Europe :: Liechtenstein
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Liechtenstein
Location of Liechtenstein
Map of Liechtenstein
Introduction ::Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein was established within the Holy Roman Empire in 1719. Occupied by both French and Russian troops during the Napoleanic wars, it became a sovereign state in 1806 and joined the Germanic Confederation in 1815. Liechtenstein became fully independent in 1866 when the Confederation dissolved. Until the end of World War I, it was closely tied to Austria, but the economic devastation caused by that conflict forced Liechtenstein to enter into 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. In 2000, shortcomings in banking regulatory oversight resulted in concerns about the use of financial institutions for money laundering. However, Liechtenstein implemented anti-money-laundering legislation and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US that went into effect in 2003.
Geography ::Liechtenstein
Central Europe, between Austria and Switzerland
47 16 N, 9 32 E
total: 160 sq km
country comparison to the world: 218
land: 160 sq km
water: 0 sq km
about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC
total: 76 km
border countries: Austria 34.9 km, Switzerland 41.1 km
0 km (doubly landlocked)
none (landlocked)
continental; cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow or rain; cool to moderately warm, cloudy, humid summers
mostly mountainous (Alps) with Rhine Valley in western third
lowest point: Ruggeller Riet 430 m
highest point: Vorder-Grauspitz 2,599 m
hydroelectric potential, arable land
arable land: 25%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 75% (2005)
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
along with Uzbekistan, one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world; variety of microclimatic variations based on elevation
People ::Liechtenstein
34,761 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210
0-14 years: 16.6% (male 2,877/female 2,901)
15-64 years: 69.4% (male 11,917/female 12,220)
65 years and over: 13.9% (male 2,085/female 2,761) (2009 est.)
total: 41 years
male: 40.4 years
female: 41.5 years (2009 est.)
0.702% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
9.75 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
7.39 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
4.66 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
urban population: 14% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.01 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 4.25 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 205
male: 5.54 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 80.06 years
country comparison to the world: 22
male: 76.59 years
female: 83.53 years (2009 est.)
1.52 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
noun: Liechtensteiner(s)
adjective: Liechtenstein
Liechtensteiner 65.6%, other 34.4% (2000 census)
Roman Catholic 76.2%, Protestant 7%, unknown 10.6%, other 6.2% (June 2002)
German (official), Alemannic dialect
definition: age 10 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100%
total: 15 years
male: 16 years
female: 13 years (2004)
Government ::Liechtenstein
conventional long form: Principality of Liechtenstein
conventional short form: Liechtenstein
local long form: Fuerstentum Liechtenstein
local short form: Liechtenstein
constitutional monarchy
name: Vaduz
geographic coordinates: 47 08 N, 9 31 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
11 communes (Gemeinden, singular - Gemeinde); Balzers, Eschen, Gamprin, Mauren, Planken, Ruggell, Schaan, Schellenberg, Triesen, Triesenberg, Vaduz
23 January 1719 (Principality of Liechtenstein established); 12 July 1806 (independence from the Holy Roman Empire)
Assumption Day, 15 August
5 October 1921; amended 15 September 2003
local civil and penal codes based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: Prince HANS ADAM II (since 13 November 1989, assumed executive powers 26 August 1984); Heir Apparent Prince ALOIS, son of the monarch (born 11 June 1968); note - on 15 August 2004, HANS ADAM transferred the official duties of the ruling prince to ALOIS, but HANS ADAM retains status of chief of state
head of government: Head of Government Klaus TSCHUTSCHER (since 25 March 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet elected by the Parliament, confirmed by the monarch
elections: the monarch is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the Landtag is usually appointed the head of government by the monarch and the leader of the largest minority party in the Landtag is usually appointed the deputy head of government by the monarch if there is a coalition government
unicameral Parliament or Landtag (25 seats; members are elected by popular vote under proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 8 February 2009 (next to be held February 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - VU 47.6%, FBP 43.5%, FL 8.9%; seats by party - VU 13, FBP 11, FL 1
Supreme Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Court of Appeal or Obergericht
Die Freie Liste (The Free List) or FL [Claudia HEEB-FLECK and Egon MATT]; Fortschrittliche Buergerpartei (Progressive Citizens' Party) or FBP [Marcus VOGT]; Vaterlaendische Union (Fatherland Union) or VU [Adolf HEEB]
chief of mission: Ambassador Claudia FRITSCHE
chancery: 2900 K Street, NW, Suite 602B, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 331-0590
FAX: [1] (202) 331-3221
the US does not have an embassy in Liechtenstein; the US Ambassador to Switzerland is accredited to Liechtenstein
two equal horizontal bands of blue (top) and red with a gold crown on the hoist side of the blue band; the colors may derive from the blue and red livery design used in the principality's household in the 18th century; the prince's crown was introduced in 1937 to distinguish the flag from that of Haiti
Economy ::Liechtenstein
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 the highest per capita income in the world. 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 many holding 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 the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the EU) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe. In 2008 Liechtenstein came under renewed international pressure - particularly from Germany - to improve transparency in its banking and tax systems.
$4.16 billion (2007)
country comparison to the world: 165
$4.035 billion (2006 est.)
$4.993 billion (2007)
3.1% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
$118,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
agriculture: 8%
industry: 39%
services: 54% (2007)
32,440 of whom 13,900 commute from Austria, Switzerland, and Germany to work each day (2007)
country comparison to the world: 194
agriculture: 1.7%
industry: 43.5%
services: 55.4% (31 December 2006)
1.5% (31 December 2007)
country comparison to the world: 10
1.3% (September 2002)
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
revenues: $424.2 million
expenditures: $414.1 million (1998 est.)
1% (2001
country comparison to the world: 8
wheat, barley, corn, potatoes; livestock, dairy products
electronics, metal manufacturing, dental products, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, tourism, optical instruments
$2.47 billion
small specialty machinery, connectors for audio and video, parts for motor vehicles, dental products, hardware, prepared foodstuffs, electronic equipment, optical products
$917.3 million
agricultural products, raw materials, energy products, machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles
$0 (2001)
country comparison to the world: 203
Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar - 1.0774 (2008 est.), 1.1973 (2007), 1.2539 (2006), 1.2452 (2005), 1.2435 (2004)
Communications ::Liechtenstein
19,600 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 195
34,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 201
general assessment: automatic telephone system
domestic: fixed line and mobile-cellular services widely available; combined telephone service subscribership exceeds 150 per 100 persons
international: country code - 423; linked to Swiss networks by cable and microwave radio relay (2008)
AM 0, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998)
NA (linked to Swiss networks) (1997)
9,287 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 118
23,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 187
Transportation ::Liechtenstein
gas 20 km (2008)
9 km 1.435-m gauge (electrified)
note: belongs to the Austrian Railway System connecting Austria and Switzerland (2008)
total: 380 km
country comparison to the world: 198
paved: 380 km (2007)
28 km (2008)
country comparison to the world: 107
Military ::Liechtenstein
no regular military forces (constitutionally prohibited); Principality of Liechtenstein National Police (Landespolizei, LP) (2008)
males age 16-49: 8,102 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 6,584
females age 16-49: 6,801 (2009 est.)
male: 199
female: 222 (2009 est.)
Liechtenstein has no military forces, but is interested in European security policy and is an active member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
Transnational Issues ::Liechtenstein
has strengthened money laundering controls, but money laundering remains a concern due to Liechtenstein's sophisticated offshore financial services sector