Liechtenstein is a principality in the Alps of Central Europe, between Switzerland in the west and south and Austria in the east and north. The country consists of part of the Rhinsletta and the western edge of the Rätian Alps.
The country is Europe’s fourth smallest state, with an area just under the third of Oslo’s area. Most residents live in the western part of the country, along the Rhine. Liechtenstein is the world’s smallest German-speaking country. Vaduz is the capital.
The land comprises the two former counties Vaduz and Schellenberg, which were part of the German-Roman Empire t and were formally recognized as the principality by Emperor Karl 6 in 1719.
Liechtenstein (the name) is after the first family Liechtenstein.
National anthem is ‘Oben am Jungen Rhein’ (‘High above the young Rhine’).
Liechtenstein. The Red House in Vaduz. The house was built in 1338 and named after the dark red color that the building has had since the mid-19th century. Castle Vaduz is seen in the background.
People and society
66 percent of the population are Liechtensteiners. The industrial development has attracted many foreigners, which make up 34 per cent of the population. Foreign nationals from more than 90 countries have permanent residence in the country. The largest foreign groups are Swiss with 9.6 percent, Austrians with 5.8 percent, Turks with 4.3 percent and Italians with 3.1 percent.
The official language is German, which is the mother tongue of 91.5 per cent of the population (2015). It speaks an alien dialect.
The average life expectancy at birth is 84.8 years for women and 79.8 years for men (2018).
73.4 percent of the population are Roman Catholics. The Catholic Diocese of Liechtenstein, which makes up the entire country, was established in 1997. 8.2 percent of the population are Protestants, 5.9 percent are Muslims and 1.3 percent are Orthodox Christians (2015). The remaining belong to other religions or are non-religious.
The largest city is the Schaan industrial center with 5748 inhabitants. The second largest city is Vaduz with 5197 inhabitants (2017).
State and politics
Liechtenstein is a constitutional monarchy ruled by a prince. The country’s national assembly, Landdag (“Landtag”), has 25 representatives (15 from Oberland and 10 from Unterland) elected by the people for four years. The government has five members.
A referendum in 2003 gave the green light to a constitutional reform that made Liechtenstein Europe’s only absolute monarchy. The constitutional amendments meant that power was shifted from the national assembly to the prince. Under the 2003 Constitution, the prince can appoint and dissolve the government and judges, veto laws passed by the National Assembly, and dissolve the National Assembly. The amendments to the Constitution were criticized by the Council of Europe. A proposal to remove the prince’s veto power was rejected by 76 percent of the vote in a 2012 referendum.
Liechtenstein is divided into eleven municipalities (the “Gemeinden”), six in Oberland and five in Unterland.
The defense was abolished in 1878. Since 1923, Liechtenstein has been in customs union with Switzerland and has a common currency ( CHF ) and customs and postal administration with this country. Liechtenstein coins its own coins on special occasions.
The country joined the UN in 1990. Together with Switzerland, Iceland and Norway, Liechtenstein is one of the four EFTA members. The country joined the EEA in 1995 and participates in the Schengen cooperation. Liechtenstein is a member of the World Trade Organization, the OSCE and the Council of Europe.
In ancient times, Liechtenstein formed part of the Roman Republic of Rhaetia. One road later crossed Liechtenstein from south to north. Roman villas are excavated in Nendeln and Schaanwald, and in Schaan there are remains of a Roman fort, where Romans defended themselves against the Germanic tribal alemanni. In the 400s CE. Residents Alamanni in the area, which eventually became part of the Holy Roman Empire.
The principality dates back to 1342, when the southern part of the country became the independent county of Vaduz. The northern region, Schellenberg, came under the same ruler in 1434. Schellenberg was purchased by Prince Johann Adam Andreas of Liechtenstein in 1699, and he also purchased Vaduz in 1712. These lands were elevated to a principality by Emperor Charles 6 in 1719 and were named after the first genus.
After the dissolution of the German-Roman Empire in 1806, the Principality of Liechtenstein entered as a sovereign state in the Rhine Federation and in the German Confederation from 1815. Liechtenstein was one of the few German states that did not become part of the German Empire in 1871. The country was in customs union with Austria from 1852 to 1919. Liechtenstein was neutral during both world wars.
The prince began to reside in Liechtenstein in 1918. In 1938, Franz Joseph became the first 2. He left power to his son Hans Adam in 1984, and he became the first to die when he died in 1989. In 1997, the country’s nearly 60-year government coalition between Liechtenstein’s Progressive Citizens’ Party (FBP) and the Federation Union (VU) was dissolved. In the period 1997–2001, the VU formed a government, while the PDB had the governing power from 2001 to 2005. After 2005, there has again been a government coalition between the PDB and the VU. Hadrian Hasler of the FBP has been prime minister since 2013. In the Hasler government there are three members of the FBP and two members of the VU.
First Hans Adam 2 handed over the control to his son Alois in 2004, but has retained his position as head of state.
The country has been criticized internationally for its unwillingness to counter money laundering. Following a sanction threat from the OECD, the legislation in this area was tightened. This led to Liechtenstein being removed from the blacklist of non-cooperating countries in 2009.
The castle of Vaduz (Vaduz Castle) was built in the Middle Ages and named after Liechtenstein’s capital Vaduz. The castle is the prince of Liechtenstein’s official residence.
Economy and business
Liechtenstein is the country in the world with the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Foreign companies that are registered in Liechtenstein for tax reasons constitute an important source of income. 51 per cent of Liechtenstein’s foreign workforce is day commuters from Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
0.8 percent of the population is employed in agriculture, which contributes seven percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Cattle keeping is most important. On the valley sides, fruits and grapes are grown, and on the ground wheat, barley, potatoes and corn.
90 percent of the country’s total energy needs must be imported. The industry contributes 41.0 per cent of the country’s GDP and employs 36.9 per cent of the working population. Among other things, it produces electronics, optical instruments, machines, ceramics, textiles, pharmaceuticals, artificial teeth and other dental materials.
In Liechtenstein, almost 4000 companies are registered in the service industry category, including many holding companies. Tourism is of great importance.
The most important trading partner is Switzerland, but trade with that country is not recorded in the statistical records of Liechtenstein’s foreign trade due to the customs union between the two countries. Most of the registered foreign trade is with EU countries.
Knowledge and culture
There are five-year primary school from the children are seven years. Thereafter, either a four-year primary school or an eight-year high school is chosen. The public university of Vaduz, which offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture and business administration, has 1,200 students from 40 countries. Liechtenstein has agreements for university places in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. A private university in Triesen teaches forensic science and medicine. The International Academy of Philosophy in Mauren is a private university for philosophy studies.
There are two daily newspapers, “Liechtensteiner Vaterland” and “Liechtensteiner Volksblatt”, which are the bodies of the two major political parties.
Radio L in Triesen is the country’s radio station. It was established in 2004. The station began as Air-Radio Liechtenstein in 1938. The country’s one television company, 1 FLTV (1 Fürstentum Liechtenstein Television) began broadcasting in 2008 and is privately owned.
The country has a long tradition of legends and fables that were written down in the mid-1800s.
The greatest composer is Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901). The national anthem was written by Jakob Josef Jauch in 1850. A number of music festivals are held in Liechtenstein, including the annual rock and metal festival Openair Wavejam in Balzers. The Liechtenstein festival in Schaan is organized over two days a year.
Liechtenstein National Museum is dedicated to the country’s history and culture. The Liechtenstein Art Museum, dating from 2000, is a center for modern art. The Museum Schatzkammer Liechtenstein, which was opened in 2015, shows, among other things, objects belonging to the prince. There is a separate post and stamp museum, as well as a ski museum. Modern buildings include Hans Hollein’s Centrum Bank building, which was built in 1997–2002, and Casa Büchel, both in Vaduz. The Flatz house in Schaan was built in 2002.
The Vaduz Film Festival has been held annually since 1996.
Practitioners from Liechtenstein made themselves known internationally in alpine skiing. Famous names are Hanni and Andreas Wentzel, Marco Büchel, Willi and Paul Frommelt, Ursula Konzett and Tina Weirather.