expand into other cantons inRomandy
. Both Le Temps
(headquartered in Geneva) and Le Matin
are widely read in Geneva, but cover the whole of Romandy
Geneva is the main media centre for French-speaking Switzerland. It is the headquarters for the numerous French language radio
networks of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation
, known collectively as Radio Télévision Suisse
. While both networks cover the whole of Romandy
, special programs related to Geneva are sometimes broadcast on some of the local radio frequencies in the case of special events such as elections. Other local radio stations broadcast from the city, including YesFM (FM
91.8 MHz), Radio Cité
(Non-commercial radio, FM 92.2 MHz), OneFM (FM 107.0 MHz, also broadcast in Vaud
), and World Radio Switzerland
(FM 88.4 MHz).
Léman Bleu is a local TV channel, founded in 1996 and distributed by cable. Due to the proximity to France, many of the French television channels
are also available.
Traditions and customs
Geneva observes Jeûne genevois on the first Thursday following the first Sunday in September. By local tradition, this commemorates the date the news of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of Huguenots reached Geneva.
Geneva celebrates L'Escalade
on the weekend nearest 12 December celebrating the defeat of the surprise attack by troops sent by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy
during the night of 11–12 December 1602. Besides festive traditions that includes chocolate cauldrons filled with vegetable-shaped marzipan treats and the Escalade procession on horseback in seventeenth century armour, Geneva has been organizing 'Course de l'Escalade', which means 'Climbing Race'. This race takes place in Geneva's Old Town, and has been very popular amongst racers across all ages. Non-competitive racers have fun by dressing up in fancy costumes, while walking in the race. 2015 marks the 38th edition of this race.
Since 1818, a particular chestnut tree
has been used as the official "herald of the spring" in Geneva. The sautier
(secretary of the Parliament of the Canton of Geneva) observes the tree and notes the day of arrival of the first bud. While this event has no practical effect, the sautier issues a formal press release
and the local newspaper will usually mention the news.
As this is one of the world's oldest records of a plant's reaction to climatic conditions, researchers have been interested to note that the first bud appears earlier and earlier in the year. During the first century, many dates were in March or April. In recent years, it has usually been in mid-February and sometimes even earlier.
In 2002, the first bud appeared unusually early, on 7 February, and then again on 29 December of the same year. The following year, which was one of the hottest years recorded in Europe, became a year with no bud. In 2008, the first bud also appeared very early, on 19 February.
Music and festivals
The opera house
, the Grand Théâtre de Genève
, which officially opened in 1876, was partly destroyed by fire in 1951 and reopened in 1962. It has the largest stage in Switzerland. It features opera and dance performances, recitals, concerts and, occasionally, theatre. The Victoria Hall
is used for classical music concerts. It is home of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Every summer, the Fêtes de Genève
(Geneva Festival) are organised in Geneva. According to the Radio télévision suisse
, in 2013, hundreds of thousands of people came to Geneva to see the annual one-hour long grand firework
display of the Fêtes de Genève
Museums and art galleries are numerous throughout the city. Some are related to the many international organizations as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum
or the Microcosm
in the CERN area. The Palace of Nations
, home of the United Nations headquarters, can also be visited.
Geneva is home to the University of Geneva
. In 1559, John Calvin
founded the Geneva Academy
, a theological and humanist seminary. In the 19th century, the Academy lost its ecclesiastic links and in 1873, with the addition of a medical faculty, it became the University of Geneva. In 2011, the ranking web of universities ranked it 35th European university.
The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
was among the first academic institutions to teach international relations in the world and is today one of Europe's most prestigious institutions, offering MA and PhD programmes in law, political science, history, economics, international affairs, and development studies.
Also, the oldest international school
in the world is located in Geneva, the International School of Geneva
, founded in 1924 along with the League of Nations
The Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations
is a private university
on the grounds of the Château de Penthes, an old manor with a park and view of Lake Geneva
The Canton of Geneva's public school system has écoles primaires
(ages 4–12) and cycles d'orientation
(ages 12–15). The obligation to attend school ends at age 15, but secondary education is provided by collèges
(ages 15–19), the oldest of which is the Collège Calvin
, which could be considered one of the oldest public schools
in the world, écoles de culture générale
(15-18/19) and the écoles professionnelles
(15-18/19). The écoles professionnelles
offer full-time courses and part-time study as part of an apprenticeship. Geneva also has a choice of private schools.
Out of all the educational and research facilities in Geneva, CERN
(the European Organization for Nuclear Research) is probably the best known on a world basis and most recently renown for the Large Hadron Collider
. Founded in 1954, CERN was one of Europe's first joint ventures
and has developed as the world's largest particle physics laboratory
. Physicists from around the world travel to CERN to research matter and explore the fundamental forces and materials that form the universe.
In 2011, 89,244 (37.0%) of the population have completed non-mandatory upper secondary education, and 107,060 or (44.3%) have completed additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule). Of the 107,060 who completed tertiary schooling, 32.5% were Swiss men, 31.6% were Swiss women, 18.1% were non-Swiss men and 17.8% were non-Swiss women.
During the 2011-2012 school year, there were a total of 92,311 students in the Geneva school system (Primary to University). The education system in the Canton of Geneva has eight years of primary school, with 32,716 students. The secondary school program consists of three lower, obligatory years of schooling, followed by three to five years of optional, advanced schools. There were 13,146 lower secondary students who attended schools in Geneva. There were 10,486 upper secondary students from the municipality along with 10330 students who were in a professional, non-university track program. An additional 11,797 students attended a private school.
Geneva is home to five major libraries, the Bibliothèques municipales Genève, the Haute école de travail social, Institut d'études sociales
, the Haute école de santé
, the Ecole d'ingénieurs de Genève
and the Haute école d'art et de design
. There were (as of 2008) 877,680 books or other media in the libraries, and in the same year 1,798,980 items were loaned.
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Geneva's economy is mainly services
oriented. The city has an important and old finance sector
, which is specialised in private banking
(managing assets of about 1 trillion USD) and financing of international trade.
Geneva hosts the international headquarters of companies like JT International (JTI)
, Mediterranean Shipping Company
, , Vitol
, Merck Serono
, , Société Générale de Surveillance
, and Weatherford International
Many other multinational companies
, and Cargill
have their international headquarters in the city; Take Two Interactive
, Electronic Arts
, Procter & Gamble
and Oracle Corporation
have their European headquarters in the city. Hewlett Packard
has its Europe, Africa, and Middle East headquarters in Meyrin
, near Geneva.PrivatAir
has its headquarters in Meyrin,
There is a long tradition of watchmaking
(Baume et Mercier
, Franck Muller
, Patek Philippe
, Universal Genève
, Raymond Weil
, Vacheron Constantin
, Frédérique Constant
, etc.). Two major international producers of flavours
, have their headquarters and main production facilities in Geneva.
The private sector is organized in different Union of employers
, including the Fédération des Entreprises Romandes Genève
(FER Genève) and the Fédération des métiers du bâtiment (FMB).
Many people also work in the numerous offices of international organisations
located in Geneva (about 22,233 in March 2012).
The Geneva Motor Show
is one of the most important international auto shows. It is held at Palexpo
, a giant convention centre next to the International Airport.
In 2009, Geneva was ranked as the fourth most expensive city
in the world. Geneva moved up four places from eighth place the previous year. Geneva is ranked behind Tokyo, Osaka
, and Moscow at first, second, and third respectively. Geneva also beat Hong Kong
, which came in at fifth place.
As of 2011, Geneva had an unemployment rate of 6.3%.
As of 2008, there were five people employed in the primary economic sector
and about three businesses involved in this sector. 9,783 people were employed in the secondary sector
and there were 1,200 businesses in this sector. 134,429 people were employed in the tertiary sector
, with 12,489 businesses in this sector.
There were 91,880 residents of the municipality who were employed in some capacity, of which females made up 47.7% of the workforce.
In 2008 the total number of full-time equivalent
jobs was 124,185. The number of jobs in the primary sector was four, all of which were in agriculture. The number of jobs in the secondary sector was 9,363 of which 4,863 or (51.9%) were in manufacturing and 4,451 (47.5%) were in construction. The number of jobs in the tertiary sector was 114,818. In the tertiary sector; 16,573 or 14.4% were in wholesale or retail sales or the repair of motor vehicles, 3,474 or 3.0% were in the movement and storage of goods, 9,484 or 8.3% were in a hotel or restaurant, 4,544 or 4.0% were in the information industry, 20,982 or 18.3% were the insurance or financial industry, 12,177 or 10.6% were technical professionals or scientists, 10,007 or 8.7% were in education and 15,029 or 13.1% were in health care.
In 2000, there were 95,190 workers who commuted into the municipality and 25,920 workers who commuted away. The municipality is a net importer of workers, with about 3.7 workers entering the municipality for every one leaving. About 13.8% of the workforce coming into Geneva are coming from outside Switzerland, while 0.4% of the locals commute out of Switzerland for work.
Of the working population, 38.2% used public transportation to get to work, and 30.6% used a private car.
Among the most popular sports in Switzerland is ice hockey
Geneva is the home of the Genève-Servette HC
, who play in the Swiss National League A
. In 2008 and 2010, the team made it to the league finals but lost to the ZSC Lions
and SC Bern
There is also a football
team in Geneva. The Servette FC
is a football club founded in 1890 and named after a borough on the right bank of the Rhône
. The home of Servette is Stade de Genève
. Servette plays in the Premiere League Promotion. It was relegated to the third division in 2004-2005 due to a bankruptcy and was promoted to the Swiss Challenge League
after the 2005-2006 season, where the club remained until 2011. Servette earned promotion to the Swiss Super League after defeating Bellinzona
in a relegation/promotion playoff on 31 May 2011 and have since re-established themselves in the elite of Swiss football. The club finished fourth in its first season back in the top flight, thereby gaining entrance to the Europa League
second round qualification round for the 2012-13 season.
The Railway Station of Geneva
TCMC (Tramway Cornavin - Meyrin - CERN)
The city is served by the Geneva Cointrin International Airport
. It is connected by Geneva Airport railway station
: Gare de Genève-Aéroport
) with both the Swiss Federal Railways
network and the French SNCF
network, including to Paris, Lyon, Marseille
. Geneva is connected to the motorway systems of both Switzerland (A1 motorway
) and France.
Public transport by bus, trolleybus or tram is provided by Transports Publics Genevois
(TPG). In addition to an extensive coverage of the city centre, the network covers most of the municipalities of the Canton, with a few lines extending into France. Public transport by boat is provided by the Mouettes Genevoises
, which link the two banks of the lake within the city, and by the Compagnie Générale de Navigation sur le lac Léman
(CGN) which serves more distant destinations such as Nyon
using both modern diesel vessels and vintage paddle steamers
Geneva Sécheron train station
Trains operated by Swiss Federal Railways
connect the airport to the main station of Cornavin
in six minutes, and carry on to towns such as Nyon, Lausanne, Fribourg, Montreux, Neuchâtel, Bern, Sion and Sierre. Regional train services are being increasingly developed, towards Coppet and Bellegarde. At the city limits, two new stations have been opened since 2002: Genève-Sécheron (close to the UN and the Botanical Gardens
) and Lancy-Pont-Rouge.
In 2011, work started on the CEVA (Cornavin – Eaux-Vives
– Annemasse) project, first planned in 1884, which will connect Cornavin with the Cantonal hospital, Eaux-Vives station and Annemasse
, in France. The link between the main station and the classification yard
of La Praille already exists; from there, the line will go mostly underground to the Hospital and Eaux-Vives, where it will link to the existing line to France. Support for this project was obtained from all parties in the local parliament.
TOSA Bus at PALEXPO Flash bus stops
In May 2013, the demonstrator TOSA Flash Mobility, Clean City, Smart Bus 
of a large capacity (133 passengers) full electric bus system with opportunity charging starts its service between Geneva Airport
. The project aims to introduce a new system of mass transport with electric “flash” recharging of the buses at selected stops while passengers are disembarking and embarking. By December 2016, the TOSA buses will run on line 23.
Taxis in Geneva can be difficult to find, and may need to be booked in advance especially in the early morning or at peak hours. Taxis can refuse to take babies and children because of seating
An ambitious project to close 200 streets in the centre of Geneva to cars has been approved in principle by the Geneva cantonal authorities, and is projected to be implemented over four years (2010–2014).
Water, natural gas and electricity are provided to the municipalities of the Canton of Geneva
by the state-owned Services Industriels de Genève
(shortly SIG). Most of the drinkable water (80%) is extracted from the lake
; the remaining 20% is provided by groundwater
originally formed by infiltration from the Arve. 30% of the Canton's electricity needs is locally produced, mainly by three hydroelectric
dams on the Rhône
(Seujet, Verbois and Chancy-Pougny). In addition, 13% of the electricity produced in the Canton is made from the heat induced by the burning of waste at the waste incineration facility
of Les Cheneviers
. The remaining needs (57%) are covered by imports from other cantons in Switzerland or other European countries; SIG buys only electricity produced by renewable methods
, and in particular does not use electricity produced using nuclear reactors
or fossil fuels
. Natural gas is available in the City of Geneva, as well as in about two-thirds of the municipalities of the canton, and is imported from Western Europe by the Swiss company Gaznat. SIG also provides telecommunication facilities to carriers, service providers
and large enterprises. From 2003 to 2005, "Voisin, voisine" a Fibre to the Home
pilot project with a Triple play
offering was launched to test the end-user
market in the Charmilles district.
Geneva is the European headquarters of the United Nations
, in the Palace of Nations
building (French: Palais des Nations), which was also the headquarters of the former League of Nations. Several agencies are headquartered at Geneva, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR), the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
(OHCHR), the World Health Organization
(WHO), the International Labour Organization
(ILO), International Telecommunication Union
(ITU), the International Baccalaureate Organization
(IBO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization
Apart from the UN agencies, Geneva hosts many inter-governmental organizations
, such as the World Trade Organization
(WTO), World Meteorological Organization
(WMO), the World Economic Forum
(WEF), the International Organization for Migration
(IOM), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
(IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross
Organizations on the European level include the European Broadcasting Union
(EBU) and the CERN
(European Organization for Nuclear Research) which is the world's largest particle physics laboratory.
The Geneva Environment Network
(GEN) publishes the Geneva Green Guide,
and extensive listing of Geneva-based global organisations working on environment protection and sustainable development. A website
(by the Swiss Government, WBCSD
) includes stories about howNGOs
, business, government and the UN cooperate. By doing so, it attempts to explain why Geneva has been picked by so many NGOs and UN as their headquarters location.
The World Organization of the Scout Movement
(WOSM) and the World Scout Bureau Central Office are headquartered in Geneva.
Geneva in popular culture
How I Met Your Mother, the character Ted Mosby sometimes wears a shirt with Geneva's Coat of Arms printed on it
- Geneva is depicted as the Earth Alliance Capital in Babylon 5.
- Philip Arditti, actor
- Martha Argerich, pianist
- John Armleder, artist
- Germaine Aussey, actress
- Edna Best, actress
- Christiane Brunner, politician and trade unionist
- Kate Burton, actress, the daughter of actor Richard Burton
- John Calvin, theologian, reformer
- Clint Capela, professional basketball player
- Bernard Dalle, venture capitalist
- Ferdinand de Saussure, professor of linguistics
- Armand Dufaux, Swiss aviation pioneer
- Henri Dufaux, Swiss aviation pioneer
- Henri Dunant, founder of the International Red Cross
- Albert Gallatin, financier and statesman
- Katerina Graham, actress, singer, and model; she plays Bonnie Bennett in The Vampire Diaries
- Romain Grosjean, Formula 1 driver
- Germain Henri Hess, chemist
- Thomas Jouannet, actor
- Marie Laforêt, singer and actress
- Sarah Lahbati, actress, singer
- Frank Martin, composer
- Stephanie Morgenstern, actress, filmmaker, and screenwriter
- Jacques Necker, financier and statesman
- Julie Ordon, model and actress
- Jean-Louis Prévost, neurologist
- Tariq Ramadan, writer, professor, philosopher
- Flore Revalles, singer, dancer and actress
- Marc Rosset, tennis player
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, philosopher, writer, composer
- Léon Savary, writer and journalist
- Marguerite Sechehaye, psychotherapist
- Philippe Senderos, footballer
- Michel Simon, actor
- Maya Stojan, actress
- Terry Southern, author, essayist, screenwriter
- Emile Taddéoli, Swiss aviation pioneer
- Alain Tanner, film director