The content of each programme is custom-built to the specific interests of the dignitary within the time available and generally in the following format:
- General introduction to CERN’s activities
- Visit to one or more surface or underground sites depending on accessibility
The minimum useful time for a visit is 90 minutes.
The facilities visited are selected according to the CERN activities of the body represented by the dignitary such as the Nation, Ministry or Institute. This requires input from a wide variety of sources including on the one hand the CERN management, advisors and Collaboration Spokespersons and on the other the Dignitary, Mission or Embassy and Ministries as well as the institutes involved.
The Protocol Office needs to know the time framework (precise arrival and departure times); the dignitary’s particular interests in the laboratory’s activities and the name and position of the accompanying persons. They also need direct contact with the person delegated by the dignitary to handle the visit.
Due to CERN’s unique situation astraddle the French / Swiss border visitors are required to carry identification papers. Flat or block-heeled shoes are recommended for visits in the experimental areas. Access to underground areas is restricted by safety rules communicated to the delegations prior to their visits.