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Field Trip


5 July

8:15 to 18:00 (back in Lausanne)

Grande Dixence




Tall and bold – a visit to the Grande Dixence, the highest gravity dam in the world

Meeting pointParking Lausanne Bellerive at 08:15 (bus leaves at 08:30 sharp)

Transport: by bus

Number of participants: 20

Registration fee: CHF 17 (includes transport and lunch)

Details: Wear comfortable shoes for walking and bring along warm clothes and sunglasses. Travel time from Lausanne to the site of the field trip is approx. 2 hours by bus. The dam is located at high altitude (2400 m): Good physical condition is needed to manage the mountain path leading to the entrance of the wall and a staircase with high steps (40-50 cm) inside the dam.

Detailed safety instructions will be given on site.

Organizer: Grande Dixence SA

Contact: Cristina Garcia (


Built in the 1950s the Grande Dixence is not only the highest gravity dam in the world  at 285 metres, it is also a masterpiece of technical skill and boldness dedicated to energy. On the scale of the highest mountains of the Swiss Alps, this structure of incredible magnitude is the cornerstone of a huge hydroelectric complex that includes four pumping stations and three production plants. The Bieudron plant holds three world records: the height of the fall (1883 m), the power per Pelton turbine (3 x 423 MW) and the power per pole of the alternators (35.7 MVA). 100 kilometers of galleries in the heart of the mountain gather the melted waters of 35 Valais glaciers, from the Mattertal (Zermatt region) to the Val d'Hérens, to turn the turbines. With a storage capacity of 400 million cubic metres, the Grande Dixence gravity dam weighs 15 million tons. It has a volume of 6 million cubic metres of concrete, a thickness of 200 m at the base and a length at its crown of 700 m.

Participants will have the opportunity to visit the inside of the dam, go to its crest by cable car and question the experts present at the site. They will learn about the operation of hydroelectric power in Switzerland, its many advantages and the challenging a changing climate poses to this clean, renewable, autochthonous and flexible method of power generation Switzerland has relied on for many decades.

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