Palais des Nations

The Palais des Nations (English: Palace of Nations) in Geneva, Switzerland, was built between 1929 and 1936 to serve as the headquarters of the League of Nations. It has served as the home of the United Nations Office at Geneva since 1946 when the Secretary General of the UN signed a Headquarters Agreement with the Swiss authorities, although Switzerland did not become a member of the UN until 2002.


An architectural competition held in the 1920s to choose a design for the complex described the project as follows:

A jury of architects was selected to choose a final design from among 377 entries but was unable to decide on a winner. Ultimately, the five architects behind the leading entries were chosen to collaborate on a final design: Carlo Broggi of Italy, Julien Flegenheimer of Switzerland, Camille Lefèvre and Henri-Paul Nénot of France, and József Vágó of Hungary. Donations from League members were used in the interior.

After its transfer to the United Nations, two extensions were added to the building. In the early 1950s, three floors were added to the "K" building, and the "D" building was constructed to house temporarily the World Health Organization. The "E" building (or "New" Building) was completed in 1973 as a conference facility. With the additions, the complex is 600 metres long, with 34 conference rooms and 2,800 offices.


The Palais is in Ariana Park, which was bequeathed to the City of Geneva in 1890 by Gustave de Revilliod de la Rive, with three conditions: that the park always remain accessible to the public, that he be buried in the park, and that peacocks roam freely on its grounds, which they do to this day. The park also contains a 1668 chalet.

Beneath the Palais des Nations's foundation stone is a time capsule containing a document listing the names of the League of Nations member states, a copy of the Covenant of the League, and specimen coins of all the countries represented at the league's Tenth Assembly. A medal showing the Palais des Nations with the Jura Mountains in the background was struck in silvered bronze.

The building overlooks Lake Geneva and has a clear view of the French Alps.

The Palais and its buildings constitute the second-largest building complex in Europe after Versailles.

Building Activity

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