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Principality of Liechtenstein
Fürstentum Liechtenstein
Flag Coat of arms
MottoFür Gott, Fürst und Vaterland
For God, Prince and Fatherland
AnthemOben am jungen Rhein
"Up on the Young Rhine"

Location of  Liechtenstein  (green)

on the European continent  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]

Location of  Liechtenstein  (green)
Capital Vaduz
47°08.5′N 9°31.4′E / 47.1417°N 9.5233°E / 47.1417; 9.5233
Largest city Schaan
Official language(s) German
Demonym Liechtensteiner (male), Liechtensteinerin (female)
Government Parliamentary democracy under constitutional monarchy
 -  Prince Hans-Adam II
 -  Regent Alois
 -  Prime Minister Klaus Tschütscher
 -  Landtag Speaker Arthur Brunhart
Independence as principality
 -  Treaty of Pressburg 1806 
 -  Independence from the German Confederation 1866 
 -  Total 160 km2 (211th)
62 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) negligible
 -  2010 estimate 35,981[1] (206th)
 -  2000 census 33,307 
 -  Density 224.9/km2 (56th)
582.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $4.993 billion[2] (155th)
 -  Per capita $118,000[2] (1st)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $4.160 billion[2][3] (142nd)
 -  Per capita $147,700[1][2][3] (1st)
HDI (2007) 0.951[4] (very high) (19th)
Currency Swiss franc (CHF)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .li
Calling code 423

The Principality of Liechtenstein (pronounced /ˈlɪktənstaɪn/ ( listen) LIK-tən-styen; German: Fürstentum Liechtenstein, correct-German-pronunciation-of-Fuerstentum-Liechtenstein.ogg [ˈfʏɐstəntuːm ˈliːçtənʃtaɪn] ) is a doubly landlocked alpine microstate in Western Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over 160 km² (about 61.7 square miles), and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz; the biggest town is Schaan. Liechtenstein has the highest gross domestic product per person in the world according to the CIA World Factbook[5]

Liechtenstein is the smallest German-speaking country in the world and the only alpine country to lie entirely within the Alps. It is also the only German-speaking country not to share a common border with Germany. It is a constitutional monarchy divided into 11 municipalities. Much of Liechtenstein's terrain is mountainous, making it a winter sports destination. Many cultivated fields and small farms characterize its landscape both in the north (Unterland, lower land) and in the south (Oberland, upper land). The country has a strong financial sector located in the capital, Vaduz, and has been identified as a tax haven. It is a member of the European Free Trade Association and part of the European Economic Area but not of the European Union.



At one time, the territory was part of the ancient Roman province of Raetia. For centuries this territory, geographically removed from European strategic interests, had little impact on European history. Prior to the reign of its current dynasty, the region was enfeoffed to a line of the counts of Hohenems.

The Liechtenstein dynasty, from which the principality takes its name, comes from Castle Liechtenstein in Lower Austria, which the family possessed from at least 1140 until the 13th century, and from 1807 onward. Through the centuries, the dynasty acquired vast tracts of land, predominantly in Moravia, Lower Austria, Silesia, and Styria, though these territories were all held in fief under other more senior feudal lords, particularly under various lines of the Habsburg family, whom several Liechtenstein princes served as close advisers. Thus, without any territory held directly under the Imperial throne, the Liechtenstein dynasty was unable to meet a primary requirement to qualify for a seat in the Imperial diet (parliament), the Reichstag.

The family yearned for the added power a seat in the Imperial government would bring and therefore sought to acquire lands that would be unmittelbar, or held without any feudal personage other than the Holy Roman Emperor having rights on the land. After some time, the family was able to arrange the purchase of the minuscule Herrschaft ("Lordship") of Schellenberg and county of Vaduz (in 1699 and 1712 respectively) from the Hohenems. Tiny Schellenberg and Vaduz had exactly the political status required: no feudal lord other than their comital sovereign and the suzerain Emperor.

On 23 January 1719, after the lands had been purchased, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, decreed that Vaduz and Schellenberg were united and elevated the newly formed territory to the dignity of Fürstentum (principality) with the name "Liechtenstein" in honour of "[his] true servant, Anton Florian of Liechtenstein". It was on this date that Liechtenstein became a sovereign member state of the Holy Roman Empire. It is a testament to the pure political expediency of the purchases that the Princes of Liechtenstein did not set foot in their new principality for over 120 years.

Vaduz Castle, overlooking the capital, is still home to the Prince of Liechtenstein

As a result of the Napoleonic Wars, by 1806 the Holy Roman Empire was under the control of French emperor Napoleon I. Napoleon dissolved the empire; this had broad consequences for Liechtenstein: imperial, legal and political mechanisms broke down. The state ceased to owe obligations to any feudal lord beyond its borders.

Modern publications generally (although incorrectly) attribute Liechtenstein's sovereignty to these events. In reality, its prince merely became suzerain, as well as remaining sovereign lord. From 25 July 1806 when the Confederation of the Rhine was founded, the Prince of Liechtenstein was a member, in fact a vassal of its hegemon, styled protector, French Emperor Napoleon I, until the dissolution of the confederation on 19 October 1813.

Soon afterward, Liechtenstein joined the German Confederation (20 June 1815 – 24 August 1866) which was presided over by the Emperor of Austria.

Then, in 1818, Johann I granted the territory a limited constitution. 1818 also saw the first visit of a member of the house of Liechtenstein, Prince Alois; however, the first visit by a sovereign prince would not occur until 1842.

Developments during the 19th century included:

  • In 1836, the first factory was opened, making ceramics.
  • In 1861, the Savings and Loans Bank was founded, as was the first cotton-weaving mill.
  • Two bridges over the Rhine were built in 1868, and in 1872 a railway line across Liechtenstein was constructed.

20th century

Until the end of World War I, Liechtenstein was closely tied first to the Austrian Empire and later to Austria-Hungary; the ruling princes continued to derive much of their wealth from estates in the Habsburg territories, and they spent much of their time at their two palaces in Vienna. The economic devastation caused by this war forced the country to conclude a customs and monetary union with its other neighbour, Switzerland. Liechtenstein's army was disbanded in 1868 for financial reasons.

At the time of the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it was argued that Liechtenstein, as a fief of the Holy Roman Empire, was no longer bound to the emerging independent state of Austria, since the latter did not consider itself as the legal successor to the empire. This is partly contradicted by the coeval Liechtenstein perception that the dethroned Austro-Hungarian Emperor still maintained an abstract heritage of the Holy Roman Empire.

In early 1938, just after the annexation of Austria into Greater Nazi Germany, 84 year old Prince Franz I abdicated, naming his 31-year-old third cousin, Prince Franz Joseph, as his successor. His wife, whom he had married in 1929, was a wealthy Jewish woman from Vienna, and local Liechtenstein Nazis had already identified her as their Jewish "problem". Although Liechtenstein had no official Nazi party, a Nazi sympathy movement had been simmering for years within its National Union party.[6]

During World War II, Liechtenstein remained officially neutral, looking to neighboring Switzerland for assistance and guidance, while family treasures within the war zone were taken to Liechtenstein (and London) for safekeeping. At the close of the conflict, Czechoslovakia and Poland, acting to seize what they considered to be German possessions, expropriated the entirety of the Liechtenstein dynasty's hereditary lands and possessions in Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia — the princes of Liechtenstein lived in Vienna until the Anschluss of 1938. The expropriations (subject to modern legal dispute at the World Court) included over 1,600 km2 (618 sq mi) of agricultural and forest land, and several family castles and palaces.

Citizens of Liechtenstein were forbidden to enter Czechoslovakia during the Cold War. More recently the diplomatic conflict revolving around the controversial post-war Beneš decrees has resulted in Liechtenstein not sharing international relations with the Czech Republic or Slovakia. The issue with Slovakia is yet to be resolved; Liechtenstein and the Czech Republic established diplomatic relations on 13 July 2009.[7][8][9]

Liechtenstein gave asylum to about 501 soldiers of the First Russian National Army (a collaborationist Russian force within the German Wehrmacht) at the close of World War II; this is commemorated by a monument at the border town of Hinterschellenberg. The act of granting asylum was no small matter as the country was poor and had difficulty feeding and caring for such a large group of refugees. Eventually, Argentina agreed to resettle the asylum seekers permanently. In contrast, the British repatriated the Russians who had fought for Germany to the USSR, and many of them perished in the Gulag.

In dire financial straits following the war, the Liechtenstein dynasty often resorted to selling family artistic treasures, including the priceless portrait "Ginevra de' Benci" by Leonardo da Vinci, which was purchased by the National Gallery of Art of the United States in 1967. Liechtenstein prospered, however, during the decades following, as it used its low corporate tax rates to draw many companies to the country.

The Prince of Liechtenstein is the world's sixth wealthiest leader with an estimated wealth of USD $5 billion.[10] The country's population enjoys one of the world's highest standards of living.


The Government building in Vaduz.

Liechtenstein's current constitution was adopted in March 2003, replacing the previous 1921 constitution which had established Liechtenstein as a constitutional monarchy headed by the reigning prince of the Princely House of Liechtenstein. A parliamentary system had been established, although the reigning prince retained substantial political authority.

The reigning prince is the head of state and represents Liechtenstein in its international relations (although Switzerland has taken responsibility for much of Liechtenstein's diplomatic relations). The prince may veto laws adopted by parliament. The prince can call referendums, propose new legislation, and dissolve parliament, although dissolution of parliament may be subject to a referendum.[11]

Executive authority is vested in a collegiate government comprising the head of government (prime minister) and four government councilors (ministers). The head of government and the other ministers are appointed by the prince upon the proposal and concurrence of parliament, thus reflecting the partisan balance of parliament. The constitution stipulates that at least two members of the government be chosen from each of the two regions.[12] The members of the government are collectively and individually responsible to parliament; parliament may ask the prince to remove an individual minister or the entire government.

Legislative authority is vested in the unicameral Landtag made up of 25 members elected for maximum four-year terms according to a proportional representation formula. Fifteen members are elected from the "Oberland" (Upper Country or region) and ten members are elected from the "Unterland" (Lower Country or region).[13] Parties must receive at least 8% of the national vote to win seats in parliament. Parliament proposes and approves a government, which is formally appointed by the prince. Parliament may also pass votes of no confidence in the entire government or individual members.

Parliament elects from among its members a "Landesausschuss" (National Committee) made up of the president of the parliament and four additional members. The National Committee is charged with performing parliamentary oversight functions. Parliament can call for referendums on proposed legislation. Parliament shares the authority to propose new legislation with the prince and with the number of citizens required for an initiative referendum.[14]

Judicial authority is vested in the Regional Court at Vaduz, the Princely High Court of Appeal at Vaduz, the Princely Supreme Court, the Administrative Court, and the State Court. The State Court rules on the conformity of laws with the constitution and has five members elected by parliament.

New constitution

In a national referendum in March 2003, nearly two-thirds of the electorate voted in support of Hans-Adam II's proposed new constitution to replace the 1921 one. The proposed constitution was criticised by many, including the Council of Europe, as expanding the powers of the monarchy (continuing the power to veto any law, and allowing the prince to dismiss the government or any minister). The prince threatened that if the constitution failed, he would, among other things, convert some of the royal property for commercial use and move to Austria.[15] The royal family and the prince enjoy tremendous public support inside the nation, and the resolution passed with about 64% in favour.


Satellite image
Grauspitz, the highest peak in Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein is situated in the Upper Rhine valley of the European Alps and is bordered to the east by Austria and to the west by Switzerland. The entire western border of Liechtenstein is formed by the Rhine. Measured north to south, the country is about 24 km (15 mi) long. Its highest point, the Grauspitz, is 2,599 m (8,527 ft). Despite its Alpine location, prevailing southerly winds make the climate of Liechtenstein comparatively mild. In winter, the mountain slopes are well suited to winter sports.

New surveys using more accurate measurements of the country's borders in 2006 have set its area at 160 km2 (61.776 sq mi), with borders of 77.9 km (48.4 mi).[16] Thus, Liechtenstein discovered in 2006 that its borders are 1.9 km (1.2 mi) longer than previously thought.[17]

Liechtenstein is one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world[2]—being a landlocked country wholly surrounded by other landlocked countries (the other is Uzbekistan). Liechtenstein is the sixth-smallest independent nation in the world by land area.

The principality of Liechtenstein is divided into 11 communes called Gemeinden (singular Gemeinde). The Gemeinden mostly consist only of a single town or village. Five of them (Eschen, Gamprin, Mauren, Ruggell, and Schellenberg) fall within the electoral district Unterland (the lower county), and the remainder (Balzers, Planken, Schaan, Triesen, Triesenberg, and Vaduz) within Oberland (the upper county).


Looking northward at Vaduz city-centre.
City-centre with Kunstmuseum (Liechtenstein Art Museum).

Despite or perhaps because of its limited natural resources, Liechtenstein is one of the few countries in the world with more registered companies than citizens; it has developed a prosperous, highly industrialized free-enterprise economy and boasts a financial service sector as well as a living standard which compares favorably with those of the urban areas of Liechtenstein's large European neighbours.

Relatively low business taxes—the maximum tax rate is 20%[18]—as well as easy Rules of Incorporation have induced about 73,700 holding (or so-called 'letter box') companies to establish registered offices in Liechtenstein. This provides about 30% of Liechtenstein's state revenue. Liechtenstein also generates revenue from Stiftungen ("foundations"), which are financial entities created to increase the privacy of nonresident foreigners' financial holdings. The foundation is registered in the name of a Liechtensteiner, often a lawyer.

Recently, Liechtenstein has shown strong determination to prosecute international money-launderers and has worked to promote the country's image as a legitimate finance center. In February 2008, the country's LGT Bank was implicated in a tax-fraud scandal in Germany, which strained the ruling family's relationship with the German government. Crown Prince Alois has accused the German government of trafficking in stolen goods. This refers to its $7.3 million purchase of private banking information illegally offered by a former employee of LGT Group.[19][20] However, the United States Senate's subcommittee on tax haven banks said that the LGT bank, which is owned by the royal family, and on whose board they serve, "is a willing partner, and an aider and abettor to clients trying to evade taxes, dodge creditors or defy court orders."[21]

Liechtenstein participates in a customs union with Switzerland and employs the Swiss franc as national currency. The country imports more than 90% of its energy requirements. Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area (an organization serving as a bridge between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Union) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe. Since 2002, Liechtenstein's rate of unemployment has doubled, although it stood at only 2.2% in the third quarter of 2004. Currently, there is only one hospital in Liechtenstein, the Liechtensteinisches Landesspital in Vaduz. The gross domestic product (GDP) on a purchasing power parity basis is $4.16 billion,[2] or $118,000 per person.

Liechtenstein is a large producer of ceramics and is the world's largest producer of sausage casings, potassium storage units and false teeth. Other industries include electronics, textiles, precision instruments, metal manufacturing, power tools, anchors, calculators, pharmaceuticals, and food products. Its most recognizable international company and largest employer is Hilti, a manufacturer of direct fastening systems and other high-end power tools. Liechtenstein produces wheat, barley, corn, potatoes, dairy products, livestock, and wine. Tourism accounts for a large portion of the country's economy.


The government of Liechtenstein taxes both personal and business income and principal (wealth). The basic rate of personal income tax is 1.2%. When combined with the additional income tax imposed by the communes, the combined income tax rate is 17.82%.[22] An additional income tax of 4.3% is levied on all employees under the country's social security program. This rate is higher for the self-employed, up to a maximum of 11%, making the maximum income tax rate about 29% in total. The basic tax rate on wealth is 0.06% per annum, and the combined total rate is 0.89%. The maximum business income tax rate is 18-20%.[2]

Liechtenstein's gift and estate taxes vary depending on the relationship the recipient has to the giver and the amount of the inheritance. The tax ranges between 0.5% and 0.75% for spouses and children and 18% to 27% for non-related recipients. The estate tax is progressive.

The 2008 Liechtenstein tax affair is a series of tax investigations in numerous countries whose governments suspect that some of their citizens may have evaded tax obligations by using banks and trusts in Liechtenstein; the affair broke open with the biggest complex of investigations ever initiated for tax evasion in the Federal Republic of Germany.[23] It was also seen as an attempt to put pressure on Liechtenstein, then one of the remaining uncooperative tax havens – along with Andorra and Monaco – as identified by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2007.[24] On 27 May 2009 the OECD removed Liechtenstein from the blacklist of uncooperative countries.[25]

In August 2009, the British Government Department, HM Revenue & Customs, agreed with the Alpine tax haven to start exchanging information. It is believed that up to 5,000 British investors have roughly £3billion stashed in accounts and trusts in the country[26].


Liechtenstein is the fourth smallest country of Europe, after Vatican City, Monaco, and San Marino. Its population is primarily Alemannic-speaking ethnic Germans, although its resident population is approximately one third foreign-born, primarily German speakers from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, other Swiss, Italians, and Turks. Foreign-born people make up two-thirds of the country's workforce.

The official language is German; most speak Alemannic, a dialect of German that is highly divergent from Standard German but closely related to those dialects spoken in neighbouring regions such as Vorarlberg, Austria. In Triesenberg, a dialect promoted by the municipality is spoken. According to the 2000 census, 87.9% of the population is Christian, of whom 78,4% adhere to the Roman Catholic faith, while about 8% are Protestant. Compared to the 1990 census, the percentage of Christians reduced, whereas Muslims and the undeclared/no religion more than doubled in size.[27].

Religion [28] 2000 1990
Catholics 78.4 % 84.9 %
Reformed Church 7.9% 9.4 %
Christian-orthodox Churches 1.1% 0.7 %
Other Christian Churches 0.4% 0.1 %
Muslims 4.8% 2.4 %
Jews 0.1% 0.0 %
Other religions 0.3% 0.1 %
Undeclared / no religion 7.0 % 2.4 %
Total: 100% 100%

Liechtensteiners have an average life expectancy at birth of 79.68 years (76.1 for males; 83.28 for females). The infant mortality rate is 4.64 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to recent estimates. The literacy rate of Liechtenstein is 100%.[2] The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks Liechtenstein's education as the 10th best in the world.[29]


Map of the Principality of Liechtenstein There are about 250 km (155 mi) of paved roadway within Liechtenstein, with 90 km (56 mi) of marked bicycle paths.

9.5 km (5.9 mi) of railway connects Austria and Switzerland through Liechtenstein. The country's railways are administered by the Austrian Federal Railways as part of the route between Feldkirch, Austria, and Buchs, Switzerland. Liechtenstein is nominally within the Austrian Verkehrsverbund Vorarlberg [30] tariff region. There are four stations in Liechtenstein, namely Schaan-Vaduz, Forst Hilti, Nendeln, and Schaanwald, served by an irregularly stopping train service that runs between Feldkirch and Buchs provided by the Austrian Federal Rail Service. While EuroCity and other long distance international trains also travel along the route, they do not normally stop at the stations within the borders of Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein Bus is a subsidiary of the Swiss Postbus system, but separately run, and connects to the Swiss bus network at Buchs and at Sargans. Buses also run to the Austrian town of Feldkirch.

Liechtenstein has no airport; the nearest large airport is Zürich. There is a small heliport at Balzers[31][32] available for charter helicopter flights.


Vineyard on the outskirts of Vaduz.

As a result of its small size, Liechtenstein has been strongly affected by external cultural influences, most notably those originating in the southern German-speaking areas of Europe, including Austria, Bavaria, Switzerland, and specifically Tirol and Vorarlberg. The "Historical Society of the Principality of Liechtenstein" plays a role in preserving the culture and history of the country.

The largest museum is the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, an international museum of modern and contemporary art with an important international art collection. The building by the Swiss architects Morger, Degelo and Kerez is a landmark in Vaduz. It was completed in November 2000 and forms a "black box" of tinted concrete and black basalt stone. The museum collection is also the national art collection of Liechtenstein.

The other important museum is the Liechtenstein National Museum (Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum) showing permanent exhibition on the cultural and natural history of Liechtenstein as well as special exhibitions. There are a stamp museum and a ski museum.

The most famous historical sites are Vaduz Castle, Gutenberg Castle, the Red House and the ruins of Schellenberg.

Music and theatre are an important part of the culture. There are numerous music organizations such as the Liechtenstein Musical Company, the annual Guitar Days and the International Josef Gabriel Rheinberger Society, which play in two main theatres.

The Private Art Collection of the Prince of Liechtenstein, one of the world's leading private art collections, is shown at the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna.


Marco Büchel, skier.

Liechtenstein football teams play in the Swiss football leagues. The Liechtenstein Cup allows access for one Liechtenstein team each year to the UEFA Europa League; FC Vaduz, a team playing in the Swiss Challenge League, the second division in Swiss football, is the most successful team in the Cup, and scored their greatest success in the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1996 when they tied and defeated the Latvian team FC Universitate Riga by 1–1 and 4–2, to go on to a lucrative fixture against Paris St Germain, which they lost 0–4 and 0–3.

The Liechtenstein national football team is regarded as an easy target for any team drawn against them; this was the basis for a book about Liechtenstein's unsuccessful qualifying campaign for the 2002 World Cup by British author, Charlie Connelly. In one surprising week during autumn 2004, however, the team managed a 2–2 draw with Portugal, who only a few months earlier had been the losing finalists in the European Championships. Four days later, the Liechtenstein team traveled to Luxembourg, where they defeated the home team 4-0 in a 2006 World Cup qualifying match. In the qualification stage of the European Championship 2008, Liechtenstein beat Latvia 1-0, a result which prompted the resignation of the Latvian coach. They went on to beat Iceland 3-0 on 17 October 2007, which is considered one of the most dramatic losses of the Icelandic national football team.

As an alpine country, the main sporting opportunity for Liechtensteiners to excel is in winter sports such as downhill skiing: the country's single ski area is Malbun. Hanni Wenzel won two gold medals and one silver medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics (she won bronze in 1976), and her brother Andreas won one silver medal in 1980 and one bronze medal in 1984 in the giant slalom event. With nine medals overall (all in alpine skiing), Liechtenstein has won more Olympic medals per capita than any other nation.[33] It is the smallest nation to win a medal in any Olympics, Winter or Summer, and the only nation to win a medal in the Winter Games but not in the Summer Games. Other notable skiers from Liechtenstein are Marco Büchel, Willi Frommelt, Paul Frommelt and Ursula Konzett.

Amateur radio is a hobby of some nationals and visitors. However, unlike virtually every other sovereign nation, Liechtenstein does not have its own ITU Prefix. It uses Switzerland's callsign prefixes (typically "HB") followed by a zero.


Liechtenstein follows a policy of neutrality and is one of few countries in the world that maintains no military. The army was abolished soon after the Austro-Prussian War in which Liechtenstein fielded an army of 80 men, although they were not involved in any fighting. The demise of the German Confederation in that war freed Liechtenstein from its international obligation to maintain an army, and parliament seized this opportunity and refused to provide funding for an army. The prince objected, as such a move would leave the country defenseless, but relented on 12 February 1868 and disbanded the force. The last soldier to serve under the colours of Liechtenstein died in 1939 at age 95.[34] Order within the country is kept by a small police force.


  1. ^ a b Eurostat estimate
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h CIA World Factbook - Liechtenstein.
  3. ^ a b Key Figures for Liechtenstein, Landesverwaltung Liechtenstein.
  4. ^ Human Development Report 2009. The United Nations. Retrieved 5 October 2009
  5. ^
  6. ^ Nazi Pressure? - TIME, 11 April 1938.
  7. ^ "Liechtenstein and the Czech Republic establish diplomatic relations" (pdf). Government Spokesperson’s Office, the Principality of Liechtenstein. 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  8. ^ "Navázání diplomatických styků České republiky s Knížectvím Lichtenštejnsko" (in Czech). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ D. Pendleton, C. Vorasasun, C. von Zeppelin, T. Serafin(1 September 2008). "The Top 15 Wealthiest Royals". Forbes Magazine.
  11. ^ Country profile: Liechtenstein - Leaders BBC News, 6 December 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2006.
  12. ^ Principality of Liechtenstein - Government accessed 11 January 2010
  13. ^ Principality of Liechtenstein website - Parliamentary elections accessed 11 January 2010
  14. ^ Principality of Liechtenstein website - Parliamentary Organization accessed 11 January 2010
  15. ^ Liechtenstein prince wins powers BBC News Online, 16 March 2003. Retrieved 29 December 2006.
  16. ^ "Tiny Liechtenstein gets a little bigger", 29 December 2006.
  17. ^ Liechtenstein redraws Europe map, BBC News, 28 December 2006.
  18. ^
  19. ^ Wiesmann, Gerrit. "Lilliput's giant-slayer." The Financial Times, 23 February 2008.
  20. ^ A Parasite's Priorities, 22 February 2008.
  21. ^
  22. ^ Encyclopedia of the Nations
  23. ^ "Skandal gigantischen Ausmaßes" (in German). Süddeutsche Zeitung. 2008-02-15.,tt2m2/wirtschaft/artikel/599/158176/. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  24. ^ Esterl, Mike; Simpson, Glenn R., Crawford, David (2008-02-19). "Stolen Data Spur Tax Probes". The Wall Street Journal (Google Groups). Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  25. ^ Removal from OECD List of Unco-operative Tax Havens
  26. ^ British Broadcasting Corporation
  27. ^ Publikationen zur Volkszählung 2000 – Amt für Volkswirtschaft (AVW) – Landesverwaltung Liechtenstein<
  28. ^ Publikationen zur Volkszählung 2000 - Amt für Volkswirtschaft - Landesverwaltung Liechtenstein
  29. ^ Range of rank on the PISA 2006 science scale
  30. ^ Verkehrsverbund Vorarlberg
  31. ^ Heliport Balzers FL LSXB
  32. ^ Heliports - Balzers LSXB - Heli-Website von Matthias Vogt
  33. ^ "Per Capita Olympic Medal Table". Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  34. ^ Beattie, David (2004). Liechtenstein: A Modern History. London: I.B. Tauris. p. 30. ISBN 185043459X. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Central Europe : Liechtenstein
Quick Facts
Capital Vaduz
Government Hereditary constitutional monarchy on a democratic and parliamentary basis
Currency Swiss franc (CHF)
Area total: 160 km2
Population 33,987 (July 2006 est.)
Language German (official), Alemannic dialect
Religion Roman Catholic 76.2%, Protestant 7%, unknown 10.6%, other 6.2% (June 2002)
Electricity 230V/50Hz (European plug)
Calling Code +423
Internet TLD .li
Time Zone UTC +1

The Principality of Liechtenstein [1] (German: Fürstentum Liechtenstein) is a small alpine country which is doubly landlocked by Switzerland and Austria (meaning it is landlocked by landlocked countries). It is the last remnant of the Holy Roman Empire and an independent state with close ties to Switzerland. It enjoys a high standard of living and is home to some very beautiful mountain scenery. The principality's capital, Vaduz, is a major center of commerce and international banking.

  • Vaduz - The capital city of the Principality of Liechtenstein and the seat of government.
  • Schaan - The largest populated area in the country.
  • Triesen - A small town to the south of Vaduz.
  • Triesenberg - An alpine town high in Liechtenstein's mountains.
  • Malbun - Ski area.
  • Balzers - The southernmost town in the country is home to a very beautiful church and castle.
Map of Liechtenstein
Map of Liechtenstein



The Principality of Liechtenstein was established within the Holy Roman Empire in 1719 and became a sovereign state in 1806. Until the end of World War I, it was closely tied to Austria, but the economic devastation caused by that conflict forced Liechtenstein to conclude a customs and monetary union with Switzerland. Since World War II (in which Liechtenstein remained neutral) the country's low taxes have spurred outstanding economic growth. Shortcomings in banking regulatory oversight have resulted in concerns about the use of the financial institutions for money laundering and tax evasion. However, the days of bringing suitcases of money into banks for deposit without questions asked is over. Liechtensteiners are also very proud of the fact that their nation has never been physically involved in a battle or military confrontation with an "enemy state" and see their flag as a banner of peace.

  • Liechtenstein Tourism [2] (official site)


Despite its small size and limited natural resources, Liechtenstein has developed into a prosperous, highly industrialized, free-enterprise economy with a vital financial service sector and living standards on a par with the urban areas of its large European neighbors. The Liechtenstein economy is widely diversified with a large number of small businesses. Low business taxes - the maximum tax rate is 20% - and easy incorporation rules have induced a large number of holding or so-called letter box companies to establish nominal offices in Liechtenstein, providing 30% of state revenues. The country participates in a customs union with Switzerland and uses the Swiss franc as its national currency. It imports more than 90% of its energy requirements. Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area (an organization serving as a bridge between European Free Trade Association {EFTA} and EU) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe. Liechtenstein has one of the highest personal income rates (GDP Per Capita) in the world, with the base rate of income tax currently standing at just 1.2%.

Liechtenstein was the home of the Curta calculator.


Liechtenstein is very mountainous and one of the world's two doubly-landlocked countries. Most of the country's population lives in the long and wide Rhine Valley in the western third. Roads are mainly laid out in a north-south pattern following the valley as well. To the north the main roads lead to the border with Austria, to the south they enter Switzerland, and to the west across the river the bridges also cross into Switzerland. The eastern border to Austria is not passable and is only accessible by foot as it is very mountainous. The country's highest point is the Grauspitz, which stretches to 2,599m. Liechtenstein is twice the size of San Marino and it is 40 times bigger than Monaco.


Liechtenstein has a continental climate featuring cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow or rain, making the country a moderately popular ski destination. Summers are cool to moderately warm, also often cloudy and humid.

Get in

Liechtenstein maintains a complete customs union with Switzerland and hence does not issue its own visas: It is represented by Switzerland in embassies around the globe. If you can enter Switzerland, you can enter Liechtenstein, for decades there have been no border formalities needed for crossing between the two countries. The Swiss still operate a border controls at Liechtenstein's frontier to Austria. In essence there is nothing more than a sign announcing your arrival in Switzerland or Liechtenstein (when you cross the Rhine or the land border), similar to the situation at smaller border crossings in many EU nations, (Austria/Germany/France/Italy etc.) Stamp hunters can, however, get an authentic Liechtenstein entry stamp in their passport at Vaduz's tourist office for 2.00 Swiss franc (CHF) or €3.00. The stamp is not available at the Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum, the tourist office is the only place that you can purchase the stamp. This is the same entry stamp received (for free) by non-European visitors when entering Liechtenstein from Austria - although the Swiss border guards do not always stamp your passport if entering via Feldkirch/Austria. Following the lead of Switzerland, who handles the border duties for the Principality, Liechtenstein will be abolishing border controls to Austria and the (EU) in 2009. This means that there will actually be border checks between Switzerland and Liechtenstein as of December 2008, until Liechtenstein joins the border-less Europe in November of 2009. However, they merely consist of video monitoring at the Swiss-Liechtenstein border. After this point the agreement will allow for free and unchecked travel both into Austria (and the EU) and will re-open the border to its partner and neighbor Switzerland.

By plane

Liechtenstein has no airports due to the size of the country. You can take a flight to the Zürich Airport (115 km). Although the airport was the only major airport near Liechtenstein, there were some limited services from Vienna to St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport (53 km) by Austrian Arrows [3]. There was also a private airport in Bad Ragaz, very near the country. Another popular point of entry is through Friedrichshafen in Germany, which is served by low-cost airlines.

Liechtenstein's Prince has a heliport in the Southern low lands.

By train or bus

ÖBB, the Austrian federal railway company, has been continually providing a limited service from Buchs SG station in Switzerland, to the Schaan-Vaduz station near Schaan. Trains only run a few times a day. Rail timetable for 2009 [4]. The Best and most frequent option is to arrive by bus. Buses run every 15 minutes form Buchs SG train station to Schaan and Vaduz. Tickets can be purchased on the bus for 2.60 CHF and it only takes about 10 minutes to Schaan and another 5 to Vaduz.

If you're coming by rail from the direction of Zürich, it's sometimes quickest to get out at Sargans and catch a bus to Schaan (where you can change for Vaduz). Consult the SBB timetable [5] to find out what'll be quickest when you're travelling. There are lockers at the Sargans station so you can leave your luggage there. Here is a map [6] of the station showing the lockers and where to catch the bus from.

By car

The Swiss Autobahn A13/E34 runs along the swiss side of the Rhine River, the border between Switzerland and Liechtenstein. There are several access points that cross the Rhine into Liechtenstein, the two that are most commonly used are the bridge crossing into the southern town of Balzers and the crossing into Vaduz. Parking in Vaduz is easy, with a large parking garage located below the Kunstmuseum. Driving in Liechtenstein is relatively safe, but extra care should be taken on narrow and winding mountain roads. Speed traps are everywhere!


Very easy indeed from Feldkirch in Austria. Rush hour sees lots of commuters head into the capital. A simple sign as you stand by the main road in Feldkirch should get you a lift within minutes.

Get around

Public transport in Liechtenstein is amazingly efficient and commonly used. The country's sole bus operator is LBA [7]. The LBA fares are very cheap, as a 7-day unlimited use card costs just CHF 10. Another cheap way to travel, weather permitting, is by bike. The roads in Liechtenstein are in excellent condition and many (in the Balzers-Schaan corridor) even offer bike lanes. Biking through the whole country (entering from Austria going all the way south through to Switzerland) takes only a few hours, but is worth every minute of the wonderful alpine scenery!


The national language is German. This is a different dialect from High German -- which is spoken in northern Germany and generally regarded as 'proper German'. The dialect(s) are much similar to those spoken across the Rhine in Switzerland and in Vorarlberg, Austria. Almost everyone can speak dialect and standard German, unlike in some parts of Switzerland where dialect still plays a central role in media. English is the most commonly spoken foreign language, but proficiency varies dramatically (as in Switzerland). French and Latin are also widely taught in the public school system.


Liechtenstein boasts a very high number of attractions that are of interest to visitors.

Balzers Castle
Balzers Castle

Vaduz - The capital is the main shopping area in the country, with many souvenir stores and assorted restaurants. The city is also home to a grand cathedral and the famous Liechtenstein Kunstmuseum. A ski museum is North of downtown.

Schloss Vaduz - The imposing castle overlooks the city of Vaduz - it is accesable on the Vaduz-Triesenberg main road. it is not open to the public.

It is entirely possible to encounter the Royal family at the Kunstmuseum or skiing during winter time. This is one benefit of such a small country.

Balzers - Home to a beautiful church and a spectacular gothic castle.


Liechtenstein offers great hiking, road biking, and mountain biking terrain. Skiing and snowboarding are also offered at a reasonable price at the country's small resort, Malbun, in comparison to the expensive lift prices in neighboring Switzerland or Austria. Make sure to stop by the local tourist office in Vaduz and get your passport stamped. To get the stamp costs 3.00 CHF or 2.00 Euro (as of October 2009) and is a nice souvenir of your journey to this small nation.

Get up early one morning and drive up the mountains on the east side of the river. From here you have an incredible view over Vaduz & Switzerland that you can stand and admire.


Liechtenstein uses the Swiss franc (CHF) as its currency. Many shops will also accept the Euro, but the exchange rate may not be very advantageous.


Costs in Liechtenstein are roughly equivalent to those in Switzerland and are therefore somewhat more expensive than other European countries.


You will find a few restaurants in the larger cities of Liechtenstein. There is also a McDonald's restaurant (opened in 1996; serves wine), which is very popular and is widely publicised by roadsigns throughout the country.

The many small bakeries are a great place to get a warm, fresh roll or pastry.

One restaurant I can recommend is the Old Castle Inn (Aeulestrasse 22 9490 Vaduz, Liechtenstein, +423 232 10 65) in the centre of Vaduz. It is impossible to miss and offers authentic food at a reasonable price and with a pleasant atmosphere.


Internet access is available with one station at Telecom Liechtenstein immediate south of Vaduz's downtown on the main road, but this is only open during business hours. Most hotels and some bars/restaurants will have net access such as in Schaan. The last real Internet cafe disappeared, because every one in the country has net access in their homes, so the local market completely disappeared and only visitors need access.


There is a small amount of wine that is produced in Liechtenstein that is available in supermarkets and tourist shops throughout the country. Expect to pay around 25 Swiss Francs for an average bottle. The Prince even owns his own vineyard in Vaduz, off the main road. Beer is also available for purchase that is made with malt from Liechtenstein, although most of the beer itself is brewed in Switzerland. A variety of other European wines, beers, and soft drinks are also available. There is now a brewery in Liechtenstein that produces a variety of beers; lagers including Helles (blonde) and Hefe Weizen (unfiltered wheat) styles are brewed.

There is also a one-man distillery in Triesen who makes liquors and schnapps from fruits. Tours on Saturdays.


There are a few hotels in Liechtenstein, but they tend to run on the expensive side. There is one youth hostel [8] located in Schaan, but it closes for the winter. You will probably be able to find cheaper accommodation in neighboring Feldkirch, Austria.

Camping Mittagspitz is the only full-service campsite in the Principality. It offers excellent facilities, a friendly reception and a fabulous reasonably priced restaurant. There are three other campgrounds in Liechtenstein. One in Bendern, one in Vaduz, and one in Triesen. All are pretty much full year round.

  • Gasthaus Krone, Dorf 36, 9488 Schellenberg (next to post office and bus-station), +423 373 1168, [9]. Very inexpensive rooms. Familly run hotel and restaurant. 15 km away from Vaduz, regular (hourly) bus service to all parts of Liechtenstein. 60 CHF (double).  edit


Liechtenstein's university offers courses only in technical sciences. Without either Liechtenstein/Swiss or EU citizenship, a large bank balance and a fluency in German, it is unlikely to interest visitors.


Finding work in Liechtenstein is difficult. A majority of non-nationals working in the Principality are Swiss, with a smaller number of Austrians and Germans. Liechtenstein is not a member of the European Union, so the government has no obligation to let nationals of EU member states work and live in the country.

Stay safe

Liechtenstein is easily one of the safest countries in the world, though it is not without its problems. The most common crime in Liechtenstein is of a non-violent nature, though the Principality maintains a well-equipped police force which maintains a presence on the streets. In the late 1990s, the Liechtenstein Landespolizei launched a crackdown on prostitution in Vaduz. Considering the largest cities nearby are Innsbruck and Zürich, outside of Schaan and Vaduz, the whole place can seem very rural. Drunk drivers and winter road conditions may be your only "realistic" concern. Speed limits are strictly enforced by speed cameras which will be very pricey. Don't speed and enjoy the scenery instead!

The country's beautiful scenery is also very dangerous. Cases of hikers finding themselves in difficulty are very common, and extreme care should be taken when leaving the well-marked trails. Follow local advice, read local weather forecasts (newspapers in the Principality print individual forecasts for the different cities in Liechtenstein which is beneficial because the difference in altitude often results in different weather conditions) and ensure that you have the correct equipment before setting out.

Stay healthy

There are excellent medical facilities in Liechtenstein, but it is more likely that you would be transferred to a hospital in Switzerland should you require medical attention.


The Principality of Liechtenstein has existed for centuries as an independent state and this should be remembered. Liechtenstein is not part of Switzerland or Austria, and its citizens will not hesitate in reminding you of this!

Remember that this is a traditional Catholic country. On a Sunday the streets are all but dead except for the tourists and the tourist shops. Liechtensteiners are very proud of their national identity and would take offence to being wrongly labelled "German", "Austrian" or "Swiss". Those who may feel inclined to denounce the monarchy as a system of government should be advised: the Prince is well loved and very popular, and certainly he should be held in high esteem when discussing national politics.

Get out

Feldkirch, Austria and Lake Constance make for wonderful destinations.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LIECHTENSTEIN, the smallest independent state in Europe, save San Marino and Monaco. It lies some way S. of the Lake of Constance, and extends along the right bank of the Rhine, opposite Swiss territory, between Sargans and Sennwald, while on the E. it also comprises the upper portion of the Samina glen that joins the Ill valley at Frastanz, above Feldkirch. It is about 12 m. in length, and covers an area of 61.4 or 68.8 sq. m. (according to different estimates). Its loftiest point rises at the S.E. angle of the state, in the Rhatikon range, and is named to Naafkopf or the Rothe Wand (8445 ft.); on its summit the Swiss, Vorarlberg, and Liechtenstein frontiers join. In 1901 the population was 9477 (of whom 4890 were women and 4587 men). The capital is Vaduz (1523 ft.), with about 1 100 inhabitants, and 2 m. S. of the Schaan railway station, which is 2 m. from Buchs (Switz.). Even in the 17th century the Romonsch language was not extinguished in the state, and many Romonsch place-names still linger, e.g. Vaduz, Samina, Gavadura, &c. Now the population is German-speaking and Romanist. The constitution of 1862 was amended in 1878, 1895 and 1901. All males of 24 years of age are primary electors, while the diet consists of 12 members, holding their seats for 4 years and elected indirectly, together with 3 members nominated by the prince. The prince has a lieutenant resident at Vaduz, whence there is an appeal to the prince's court at Vienna, with a final appeal (since 1884) to the supreme district court at Innsbruck. Compulsory military service was abolished in 1868, the army having till then been 91 strong. The principality forms ecclesiastically part of the diocese of Coire, while as regards customs duties it is joined with the Vorarlberg, and as regards postal and coinage arrangements with Austria, which (according to the agreement of 1852, renewed in 1876, by which the principality entered the Austrian customs union) must pay it at least 40,000 crowns annually. In 1904 the revenues of the principality amounted to 888,931 crowns, and its expenditure to 802,163 crowns. There is no public debt. This is one of the only known countries to actually deport citizens over the age of 18 who are recognized as "intentionally illiterate"

The county of Vaduz and the lordship of Schellenberg passed through many hands before they were bought in 1613 by the count of Hohenems (to the N. of Feldkirch). In consequence of financial embarrassments, that family had to sell both (the lordship in 1699, the county in 1713) to the Liechtenstein family, which had since the 12th century owned two castles of that name (both now ruined), one in Styria and the other a little S.W. of Vienna. In 1719 these new acquisitions were raised by the emperor into a principality under the name of Liechtenstein, which formed part successively of the Holy Roman Empire (till 1806) and of the German Confederation (1815-1866), having been sovereign1806-1815as well as since 1866.

See J. Falke's Geschichte d. fiirstlichen Hauses Liechtenstein (3 vols., Vienna, 1868-1883); J. C. Heer, Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein (Feldkirch, 1906); P. Kaiser, Geschichte d. Fiirstenthums Liechtenstein (Coire, 1847); F. Umlauft, Das Fiirstenthum Liechtenstein (Vienna, 1891); E. Walder, Aus den Bergen (Zurich, 1896); A. Waltenberger, Algdu, Vorarlberg, and Westtirol (Rtes. 25 and 26) (loth ed., Innsbruck, 1906). (W. A. B. C.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Proper noun




  1. A country in the European Alps. Official name: Principality of Liechtenstein.


See also



Proper noun

Liechtenstein n.


Finnish Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia fi

Proper noun


  1. Liechtenstein


Derived terms

  • liechtensteinilainen


Proper noun

Liechtenstein m.

  1. Liechtenstein


German Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia de


  • IPA: /ˈliːçtənʃtaɪ̯n/

Proper noun

Liechtenstein n.

  1. Country in Europe. Official name: Fürstentum Liechtenstein.

Derived terms


Italian Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia it

Proper noun

Liechtenstein m.

  1. Liechtenstein


Proper noun


  1. Liechtenstein

See also

  • liechtensteiner
  • liechtensteinsk



  • IPA: /ˈlixtɛnʂtajn/

Proper noun

Liechtenstein m.

  1. Liechtenstein


Singular only
Nominative Liechtenstein
Genitive Liechtensteinu
Dative Liechtensteinowi
Accusative Liechtenstein
Instrumental Liechtensteinem
Locative Liechtensteinie
Vocative Liechtensteinie


Proper noun


  1. Liechtenstein


  • Listenstaine


Proper noun


  1. Liechtenstein

Simple English

[[File:|right|300px|]] Liechtenstein is a country in Europe. It is the sixth smallest country in the world [1] and one of the few double landlocked countries in the world. Liechtenstein is located between Austria and Switzerland. It was a part of the Holy Roman Empire until 1806 when it became an independent principality. Liechtenstein was linked with Austria until the end of World War I, after that Liechtenstein is linked with Switzerland in a customs union. It is one of two landlocked countries in the world to be landlocked by a landlocked country.

The official spoken language in Liechtenstein is German.

The capital of Liechtenstein is Vaduz, a very small town of 5000 people. Liechtenstein is famous for its many private banks. It also has more companies than people.


  1. Population by sex, rate of population increase, surface area and density

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