With 60-percent jurisdiction under Switzerland and 40-percent under France, Lake Geneva is the second largest freshwater lake in Central Europe when it comes to surface area (582 km² – 225 mi²). The crescent-shaped lake is second just after Lake Balaton, in Hungary, has a maximum length of 73 km (45 mi), a maximum width of 14 km (8.7 mi) and has a maximum depth of 310 m.
Since many of you wondered what do the Swiss call Lake Geneva, we decided to take a deep look into it and came up with a more complex answer. The fact is that Switzerland is a multi-lingual country where people speak German, French, Italian and a little Romansh, meaning the lake has not just one name, but more.
Lying on the Rhone River that descends from the Rhone Glacier near the Grimsel Pass, in German it’s called Genfersee or Genfer See, in Italian it’s Lago Lemano, or Lago di Ginevra and in French it’s called Lac Léman or Lac de Genève. Actually Lac Léman is what most of the people in the country call it these days.
From 1960 to 1980, water pollution levels were so severe that it wiped out almost all fish and it got to the point where it became dangerous even to swim in the lake. However, using modern anti-pollutants the lake is now considered safe these days and allows major leisure activities that include sailing, wind surfing, rowing, scuba diving and bathing.
The sad twist in this story is that the lake had to be cleaned up at all. Why is it that we can only learn from our mistakes? Why can’t we NOT have to ever clean things up because we kept them clean from the outset? That would be good stewardship of our planet, make that the best stewardship.
Wonder no more what do the Swiss call Lake Geneva? Now you know. If you’ve been there, just tell us how it is to see it live.