Moving to Geneva - User Group Meetings in French-speaking Switzerland?

zzolo's picture

Hello Swiss Drupalers! I am moving to Geneva at the end of next month (given all the paperwork goes through) (and will be learning French)! I don't see anywhere about Geneva meetings. Are there Drupal users in Geneva? Can we get a monthly meeting started? If there are enough users, can we start our own group?

Very excited,
zzolo (Alan Palazzolo)


I live near Vevey, which is

boran's picture

I live near Vevey, which is an hour from Geneva... no Drupal groups around here that I know of.


Living near Fribourg

hpz's picture

I would be interested, but Geneva is about the same distance from Fribourg than Zurich.
For me a group in the region of Lausanne (or any place not too far from Fribourg) would be ineresting.


Geneva's Drupalers

mkalbere's picture

Hello Everybody,
There was once an attempt to launch some drupaler's meeting in Geneva, I know a couple of web develoipers working with Drupal in Geneva. Maybe Zzolo's energy and good vibes could give a new start for such meetings. Problem is not the interest .. but time.
Don't hesitate to contact me when you arrive in Geneva, There is definitely a Drupal biz here. (I'm freelance)

French-speaking Switzerland

floretan's picture

The main Swiss Drupal user group is mostly based in Zurich, but the distance and the language barrier can make it difficult to participate. There are also the people from Edipresse (Lausanne) and Previon (Zofingen) who are pretty active and have been hosting some meetings.

If the goal is to reach Drupal developers/users/evaluators from french-speaking Switzerland, it might make more sense to organize something in Lausanne (more centrally located).

There is much interest in a swiss french drupal group:-)

obris's picture

A week ago, i started to see if there is some interest. Now, 8 drupalers have positively answered and i think this could be a good start for a first meeting. For this meeting, i would not plan something big: simply a little meeting in a pub or in a bar to get better in touch.

@zzolo I'm happy to welcome you in Geneva. I really hope that you will love this city.

There is interest from Liip Fribourg

adijou's picture

Hello all. I'm working for Liip ( We are a company in Fribourg, Zurich and Bern, working in the web business (@flobruit we met at DrupalCon in Paris :). Because of client demand we'd like to build up a new Drupal team (see also job offer on

Gladly we would help to build up a swiss french Drupal group. In our office we have enough space to do meetings (however it's in Fribourg). If there is interest we can do a first "get in touch meeting" @ Liip FR office?


Hello Adrian, This sounds

obris's picture

Hello Adrian,

This sounds really great :-) I really don't care to go to Fribourg even if i live in Geneva.

Kathleen MacKenzie's picture

I have just started working for a Geneva-based NGO with a Drupal website, and I need LOTS of help, so a local users group would be great for me. I live in Nyon, so Lausanne is also possible. I speak some French and no German. Marc (mkalbere), are you available for hire on a answering-questions basis? If so, can you contact me directly at

Let me know if there is a way I can help establish a group.


Gerald Mengisen's picture

Geneva preferred, Lausanne OK

Go for Geneva

dsnoeck's picture


I'm will be very happy to take part to some kind of drupal barcamp around Geneva. I'm working for Optaros, and we are building applications based on Open Source products. We have done some interesting projects with Drupal (integrated with some other OSS like Alfresco) across the company and I will be happy to share this experience with all of you.

- Damien

Keep Open Spirit

Thanks for the replies!

zzolo's picture

Thanks everyone for the replies and it's good to see there is so much interest. I am not a native and don't want to make any decisions, but here is my idea: A Geneva meet up at the end of November at a pub or something informal, and we can discuss if we want to broaden it out to a monthly meeting in either Geneva or Lausanne.

A side note, I am all about a Geneva DrupalCamp if anyone has interest in putting that together. I have been involved with putting together other DrupalCamps and its important to realize it takes a lot of work. I think I remember someone mentioning a Geneva DrupalCamp at DrupalCon Paris?


Meeting location

hpz's picture


What about alternate the location of the meetings? Once at Lausanne, then at Geneva and maybe from time to time at Fribourg?

Non-smoking meeting place preferred

Gerald Mengisen's picture

Restaurants in Geneva are not yet forced to be non-smoking (coming in a few months), but there are some who are voluntarily or have at least a non-smoking corner.

Living in Biel/Bienne

collideous's picture


I'd be interested in participating as well. I live and work in Bienne. French used to be my second language. Though after living in the US for ten years, I've lost quite a bit of it. I have no preference as far as meeting location - Switzerland is a pretty small place and cities aren't that far apart. I'm pretty new to Drupal and have only been using it for a year now.


Living in Rhône-Alpes, Working in Geneva

mchevallier's picture


I have my business in Geneva and I'm Living one and a half our away in Isère (France).

I'm a newbie using Drupal to manage Local Associations Website... so Geneva would be my first choice.



Meeting Time and Place

zzolo's picture

Well, I finally arrived today. Unfortunately, I know little about what is in Geneva as far as being a good, friendly, smoke-free place for the meeting. Any ideas? My initial thoughts on a day would be Nov 25 or 26.


Gerald Mengisen's picture

Glad you made it.

The good news is that since Nov. 1st, all Geneva restaurants and public buildings are smoke-free.

There are plenty of restaurants around the main train station; the question is just for how many people? 10 - 20?

Both 25th / 26th would work for me.

Me, too, the 25 or 26

Kathleen MacKenzie's picture

Me, too, the 25 or 26 November would be fine for me. I would advocate being optimistic and finding a place for 20 people. Gerald, if you have an idea of the place, I would be happy to check on availability. I assume you are thinking of an evening gathering?

Invitation to Liip office

adijou's picture

Hello Swiss French Drupalers

As I already offered we could do the first meeting in our office in Fribourg on the 25th of november. I/Liip would organise some fingerfoods and something to drink. If there is interest (min. 5 "ok"-posts till Thurdsay evening) I would officially invite you to the Liip office.

Else I'll come to Geneva :)

Sorry, I'm too lazy to go to

mkalbere's picture

Sorry, I'm too lazy to go to Fribourg. Switzerland is so small that travelling more than 1h could be frightened you know ...
There are plenty of bars/restaurants near Geneva's railway station.
For example : Nomades, Rue des Grottes 18 (Place of the previous Drupal meeting for the one who where there ,-))
25th after 19h30 would take my preference.

Its official

zzolo's picture

I would not say I am too lazy, but as I am still getting my bearings, and I think it is important to just see what kind of interest there is, I would like to stick with Geneva for this first meeting.

And as mkalbere as put it all together, then there it is:

25th November 2009 at 19h30 at Nomades (Rue des Grottes 18). Starting event post: (Spread the word!)

Is someone able to make reservations (not sure if they are necessary)? From the response, I would only expect 10-15.

Good ;-)

mkalbere's picture

I can do the reservation. I'll wait a couple of days to have a better estimation of the number of interested people.

Follow up ?

John_Buehrer's picture

Six months later, how has this worked out?
Are you meetings conducted in English, French, or maybe both?

I'm interested in English-speaking Drupal groups
in the Zurich area.

Geneva group is going well

zzolo's picture

Hi John,

Geneva is lovely and the Drupal group is going well. Our meetings are mostly French though most everyone speaks English so the social (drinking) part is still fun for me. I am still taking French classes (but my job is all English so its hard to be fully immersed). We now have a Swiss Romandy (French speaking) group:

It seems like the main Switzerland group meets in Zurich and there seems to be a lot of English talk on the group, so I would imagine it is similar to the way it is here in Geneva. It's pretty difficult to use Drupal without knowing some English, at least form a developers perspective. It would be worth going to the Zurich meeting either way.


English Speakers

cgalli's picture

Hi John

the meetings in Zurich are usually held in German (as no one has so far asked about english) but there are many english speakers there so it may be worthwhile coming. And Drupalspeak is the same in all languages...

I did attend the Zurich

John_Buehrer's picture

I did attend the Zurich Drupal group meeting last month, and while there
were some interesting parts, it was a Swiss-German presentation and

I'm part of the ex-pat scene here in Zurich, hence my search for an
English-speaking Drupal group - but I am interested in your experiences!

I've a problem with many Drupal docs and videos - there's
far too much "narration" compared with technical specifics.
And I've found no "O'Reilly Nutshell" style book of concise facts.

(The O'Reilly Using Drupal book is bad in this narration sense, too much
verbage. Another book "Pro Drupal Development" is too oriented around
PHP programming, which I'm not doing here. The online Drupal handbook
seems to spiral off into unrelated points per topics.)

People can communicate their "mental models" using discussion, but
often this fails without improvements like concise speech, giving examples,
making diagrams... eg, a good (but so elusive) Powerpoint experience.

I find this especially problematic with Drupal, as much documentation
I've seen makes a number of unstated assumptions with what the author
is trying to do. Assumptions aren't bad if stated, but often they aren't.

Hence I'm interest in an English-speaking Drupal group where these
communication points can be addressed and overcome, while we share
our experiences and notes about Drupal adventures.

I do understand Swiss German

cgalli's picture

I do understand Swiss German so my problem is different from yours....

As far as the literature is concerned, I have never thought about you points. Being an auto-didact I did pick from all sources I could find. Discussions with others is very often the most enlightening, but only after having tried to understand the basics myself. Fact of the matter is: Drupal is not a concise subject. There are very often several different ways for doing one thing. It structured in the same way that it is developed: somewhat by accident!

Next time you come to the meeting, let it be known that you understand only english. We will try to find a way to accomodate to your needs!

BTW: Last time was VERY special as a full class of students was there. normally we are less people, so looking after you will be easier.


John_Buehrer's picture

Thanks Christophe, I will attend the May meeting next week.

The point of my notes is not to complain, but rather, state
what I've found hindering me from learning Drupal as quickly
as I would like.

In my earlier days I would have no problem with the current
system, and I also have self-taught myself a number of things.
But these days, "time is money" for me so I'm looking for a
more efficient way to learn and do Drupal stuff than now, without
the auto-didact burden of being unable to ask basic questions as
they arrive.

English Drupal Group

AlanAtLarge's picture

John!! Long time no see, and fancy running into you here on Drupal.

I've been playing with Drupal for a few months now (having jumped from Joomla) and I'm very impressed, particularly with the RDF that is part of Drupal 7 core. I'll be starting testing with 7 this week-ish.

Concerning documentation, well, heck, "it's opensource", but I know what you mean. I've found good info but it's not all in one book. I just ordered a stack and I'll give you my reviews.

How about us getting together to discuss Drupal?? We can call it an English group meeting and maybe we can write the beer off on our taxes.


re: English Drupal Group

John_Buehrer's picture


Although I neither see you either (no icon) nor know who you are (dozen of Alan's/Allen's in my head), but that's common on the Internet these days. I'm working at home today & tomorrow, so give me a call and lets hook up.

Also note that my hearing abilities over telephone frequencies is usually not adequate to determine a caller's identity with a "hello, it's me" announcement, so tolerance please if this happens.


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