The United Nations in New York

United Nations

Founded in 1945, The United Nations (UN) is a collaboration of 51 countries promoting better communication concerning human rights, safety and world economics. Since 2011 193 member states have joined together to form the United Nations. The headquarters of the UN is in New York on First Avenue, by the East River and are open to the public for visiting. This is also the place where you can find the famous 193 flags in New York. The UN headquarters is located in a special inviolable international zone belonging to all of the 193 member states. Within this zone, the UN has its own security and fire unit in addition to its own post office and administration.

The UN Headquarters

The UN headquarters consists of four buildings: the General Assembly, the Conference Center, an office complex of the Secretariat and also the Dag Hammarskjöld Library. These buildings are all designed by American architect, Wallace K. Harrison. If you’re wondering where to find the 193 flags in New York, they’re here! There are 193 flags around the entire complex – as many flags as there are member states. The flagpoles, arranged in a circle equidistant from each other to symbolise the equality between the member states of the UN. The flags are also in alphabetical order; starting with Afghanistan and ending with Zimbabwe.

The United Nations in New York Trusteeship Council Chamber The United Nations in New York United Nations Chrysler Building

Visitors Center

The Visitors Center is located in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Building (42nd Street & 1st Avenue). The visitors’ gate, where you must enter, is located on 46th Street and First Avenue. Before you enter, you need to collect a security pass from the Check-In Office at 801 First Avenue, by 45th Street. Upon entering the Visitors Center, you’ll notice all the artworks around you. All have been donated by the different member’s states. In the visitor’s lobby, you can see a number of free exhibitions. There is a variety to choose from, for example, photos and multimedia presentations about human rights, children in war zones, climate change etc.  In the lobby, you can also find a gift shop, a book shop and a coffee shop. Go to the Visitors Center to book any tours.

Eric’s Tip: The UN makes its own stamps, these can be purchased in the Visitor’s Center. It is even possible to create a stamp with your own photograph! These stamps can only be sent from within the UN zone and are very unique – a lot of visitors send letters to their loved ones with these special stamps created specially at the UN office.

United Nations Tours

There are guided tours available during weekdays and they last around an hour. For security reasons, children under the age of 5 are not permitted to participate in the tour. All participants above 16 years need to bring a valid ID. All tours are wheelchair accessible. There is no coatroom to store coats or bags.

Read more about the UN Visitor Center and buy tickets for a tour here

The United Nations in New York - Headquarters The United Nations in New York - Security Council Chamber

Can you visit the United Nations in NYC?

Yes, you can visit the United Nations Headquarters in New York on a guided tour. Read how to book here.

Can you visit the UN headquarters without a tour?

Yes, you can visit the UN Visitor Center without going on a tour. However, the General Assembly Building and other chambers can only be visited during a guided tour.

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