Geneva, “Peace Capital,” is a city of pivotal importance in world affairs.

It is where the Geneva Conventions were signed, which chiefly concerns the treatment of wartime non-combatants and prisoners of war. Switzerland’s second-largest city also serves as a financial center and a worldwide center for diplomacy, housing numerous international organizations, including the headquarters of many of the agencies of the United Nations and the Red Cross. French and English are the most widely spoken languages, followed by Spanish, Portugese and German.

A whopping 44% of the population comprises foreign national residents, who bring a decidedly cosmopolitan flavor to the city. Les Genevoise are passionate about culture and sport. Geneva’s opera house, the Grand Théâtre de Genève, boasts the largest stage in Switzerland, and the city is awash with galleries and museums.

Ice hockey is the city’s other passion, and it boasts major A-league team Genève-Servette HC. Geneva may be the most densely populated city in the French-speaking part of Switzerland (Romandy), but this has not detracted from its quality of life. After Vienna and Zurich, Geneva was ranked the best place to live (according to consulting firm Mercer’s 2009 survey results). Comfort comes with a price, however. Geneva was also ranked the world’s fourth and fifth most expensive city for expats to live in, in 2009 and 2011 respectively.