Liechtenstein (/ˈlɪktənstaɪn/ ( listen); LIK-tən-styne;
German: [ˈlɪçtn̩ʃtaɪn]), officially the
Liechtenstein (German: Fürstentum Liechtenstein), is a doubly
landlocked German-speaking microstate in Central Europe. The
principality is a constitutional monarchy headed by the Prince of
Liechtenstein is bordered by
Switzerland to the west and south and
Austria to the east and north. It has an area of just over 160 square
kilometres (62 square miles), the fourth smallest in Europe, and an
estimated population of 37,000. Divided into 11 municipalities, its
Vaduz and its largest municipality is Schaan.
Liechtenstein has one of the highest gross domestic
products per person in the world when adjusted for purchasing power
parity, and the highest when not adjusted by purchasing power
parity. The unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the world at
Liechtenstein has been known in the past as a billionaire tax
haven; however, it is no longer on any blacklists of uncooperative tax
haven countries (see taxation section).
An Alpine country,
Liechtenstein is mainly mountainous, making it a
winter sport destination. Many cultivated fields and small farms are
found both in the south (Oberland, upper land) and north (Unterland,
lower land). The country has a strong financial sector centered in
Liechtenstein is a member of the United Nations, European Free
Trade Association, and the Council of Europe, and while not being a
member of the European Union, the country participates in both the
Schengen Area and European Economic Area. It also has a customs union
and a monetary union with Switzerland.
1.1 Early history
1.2 Foundation of a dynasty
1.4 20th century
1.5 Financial centre
2.1 New constitution
2.2 International awards
11 Security and defence
12 See also
14 External links
Main article: History of Liechtenstein
Gutenberg Castle, Balzers, Liechtenstein.
Vaduz Castle, overlooking the capital, is home to the Prince of
Johann I Joseph,
Prince of Liechtenstein
Prince of Liechtenstein from 1805 to 1806 and 1814 to
The oldest traces of human existence in
Liechtenstein date back to the
Middle Paleolithic era.
Neolithic farming settlements were
initially founded in the valleys around 5300 BCE.
The Hallstatt and La Tène cultures flourished during the late Iron
Age, from around 450 BCE—possibly under some influence of both the
Greek and Etruscan civilisations. One of the most important tribal
groups in the Alpine region were the Helvetii. In 58 BCE, at the
Battle of Bibracte,
Julius Caesar defeated the Alpine tribes,
therefore bringing the region under close control of the Roman Empire.
By 15 BCE, Tiberius—destined to be the second Roman emperor—with
his brother, Drusus, conquered the entirety of the Alpine area.
Liechtenstein was then integrated into the
Roman province of Raetia.
The area was maintained by the Roman military, who also maintained
large legionary camps at Brigantium (Austria), near Lake Constance,
and at Magia (Swiss). A
Roman road which ran through the territory was
also created and maintained by these groups. In 259/60 Brigantium was
destroyed by the Alemanni, a
Germanic people who settled in the area
in around 450 CE.
In the Early Middle Ages, the
Alemanni settled the eastern Swiss
plateau by the 5th century and the valleys of the
Alps by the end of
the 8th century, with
Liechtenstein located at the eastern edge of
Alemannia. In the 6th century, the entire region became part of the
Frankish Empire following Clovis I's victory over the
Tolbiac in 504.
The area that later became
Liechtenstein remained under Frankish
hegemony (Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties), until the empire was
divided by the
Treaty of Verdun
Treaty of Verdun in 843 AD, following the death of
Charlemagne. The territory of present-day
Liechtenstein was under
the possession of East Francia. It would later be reunified with
Middle Francia under the Holy Roman Empire, around 1000 CE. Until
about 1100, the predominant language of the area was Romansch, but
thereafter German began to gain ground in the territory. In 1300, an
Alemannic population—the Walsers, who originated in Valais—entered
the region and settled. The mountain village of
preserves features of Walser dialect into the present century.
Foundation of a dynasty
By 1200, dominions across the Alpine plateau were controlled by the
Houses of Savoy, Zähringer, Habsburg, and Kyburg. Other regions were
Imperial immediacy that granted the empire direct control
over the mountain passes. When the Kyburg dynasty fell in 1264, the
Habsburgs under King Rudolph I (
Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor in 1273) extended
their territory to the eastern Alpine plateau that included the
territory of Liechtenstein. This region was enfeoffed to the
Hohenems until the creation of the
Liechtenstein dynasty in
Vaduz (the southern region of Liechtenstein) was raised to the
status of "imperial immediacy" and as such made subject to the Holy
Roman Emperor alone.
The family, from which the principality takes its name, originally
Liechtenstein Castle in Lower
Austria which they had
possessed from at least 1140 until the 13th century (and again from
1807 onwards). The Liechtensteins acquired land, predominantly in
Moravia, Lower Austria, Silesia, and Styria. As these territories were
all held in feudal tenure from more senior feudal lords, particularly
various branches of the Habsburgs, the
Liechtenstein dynasty was
unable to meet a primary requirement to qualify for a seat in the
Imperial diet (parliament), the Reichstag. Even though several
Liechtenstein princes served several
Habsburg rulers as close
advisers, without any territory held directly from the Imperial
throne, they held little power in the Holy Roman Empire.
For this reason, the family sought to acquire lands that would be
classed as unmittelbar (immediate) or held without any intermediate
feudal tenure, directly from the Holy Roman Emperor. During the early
17th century Karl I of
Liechtenstein was made a Fürst (prince) by the
Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor Matthias after siding with him in a political
battle. Hans-Adam I was allowed to purchase the minuscule Herrschaft
Schellenberg and county of
Vaduz (in 1699 and 1712
respectively) from the Hohenems. Tiny
exactly the political status required: no feudal lord other than their
comital sovereign and the suzerain Emperor.
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On 23 January 1718, after the lands had been purchased, Charles VI,
Holy Roman Emperor, decreed that
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
purchase that the Princes of
Liechtenstein never visited their new
principality for almost 100 years.
By the early 19th century, as a result of the
Napoleonic Wars in
Europe, the Holy
Roman Empire came under the effective control of
France, following the crushing defeat at Austerlitz by
1805. Emperor Francis II abdicated, ending more than 960 years of
Napoleon reorganized much of the Empire into the
Confederation of the Rhine. This political restructuring had broad
consequences for Liechtenstein: the historical imperial, legal, and
political institutions had been dissolved. The state ceased to owe an
obligation to any feudal lord beyond its borders.
Modern publications generally attribute Liechtenstein's sovereignty to
these events. Its prince ceased to owe an obligation to any suzerain.
From 25 July 1806, when the
Confederation of the Rhine
Confederation of the Rhine was founded,
Prince of Liechtenstein
Prince of Liechtenstein was a member, in fact, a vassal, of its
hegemon, styled protector, the French Emperor
Napoleon I, until the
dissolution of the confederation on 19 October 1813.
Liechtenstein joined the
German Confederation (20 June
1815 – 24 August 1866), which was presided over by the Emperor
In 1818, Prince Johann I granted the territory a limited constitution.
In that same year Prince Aloys became the first member of the House of
Liechtenstein to set foot in the principality that bore their name.
The next visit would not occur until 1842.
Developments during the 19th century included:
1836, the first factory, for making ceramics, was opened.
1861, the Savings and Loans Bank was founded along with the first
Liechtenstein Army was disbanded for financial reasons.
1872, a railway line between
Switzerland and the Austro-Hungarian
Empire was constructed through Liechtenstein.
1886, two bridges over the
Switzerland were built.
Until the end of World War I,
Liechtenstein was closely tied first to
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,
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[original research?] by the Liechtenstein
perception that the dethroned Austro-Hungarian Emperor still
maintained an abstract heritage of the Holy Roman Empire.
Prince of Liechtenstein
Prince of Liechtenstein from 1929 to 1938.
In 1929, 75-year-old Prince Franz I succeeded to the throne. Franz had
just married Elisabeth von Gutmann, a wealthy woman from
father was a Jewish businessman from Moravia. Although Liechtenstein
had no official Nazi party, a Nazi sympathy movement arose within its
National Union party. Local
Liechtenstein Nazis identified Elisabeth
as their Jewish "problem".
In March 1938, just after the annexation of
Austria by Nazi Germany,
Prince Franz named as regent his 31-year-old first cousin twice
removed and heir-presumptive, Prince Franz Joseph. Franz died in July
that year, and Franz Joseph succeeded to the throne. Franz Joseph II
first moved to
Liechtenstein in 1938, a few days after Austria's
During World War II,
Liechtenstein remained officially neutral,
looking to neighbouring
Switzerland for assistance and guidance, while
family treasures from dynastic lands and possessions in Bohemia,
Silesia were taken to
Liechtenstein 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 properties in those three
regions. The expropriations (subject to modern legal dispute at the
International Court of Justice) included over 1,600 km2
(618 sq mi) of agricultural and forest land (most notably
the UNESCO listed Lednice–Valtice Cultural Landscape), and several
family castles and palaces.
In 2005 it was revealed that Jewish labourers from the Strasshof
concentration camp, provided by the SS, had worked on estates in
Austria owned by Liechtenstein's Princely House.
Liechtenstein were forbidden to enter Czechoslovakia
during the Cold War. More recently the diplomatic conflict revolving
around the controversial post-war
Beneš decrees resulted in
Liechtenstein not sharing international relations with the Czech
Republic or Slovakia. Diplomatic relations were established between
Liechtenstein and the
Czech Republic on 13 July 2009, and
Slovakia on 9 December 2009.
Liechtenstein was in dire financial straits following the end of the
war in Europe. The
Liechtenstein dynasty often resorted to selling
family artistic treasures, including the portrait "Ginevra de' Benci"
by Leonardo da Vinci, which was purchased by the National Gallery of
Art of the
United States in 1967 for $5 million ($37 million in 2017
dollars), then a record price for a painting.
However, by the late 1970s, it used its low corporate tax rates to
draw many companies to the country, becoming one of the wealthiest
countries in the world.
Prince of Liechtenstein
Prince of Liechtenstein is the world's eighth wealthiest monarch
with an estimated wealth of 3.5 billion USD. The country's
population enjoys one of the world's highest standards of living.
Administrative divisions of Liechtenstein
The centre of government in Vaduz.
Main article: Politics of Liechtenstein
Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein, as pictured by Erling
Mandelmann in 1974.
Liechtenstein has a constitutional monarch as Head of State, and an
elected parliament which enacts the law. It is also a direct
democracy, where voters can propose and enact constitutional
amendments and legislation independent of the legislature. The
Constitution of Liechtenstein
Constitution of Liechtenstein 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
referenda, propose new legislation, and dissolve parliament, although
dissolution of parliament may be subject to a referendum.
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. The members of the government
are collectively and individually responsible to parliament;
parliament may ask the Prince to remove an individual minister or the
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). Parties must
receive at least 8% of the national vote to win seats in parliament,
i.e. enough for 2 seats in the 25-seat legislature. Parliament
proposes and approves a government, which is formally appointed by the
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 referenda
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.
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.
On 1 July 1984,
Liechtenstein became the last country in
grant women the right to vote. The referendum on women's suffrage, in
which only men were allowed to participate, passed with 51.3% in
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 version. 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. The princely family and the Prince enjoy
tremendous public support inside the nation, and the resolution passed
with about 64% in favour. A proposal to revoke the Prince's veto
powers was rejected by 76% of voters in a 2012 referendum.
Few national constitutions provide a right of secession, but
Liechtenstein are entitled to secede from the union
by majority vote.
In the year 2013,
Liechtenstein won for the first time a
SolarSuperState Prize in the category Solar recognizing the achieved
level of the usage of photovoltaics per population within the state
territory. The SolarSuperState Association justified this prize
with the cumulative installed photovoltaic power of some 290 Watt per
capita at the end of 2012. This level placed
Liechtenstein second in
the world after Germany. Also in the year 2014, the SolarSuperState
Association awarded the 2. SolarSuperState Prize in the category Solar
to Liechtenstein. In the years 2015 and 2016,
honored with the 1. SolarSuperState Prize in the category Solar
because the state had the world's biggest cumulative installed
photovoltaic power per population.
Main article: Geography of Liechtenstein
The Rhine: border between
Switzerland (view towards
the Swiss Alps).
Liechtenstein is situated in the Upper
Rhine valley of the European
Alps and is bordered to the east by Austria, and to the south and west
by Switzerland. The entire western border of
Liechtenstein is formed
by the Rhine. Measured south to north 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). Thus, it was
discovered in 2006 that Liechtenstein's borders are 1.9 km
(1.2 mi) longer than previously thought.
Liechtenstein is one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the
world — 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
Looking southward at
Vaduz city centre
Main article: Economy of Liechtenstein
Despite 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 that compares favourably with those of the urban areas of
Liechtenstein's much larger European neighbours.
Liechtenstein participates in a customs union with
Swiss franc as the national currency. The country imports
about 85% of its energy.
Liechtenstein has been a member of the
European Economic Area
European Economic Area (an organization serving as a bridge between
European Free Trade Association
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. In 2008, the unemployment
rate stood at 1.5%. Currently, there is only one hospital in
Liechtenstein, the Liechtensteinisches Landesspital in Vaduz. As of
CIA World Factbook
CIA World Factbook estimated the gross domestic product (GDP)
on a purchasing power parity basis to be $4.978 billion. As of 2009
the estimate per capita was $139,100, which is the highest listed for
Industries include electronics, textiles, precision instruments, metal
manufacturing, power tools, anchor bolts, 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.
Since 1923, there has been no border control between
The government of
Liechtenstein taxes personal, 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%. An additional income tax
of 4.3% is levied on all employees under the country's social security
programme. 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 tax rate on corporate profits is 12.5%.
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
Liechtenstein has previously received significant revenues from
Stiftungen ("foundations"), which are financial entities created to
hide the true owner of nonresident foreigners' financial holdings. The
foundation is registered in the name of a Liechtensteiner, often a
lawyer. This set of laws used to make
Liechtenstein a popular tax
haven for extremely wealthy individuals and businesses attempting to
avoid or evade taxes in their home countries. In recent years,
Liechtenstein has displayed a stronger 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, referring to its $7.3 million purchase of private
banking information offered by a former employee of LGT Group.
United States Senate's subcommittee on tax haven banks
said that the LGT bank, which is owned by the princely 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
2008 Liechtenstein tax affair
2008 Liechtenstein tax affair is a series of tax investigations in
numerous countries whose governments suspect that some of their
citizens 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. It was also seen as an attempt to put pressure on
Liechtenstein, then one of the remaining uncooperative tax
Andorra and Monaco—as identified by the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in
2007. On 27 May 2009 the OECD removed
Liechtenstein from the
blacklist of uncooperative countries.
In August 2009, the British government department HM Revenue &
Customs agreed with
Liechtenstein to start exchanging information. It
is believed that up to 5,000 British investors have roughly £3
billion deposited in accounts and trusts in the country.
In October 2015, the
European Union and
Liechtenstein signed a tax
agreement to ensure the automatic exchange of financial information in
case of tax disputes. The collection of data started in 2016, and is
another step to bring the principality in line with other European
countries with regard to its taxation of private individuals and
Demographics of Liechtenstein
Demographics of Liechtenstein and Religion in
Liechtenstein is the fourth smallest country of
Europe; only Vatican City, San Marino, and
Monaco have fewer
residents. Its population is primarily Alemannic-speaking, although
one third is foreign-born, primarily German speakers from Germany,
Austria, and Switzerland, along with other Swiss, Italians, and Turks.
Foreign-born people make up two-thirds of the country's workforce.
Liechtensteiners have an average life expectancy at birth of 80.31
years, subdividing as male: 76.86 years, female: 83.77 years (2011
est.). The infant mortality rate is 4.64 deaths per 1,000 live births,
according to recent estimates.
The official language is German; most speak an Alemannic dialect of
German that is highly divergent from
Standard German but closely
related to those dialects spoken in neighbouring regions such as
Switzerland and Vorarlberg, Austria. In Triesenberg, a dialect
promoted by the municipality is spoken. However, Swiss Standard German
is understood and spoken by most people within the country.
Religion in Liechtenstein in 2010
Roman Catholic (75.9%)
Other religion (0.8%)
According to the Constitution of Liechtenstein, the Roman Catholic
Church is the official state religion of Liechtenstein:
Catholic Church is the State Church and as such shall enjoy the
full protection of the State
— Constitution of Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein offers protection to adherents of all religious beliefs,
and considers the "religious interests of the people" a priority of
the government. In
Liechtenstein schools, although exceptions are
allowed, religious education in Roman Catholicism or Protestantism
Reformed or Lutheran, or both) is legally required. Tax
exemption is granted by the government to religious organizations.
According to the Pew Research Center, social conflict caused by
religious hostilities is ranked low in Liechtenstein, and so is the
amount of government restriction on the practice of religion.
According to the 2010 census, 85.8% of total population is Christian,
of whom 75.9% adhere to the Roman Catholic faith, forming the exempt
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vaduz, while 9.6% are either Protestant,
mainly organized in the
Evangelical Church in Liechtenstein (a United
Lutheran & Reformed) and the Evangelical
in Liechtenstein, or Orthodox, mainly organized in the
Christian-Orthodox Church. The largest minority religion is Islam
(5.4% of total population). Roman Catholicism is, by far, the
predominant religion of people with
Main article: Education in Liechtenstein
University of Liechtenstein
The literacy rate of
Liechtenstein is 100%. In 2006 Programme for
International Student Assessment report, coordinated by the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ranked
Liechtenstein's education as the 10th best in the world. In 2012,
Liechtenstein had the highest PISA-scores of any European country.
Within Liechtenstein, there are four main centres for higher
University of Liechtenstein
Private University in the
Principality of Liechtenstein
International Academy of Philosophy, Liechtenstein
There are nine public high schools in the country. These include:
Liechtensteinisches Gymnasium in Vaduz.
Oberschule Vaduz, in the Schulzentrum Mühleholz
II in Vaduz
Schaan and Sportschule
Liechtenstein in Schaan
There are about 250 kilometres (155 miles) of paved roadway within
Liechtenstein, with 90 km (56 miles) of marked bicycle paths.
A 9.5 km (5.9 mi) railway connects
Austria and Switzerland
through Liechtenstein. The country's railways are administered by the
Austrian Federal Railways
Austrian Federal Railways as part of the route between Feldkirch,
Austria, and Buchs, Switzerland.
Liechtenstein is nominally within the
Austrian Verkehrsverbund Vorarlberg tariff region.
There are four stations in Liechtenstein, namely Schaan-Vaduz, Forst
Hilti, and 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
Airport near Zürich,
Switzerland (130 km/80 mi by road).
The nearest small airport is St. Gallen Airport
(50 km/30 mi).
Friedrichshafen Airport also provides access
to Liechtenstein, as it is 85 km away.
is available for chartered helicopter flights.
See also: Music of Liechtenstein
Part of a series on the
Culture of Liechtenstein
Mythology and folklore
Music and performing arts
Coat of arms
City-centre with Kunstmuseum (
Liechtenstein Art Museum)
Liechtenstein National Museum
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, Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Switzerland, and specifically
Tirol and Vorarlberg. The "Historical Society of the
Liechtenstein" plays a role in preserving the culture and history of
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
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 is also a stamp museum, ski museum, and a
500-year-old Rural Lifestyle Museum.
Liechtenstein State Library is the library that has legal deposit
for all books published in the country.
The most famous historical sites are
Vaduz Castle, Gutenberg Castle,
the Red House and the ruins of Schellenberg.
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.
On the country's national holiday all subjects are invited to the
castle of the head of state. A significant portion of the population
attends the national celebration at the castle where speeches are made
and complimentary beer is served.
The primary internet service provider and mobile network operator of
Liechtenstein is Telecom Liechtenstein, located in Schaan. There is
only one television channel in the country, the private channel 1FLTV
created in 2008. At the moment,
1FLTV is not a member of the European
Broadcasting Union. L-Radio, which was established in 2004, serves as
Liechtenstein's radio station and is based in Triesen. L-Radio has a
listener base of 50,000 and began as "air Radio Liechtenstein" on 15
Liechtenstein also has two major newspapers;
Liechtensteiner Volksblatt and Liechtensteiner Vaterland. The primary
multimedia company in
Liechtenstein is ManaMedia, located in Vaduz.
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.
Music and theatre are an important part of the culture. There are
numerous music organizations such as the
Company, the annual Guitar Days, and the International Josef Gabriel
Rheinberger Society, which play in two main theatres.
See also: Rugby union in Liechtenstein
Marco Büchel, the first Liechtensteiner alpine skier to compete at
six Winter Olympics.
Liechtenstein football teams play in the Swiss football leagues. The
Liechtenstein Football Cup allows access for one
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 drew with and defeated
the Latvian team FC Universitate Riga by 1–1 and 4–2, to go on to
a lucrative fixture against Paris Saint-Germain F.C., which they lost
0–3 and 0–4.
Liechtenstein national football team
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
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,
Latvia 1–0, a result
which prompted the resignation of the Latvian coach. They went on to
Iceland 3–0 on 17 October 2007, which is considered one of the
most dramatic losses of the Icelandic national football team. On 7
September 2010, they came within seconds of a 1–1 draw against
Scotland in Glasgow, having led 1–0 earlier in the second half, but
Liechtenstein lost 2–1 thanks to a goal by
Stephen McManus in the
97th minute. On 3 June 2011,
On 15 November 2014,
Moldova 0-1 with Franz
Burgmeier's late free kick goal in Chișinău.
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), her brother Andreas won one silver medal in 1980 and
one bronze medal in 1984 in the giant slalom event, and her daughter
Tina Weirather won a bronze medal in 2018 in the Super-G. With ten
medals overall (all in alpine skiing),
Liechtenstein has won more
Olympic medals per capita than any other nation. 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.
Liechtenstein is also the home country of Stephanie Vogt, a
professional women's tennis player.
Liechtenstein competes in the
Switzerland U16 Cup Tournament, which
offers young players an opportunity to play against top football
Security and defence
Liechtenstein National Police is responsible for keeping order
within the country. It consists of 87 field officers and 38 civilian
staff, totaling 125 employees. All officers are equipped with small
arms. The country has one of the world's lowest crime rates.
Liechtenstein's prison holds few, if any, inmates, and those with
sentences over two years are transferred to Austrian jurisdiction. The
Liechtenstein National Police maintains a trilateral treaty with
Switzerland that enables close cross-border cooperation
among the police forces of the three countries.
Liechtenstein follows a policy of neutrality and is one of the few
countries in the world that maintain no military. The army was
abolished soon after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, 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 one. The Prince objected, as such a move would
leave the country defenceless, but relented on 12 February 1868 and
disbanded the force. The last soldier to serve under the colors of
Liechtenstein died in 1939 at age 95.
During the 1980s the Swiss army fired off shells during an exercise
and mistakenly burned a patch of forest inside Liechtenstein. The
incident was said to have been resolved "over a case of white
In March 2007, a 170-person Swiss infantry unit got lost during a
training exercise and inadvertently crossed 1.5 km (0.9 miles)
into Liechtenstein. The accidental invasion ended when the unit
realized their mistake and turned back. The Swiss army later
Liechtenstein of the incursion and offered official
Outline of Liechtenstein
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Liechtenstein". ABC News. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
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"Liechtenstein". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence
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"Liechtenstein". Encyclopædia Britannica. 16 (11th ed.).
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Coat of arms
Sovereign states and dependencies of Europe
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autonomous country of the Kingdom of Denmark
Akrotiri and Dhekelia2
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unincorporated area subject to the
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Confederation of the Rhine (1806–13)
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Waldeck and Pyrmont
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2 Merged with Anhalt from 1863
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Saar (assoc. 1950–1956)
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former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"; see Macedonia naming dispute.
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List of current sovereign monarchs
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