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The Principality of Liechtenstein is a small landlocked country in central Europe, enclosed by Switzerland in the west and Austria in the east. Being mountainous, it is a winter sports resort. It is also known as a tax-haven.

Fürstentum Liechtenstein
(In Detail) ()
National motto: None
Official languageGerman
PrinceHans-Adam II
Head of GovernmentOtmar Hasler
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 189th
160 kmē
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 187th
CurrencySwiss Franc
Time zoneUTC +1
National anthemOben am jungen Rhein
Internet TLD.LI
Calling Code423

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Communities
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous topics
9 External links


Main article: History of Liechtenstein

In 1699, Prince Johann Adam of Liechtenstein bought the domain of Schellenberg and in 1712, the county of Vaduz. By acquiring these two counties he was striving for a seat in the government of the Holy Roman Empire. On January 23, 1719, emperor Charles VI decreed that the counties of Vaduz and Schellenberg be promoted to a principality with the name Liechtenstein for his true servant Anton Florian of Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein 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 the country 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.


Main article: Politics of Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is a parliamentary democracy, headed by the prince, or fürst, currently Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, who succeeded his father after his death in 1989.

The parliament of Liechtenstein, the Landtag, consists of 25 representatives chosen by the people. A cabinet of five men and women is responsible for taking care of daily political matters.

Unlike many other constitutional monarchies, the Liechtenstein constitution gives many important powers to the Prince, which he frequently uses. This has prompted some controversy in recent years.


Main article: Communities of Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is divided into eleven communities (Gemeinden - singular Gemeinde), most consisting of only a single town. These are:


Main article:
Geography of Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is situated in the Rhine valley in the Alps. The entire western border of Liechtenstein is formed by this river. The eastern part of the country is located at higher altitude, the highest point being the Grauspitze, at 2,599 m (8,527 ft.).

In spite of the alpine location, the climate of Liechtenstein is rather mild, due to southern winds. In the winter, the mountain slopes are well suited for winter sports.


Main article: Economy of Liechtenstein

Despite its small size and limited natural resources, Liechtenstein has developed into a prosperous, highly industrialised, free-enterprise economy with a vital financial service sector and living standards on par with the urban areas of its large European neighbours. Low business taxes – the maximum tax rate is 18% – and easy incorporation rules have induced about 73,700 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 organisation serving as a bridge between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Union) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonise its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe.


Main article: Demographics of Liechtenstein

The resident population of Liechtenstein, the fourth smallest country of Europe, consists for about a third of foreigners, mainly Germans, Austrians and Swiss.

The official language is German, though most speak an Alemannic dialect. About 80% of the population is Roman Catholic, 7% is Protestant.

The most famous person from Liechtenstein – besides the prince – is Hanni Wenzel, of German origin, who won two Olympic titles in 1980 in alpine skiing.


Miscellaneous topics

External links

Countries of the world  |  Europe  |  Council of Europe