The same way not many people can say they have the privilege of, only a week after visiting the New York Guggenheim Museum, be able to visit the Bilbao one (like mentioned in here) not much can say that only a couple of weeks after being in the United Nations building in New York they can visit the Genève one neither. But I do. And this time around I didn’t miss the opportunity to go inside, like I missed in New York. Well, to be completely true, is not that I missed my opportunity in New York is that I couldn’t because they were having some important meetings and any tour was allowed during my time in the city.
But in Genève everything went smoothly. It wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, they ask you for a lot of documentation before letting you in, but I finally got in. And got my own badge! How cool is that?! I already have one from the European Parliament, that I got in 2010 when during my interrail I visit my friend Gisela in Brussels and she took me to the Parliament to lunch. And now I have a new one from the UN to add to my collection!
It was my friend Connie, that lived in Genève and is a huge huge fan of the city, who recommended me the visit and I have to thank her, it was very interesting and I learned a lot. For instance, did you know that the area where the UN Palace was build was a property of the Revilliod de la Rive and when they offer that piece of land to the city of Genève they impose three conditions: first, that the patriarch from the family could be buried there; second, that the park would be open so the people from the city could visit it whenever they wanted and third, that their peacocks could still live there. And so it was... When the UN moved their headquarters there they kept the peacocks that, as you can see by one of the Pictures bellow, still walk freely around the park.
Another thing that really interested me (and surprised me) was the quantity of Spanish artists involved in the decoration of the meeting’ rooms. To be more precise, of Catalan artists. In one of the rooms Josep María Sert was the responsible for the beautiful paintings on the walls and ceiling. As you can see by the pictures bellow, that might look tremendously familiar, he was also the responsible for the decoration of the lobby of the Rockefeller Center in New York (which you saw already in here). And in other room Miquel Barceló created beautiful and colorful stalactites. Two Catalans, two works of art in the heart of the United Nations. Well done!
For these reasons and many more (all the visits are guided and the groups are always small so you can place all the questions you want and take all your doubts about the UN labor and departments) when in Genève you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the United Nations. Even if you leave it for the very last minute, like I did… And that was all from Genève.
And from Switzerland.