Geneva’s Jet d’eau – Up close and personal

I’ve come to believe that Geneva’s Jet d’eau (“water jet”) is one of the most underrated man made landmarks on the face of the earth. And interestingly, the jet d’eau is something of an “accidental’ landmark. The idea was first conceived way back in in 1886 when a separate outlet was created to control excess water pressure at a nearby hydraulic plant. That precursor to the current Jet d’eau released a stream of water a mere 30 meters into the air, but everyone still thought it was the coolest thing ever, so five years later in 1891, the Geneva city council came up with the bright idea that they could relocate the fountain out into the Geneva Harbor and attract tourists to come and see it.

Sixty years later in 1951, they constructed a sophisticated pumping station applying state of the art technology, devoted exclusively to making the Jet d’eau even more awesome. Here’s a photo I took of a photo someone else took of the pump, which I have cleverly nicknamed “Big Blue”.

The jet d’eau’s “Big Blue”squirts water way up into the Geneva sky.

Some interesting Jet d’eau facts:

  1. The stream of water can reach 140 meters on a windless day.
  2. The stream appears white because it contains billions and billions of tiny air bubbles.
  3. The stream shoots out 500 liters of water per second at a speed of 200 kilometers per hour.
  4. At any one moment – assuming that it is turned on – there is 7,000 liters of water in the air.
  5. On a clear day, you can see the Jet d’eau from 50 kilometers away! (Chris and I took a hike last summer and saw it from that distance!)

I have mentioned and featured the Jet d’eau in some previous posts, but in case you didn’t see those or have forgotten them, here are some cool photos I’ve taken that depict the beauty of this landmark.

I took this one on a bike ride with Chris over the summer.

The majestic Jet d'eau squirts a stream of water way up into the clear blue Geneva sky

The majestic Jet d’eau squirts a stream of water way up into the clear blue Geneva sky

I took this one from the tower of a cathedral in the old city that we were touring.

The jet d'eau as seen from the Old City squirts water way up into the somewhat overcast Geneva sky.

The jet d’eau as seen from the Old City squirts water way up into the somewhat overcast Geneva sky.

In the summer months, they illuminate the jet d’eau. I took this one on a walk we were taking with our friends Ed and Mary.

The jet d'eau illuminated in blue squirts water way up into the dark Geneva summer night sky.

The jet d’eau illuminated in blue squirts water way up into the dark Geneva summer night sky.

But to really appreciate to majesty of the jet d’eau, one needs to take a closer look. A much closer look.  Next time, remind me to bring a rain coat!

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