Liechtenstein – The small principality in the heart of Europe
Most people in German-speaking countries know Liechtenstein primarily as a tax haven. Unfortunately, they forget how beautiful the small country on the border with Austria and Switzerland is.
An ironic saying, which should be interpreted more lovingly, is: If you come to Liechtenstein as a hiker – don’t walk past, just step right through!
The ruling prince in the country has more power than any other crowned head in Europe.
However, opinions differ greatly as to whether this is more or less good for the country and its residents. There are 15 banks, around 18,000 foundations and an estimated 75,000 letterbox companies in the small principality.
In 1984, Liechtenstein became the last Western European country to introduce the right to vote for women.
|Name of the country||Principality of Liechtenstein|
|Form of government||constitutional hereditary monarchy|
|Head of state||SD Prince Hans-Adam II. Von und zu Liechtenstein (since 1989)|
|Geographical location||Landlocked country in Western Europe|
|National anthem||Upper course of the “young Rhine”|
|Population||approx. 36,300 (Credit: Countryaah: Liechtenstein Population)|
|Ethnicities||Liechtensteiners, Swiss, Austrians and others|
|Religions||Catholics 78%; Protestants 8%; Muslims 5%; other 9%|
|Highest mountain||Grauspitz with a height of 2,599 m|
|International license plate||FL|
|National currency||Swiss Francs (CHF)|
|Time difference to CET||= CET|
|International phone code||00423|
|Mains voltage, frequency||230 volts, 50 hertz|
|Internet Top Level Domain (TLD)||.li|
In 1699 the Princes of Liechtenstein acquired the Schellenberg rule and in 1712 the County of Vaduz. In 1719, Emperor Charles VI appointed of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, both counties to the principality owned and named by the Princes of Liechtenstein. The name comes from Liechtenstein Castle in the Mödling area. The Principality was actually founded in 1799.
According to Abbreviationfinder website, from 1806 the Principality of Liechtenstein was a sovereign member state of the Rhine Confederation and from 1815 to 1866 of the German Confederation. The 200th anniversary of Liechtenstein’s independence was officially celebrated on July 12, 2006. In a ceremony in August 2006 in Berlin’s Gropiusbau on the occasion of the exhibition “Egypt’s Sunken Treasures”, which was made possible by a Liechtenstein foundation, the head of government and the ambassador of Liechtenstein recalled the exceptional status of their country. It is the only remaining land of the old Rhine Confederation and a living reminder of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which perished in 1806.
Before the First World War, Liechtenstein was linked to the Austro-Hungarian Empire through an alliance of convenience. It then allied itself with Switzerland and also adopted its currency. Franz Josef II. (1906-1989) was the first prince to take up residence in Liechtenstein on July 25, 1938; he was the successor of Prince Franz I (1853-1938). Until 1984 Franz Josef II was regent in the then rather impoverished principality. In 1969 the principality had to sell a portrait of the Dutchman Franz Hals for 12 million DM to the Free State of Bavaria in order to strengthen the state budget.
In 1984 his son Hans-Adam II (born 1945) took over the reign. Through a clever policy, he provided his around 35,000 subjects with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. The prince had not – as usual – studied forestry but business administration. In 1990 Liechtenstein joined the UN.
In 2003, a new constitution came into force, which greatly expanded the princely rights. In return, a strong democracy movement for the restoration and maintenance of democratic rights emerged. But in 2008 the opposition only had 3 of the 25 seats in parliament. The other seats were or are held by loyalists.
In 2004, Prince Hans-Adam II appointed his son and Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein (born 1968) as his deputy and entrusted him with the exercise of princely sovereign rights. On the Prince’s 63rd birthday, February 14, 2008, a house search was carried out at the Post AG’s CEO in Germany on suspicion of tax evasion. One day later he resigned from office. The responsible public prosecutor’s office announced that another 700 or so celebrities would be investigated who are said to have evaded a total of € 3 billion in taxes.
There are around 15 banks, around 18,000 foundations and an estimated 75,000 letterbox companies in Liechtenstein. The share of financial services in the country’s gross value added is around 26%.