The United Nations (UN) is an international organization aimed at facilitating co-operation between the world's countries on a wide variety of topics. This travel topic covers the variety of interesting UN headquarters and sights all over the globe.
The United Nations was founded in the aftermath of World War II by the victorious powers as a de facto replacement of the League of Nations which had been founded after World War I with initially a much broader mission but failed due among other things its less than universal membership (the US never joined and Germany, Japan or the Soviet Union were not members during its entire existence). Its structure and bylaws still reflect that fact, as is evidenced by their seat in New York or the composition of the security council.
- 1 UN Headquarters New York, 1st Ave at 46th St, New York City, USA, ☎ . The UN HQ sits on an 18-acre site between 42nd and 48th Streets, and between First Avenue and the East River. It is noted for its gardens and outdoor sculptures. There is a charge for the tours of the General Assembly and Secretariat but you can visit the Visitor's Lobby for free (although you do have to pass through a security checkpoint). There are two levels to the lobby area which includes a gallery, a gift shop, and a bookshop. If just visiting the lobby, don't join any queues once you're in the lobby—just find your way around. There is little in the way of signs to tell you where you can go—this is the UN: well-meaning but not well organized. Free; guided tours $11.50 adults, $8.50 seniors, $7.50 students, $6.50 children (6-14).
- 2 Palais des Nations (UN Office at Geneva), 14 Avenue de la Paix, Geneva, Switzerland, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Open daily Apr-Oct 10AM-noon and 2PM-4PM; Jul-Aug 10AM-5PM; the rest of the year M-F 10AM-noon and 2PM-4PM (except over the Christmas period). Originally built to house the League of Nations, the Palais is worth visiting just to take in the magnificent Assembly Hall, in addition to the large collection of public art, the library, and the landscaped grounds. It is the second-largest UN Headquarters in the world. Fr. 12 each for adults. (groups of 20 adults or more qualify for a 20% discount; private tour of 1-14 adults Fr. 127.50; Fr. 10 each for students, senior citizens, and disabled persons; Fr. 4 for schoolchildren; free for children under six years old). Passports are required for entry.
- 3 UN Office at Vienna, Vienna, Austria, ☎ . The home of many UN organisations, including the International Atomic Energy Agency. Guided tours are offered in English or German three times a day, and there's a chance you may get to observe a meeting in progress. You'll need photo identification (ie, passport) to be allowed inside.
- 4 UN Office at Nairobi (UN Complex Gigiri), United Nations Ave, Nairobi, Kenya, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sitting between the Karura Forest and the US Embassy, it houses international organisations such as the Environmental Programme, UN-HABITAT and is the basis of all UN operations in Africa. Africa's first completely carbon and water neutral building was opened here in 2011. Guided tours allow tourists to see the major buildings, gifts from member states and walk along a nearby nature trail.
- 1 Peace Palace, Carnegieplein 2, The Hague, Netherlands, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. The Peace Palace was built in 1913, to house the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which was hoped to provide a means to legally settle international disputes. Ironically, World War I broke out just a year later. Today the Peace Palace also houses the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial body of the UN, which settles disputes between countries only. €9.50 for guided tour. Visitors Center and audio tour is free.
- 2 UNESCO House, Place de Fontenoy, Paris, France. Headquarters of UNESCO, the organisation which designates World Heritage sites. There is a museum on-site, and there are occasionally temporary exhibitions about international culture and heritage.