Capital of the canton of Vaud, greater Lausanne is the largest urban centre in the canton with a population of 250,000. Lausanne is Switzerland’s fourth city in terms of size, and has long since been one of its principal tourist centres.
Built on several hills overlooking Lake Geneva and facing the Alps, Lausanne boasts a magnificent natural backdrop and numerous historical sites, including its 13th century Gothic cathedral.
The Olympic capital since 1915, it hosts the International Olympic Committee (IOC), 19 international sporting federations and 17 international organisations linked to sport, including the Court of Arbitration for Sport. This is what makes Lausanne the capital international of sport.
It is also a hive of university and research activity, with the École Polytechnique Fédérale (EPFL), the University of Lausanne (UNIL), Vaud University Hospital (CHUV), the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) and Lausanne Hotel School (EHL).
Greater Lausanne similarly plays host to the head offices or European headquarters of numerous blue chip international firms, such as Adecco, Bobst, Braun Medical, Hyatt, Orange, Philip Morris, Siemens, Tetra Laval. It is also an important centre for professional service providers like PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and KPMG.
Finally, Lausanne has a thriving cultural life, complete with numerous museums and events, the Théâtre de Vidy - Espace Théâtral Européen - in its idyllic setting on the waterfront, or the Béjart Ballet dance troupe, among others. The Lausanne region has also been a gastronomic centre and important wine-producing region since Roman times.