Back for the Future in Calvin's Geneva
This slideshow is only available for subscribers.
Please log in or subscribe to view the slideshow.
I can't imagine Calvin would be pleased to know that in 2009 Europeans remember him the way Americans remember Samuel Adams–as a brand of beer.
We hadn't even planned to visit Geneva on our 2008 spring break tour of Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. With little more than a week to visit several sites, we didn't want to aggravate our friend, who was gracious enough to drive us around Europe.
But after visiting another friend in Lausanne, we couldn't resist driv-
ing to the southwest corner of Lac L?man (Lake Geneva).
I hadn't expected to miss much in Geneva. Sure, the city boasts gorgeous views of the Alpine lake, but we could see similar views from Lausanne. Traveling on a tight budget, we knew we couldn't afford to stay in Geneva, renowned today for its robust banking industry. I wasn't drawn to visit the international headquarters for the Red Cross or learn about the League of Nations, hosted by Geneva from 1919 to its demise in 1946. What I wanted to see were sites devoted to the legacy of reformer John Calvin, who moved to Geneva in 1536. But the travel books told me not to expect much more than la chaise de Calvin. The International Monument of the Reformation looked neat, but overall it appeared that Calvin's stature had deteriorated significantly since 1909, Calvin's 400th birthday and the year construction on the monument began.
Nevertheless, we decided to add a day trip to Geneva. You might imagine my delight when I learned that the International Museum of the Reformation had opened next to St. Peter's Cathedral in 2005. Inside I learned from a presentation that recounted the issues at stake during the Reformation. In an effort to reach younger audiences, the museum even recreated a dinner debate over predestination ...