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Welcome to the road lovers’ capital

Geneva to Brussels

Welcome to the road lovers’ capital

26 Mar 2018 Geneva > Brussels

by David Couliau

A road trip inside IRU’s HQ

I arrived in Geneva just in time for a very special day: IRU’s 70th birthday bash. Its Swiss headquarters is home to the greatest concentration of road lovers in the world. As I skated my way to the party through the hallways of their giant building, everyone I shook hands with was fired up about my road trip. From the Secretary General, Umberto de Pretto, to interns, every single person I met dreamt of hitting the road with me.

The Secretary General gave me his personal phone number to keep in touch because, despite his having visited most of the countries along my itinerary during a career at IRU spanning more than 20 years, his enthusiasm was as contagious as everyone else’s. Just like Boris Blanche, IRU’s Managing Director, for whom the “70th anniversary is a time to celebrate the people of our industry” who work day in and day out to push it forward.

Celebrating roads and peace

Outside, guests were equally as excited, such as Michael Møller, Isabelle Durant and Yuwei Li, all involved in successful IRU partnerships with the UN. The driving force behind the passion all these people share is that the road is a major factor for peace. Crucial to rebuilding Europe after the Second World War, roads bring prosperity and hope by opening countries to the outside world.

The icing on the truck

After cake and champagne, everyone accompanied me outside to take group photos and selfies in front of the special anniversary truck that was waiting to take me to Zurich. As we left, the driver, Christian, also expressed his love for the roads on which he has been traveling since the 80s. Although his job keeps him away from his family and the hours are long, he would be frustrated if he couldn’t drive his truck.

As IRU turns 70, the enthusiasm of the people who work on the road remains as strong as ever.

Key figures

  • Days to IRU World Congress, Muscat


  • Countries visited so far


Hear more about challenges and opportunities for the industry at the IRU World Congress

Geneva to Brussels