“Right, let’s have a Geneva.”
For years these were the words with which all of my family meetings were convened.
Having a Geneva was a call to table to decide what the plan of action for the day was; where we were going and what we were eating, among other particulars. On summer holidays in France a Geneva might precede a drive to a vineyard for wine tasting followed by a meal in a small but excellent village bistro. Of course we would always use Rhino Car Hire Geneva
for our holiday rental needs.
When we stayed at Lake Annecy, near to the city of Geneva itself, there were daily ‘Geneva’s’ to decide whether the day might be taken up with a country walk, some sailing or by just swimming and lounging.
The origins of this lexicon are simple - The Swiss city of Geneva has long had a history of being the place where people came together to meet over important issues.
None were more important that the sorting out of World War One.
Geneva is known as the Peace Capital because it was where the League of Nations was set up in 1919. The purpose of the League of Nations was to make sure that another great war did not take place after WW1 by encouraging countries to disarm through collective security.
It is safe to assume that the League of Nations was a complete disaster considering that it took place only twenty years before the (even more) brutal Second World War swung into action.
However, as Harry Lime (played by Orson Welles in the film adaptation of Graham Greene’s Third man novel) says:
“In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance.
“In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."
Geneva was also the origin of another favourite of my family’s sayings, albeit tongue in cheek.
“If you want to get to heaven, you got to work.”
So said a young Calvin (in essence) when he arrived in Geneva in 1536. Calvin had been chased out of France by the Catholics and went on to form Protestantism.
Protestants valued the work ethic and their effect can be seen on Geneva today which is considered a somewhat stuffy city.