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Jet d‘eau


Gushing for Geneva for 125 years


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One of Geneva’s most famous attractions wasn’t originally built for tourists. The history of the Jet d’eau is connected to the Swiss watchmaking industry. (SRF/RTS/swissinfo.ch)

Every second, five hundred litres of water are pumped out of Lake Geneva into the air by two turbines. The stream of water reaches an altitude of 140 metres, leaving the nozzle at a speed of 200 kilometres per hour. 

The landmark fountain begins sprouting every morning at 9 o’clock and attracts many visitors to the lakeside. It wasn’t invented for tourists though. When it went into operation 125 years ago, the watchmaking industry used water to power its machines, since there was no electricity. The jet was used as a valve to divert the water on weekends, when the factories closed down. 

Today the fountain is powered by electricity. It’s operated during the day all year round, except in case of frost or strong winds.