Switzerland has always been known for its tolerance and neutrality. This has also attracted hundreds of international organisations, ranging from the United Nations to world sports federations.
Anchored in tradition, Switzerland’s commitment to diplomacy, international cooperation and humanitarian engagement reflects fundamental values that are also of importance to multinational companies when choosing a new location. Foreign companies and their well-travelled employees appreciate the culture of tolerance in Switzerland and the cosmopolitan, open climate that promotes the adoption of an innovative mindset.
Today, Geneva is home to over 200 international organisations, including the United Nations European headquarters, UN agencies and numerous NGOs, and is the world’s largest hub of multilateral diplomacy. The Red Cross movement born in this city still has its headquarters in Geneva and the museum dedicated to its work is just one of the magnets for visitors who want to explore the city’s rich humanitarian tradition.
Many sports organisations have also chosen Switzerland as their place of business, such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, the UEFA in Nyon and the FIFA in Zurich.
- Conference organisers have access to specialists from a variety of disciplines, including medicine, trade, IT, intellectual property, and many more, who can be booked as speakers or to exchange expertise.
Geneva: The largest concentration of UN personnel worldwide
- A total of 8,500 employees with a unique mix of skills from all over the world. The international community is made up of around 40,000 individuals.
Geneva is the global head office of many organisations, for example, the
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
- International Labour Organization (ILO)
- World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
- The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR)
Head office of non-governmental organisations
Many non-governmental organisations are also based in or near Geneva; for example, WWF International (the central secretariat and global headquarters of the World Wide Fund for Nature) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Geneva conference venues
- Museum of the International Red Cross Movement
Many Geneva institutions receive visits from organised groups.
Other Swiss cities also host international organisations
- For example, the Universal Postal Union has its headquarters in Bern. It was founded in 1874 and is the second oldest association in the world.
- In the Canton of Vaud (Lake Geneva Region), there are more headquarters of international sports federations and organisations than in any other region of the world. These include the European Football Union (UEFA) in Nyon, the International Cycling Federation (UCI) in Aigle, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) and the International Sports Court (CAS), both in Lausanne.
- The Maison du Sport International (MSI) in Lausanne is the only place in the world where around 30 international sports federations and organisations have their headquarters under one roof, along with some 20 sports-related companies. Among the organisations are international associations and organisations for archery, bobsleigh, boxing, canoeing, fencing, golf, judo, squash and weightlifting. Thanks to sharing an address, international sports organisations can benefit from significant synergies and share their skills and best practices.
- Beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Geneva and recently reopened after two years of refurbishment and expansion, the Olympic Museum in Lausanne also provides an attractive backdrop for private events. The new exhibits evoke memories of the historic moments of the Olympic Movement, while the restaurant offers fantastic views of the lake and the Alps.