Europe :: Liechtenstein

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The Principality of Liechtenstein was established within the Holy Roman Empire in 1719. Occupied by both French and Russian troops during the Napoleonic 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.


Central Europe, between Austria and Switzerland

Geographic coordinates:
47 16 N, 9 32 E

Map references:

Total: 160 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 219
Land: 160 sq km
Water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative:
about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:
Total: 76 km
Border countries: Austria 34.9 km, Switzerland 41.1 km

0 km (doubly landlocked)

Maritime claims:
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

Elevation extremes:
Lowest point: Ruggeller Riet 430 m
Highest point: Vorder-Grauspitz 2,599 m

Natural resources:
hydroelectric potential, arable land

Land use:
Arable land: 21.88%
Permanent crops: 0%
Other: 78.12% (2011)

Irrigated land:

Natural hazards:

Environment - current issues:

Environment - international agreements:
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

Geography - note:
along with Uzbekistan, one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world; variety of microclimatic variations based on elevation

People and Society

Noun: Liechtensteiner(s)
Adjective: Liechtenstein

Ethnic groups:
Liechtensteiner 65.6%, other 34.4% (2000 census)

German 94.5% (official) (Alemannic is the main dialect), Italian 1.1%, other 4.3% (2010 est.)

Roman Catholic (official) 75.9%, Protestant Reformed 6.5%, Muslim 5.4%, Lutheran 1.3%, other 2.9%, none 5.4%, unspecified 2.6% (2010 est.)

37,313 (July 2014 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 214

Age structure:
0-14 years: 15.7% (male 3,130/female 2,744)
15-24 years: 11.7% (male 2,160/female 2,197)
25-54 years: 43.1% (male 8,029/female 8,069)
55-64 years: 13.4% (male 2,479/female 2,535)
65 years and over: 15.4% (male 2,713/female 3,257) (2014 est.)
Population pyramid:

Median age:
Total: 42.4 years
Male: 41.3 years
Female: 43.5 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.82% (2014 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 134

Birth rate:
10.53 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 183

Death rate:
7.02 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 131

Net migration rate:
4.72 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 27

Urban population: 14.4% of total population (2011)
Rate of urbanization: 0.53% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population:
VADUZ (capital) 5,000 (2011)

Sex ratio:
At birth: 1.26 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.14 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
Total: 4.33 deaths/1,000 live births
Country comparison to the world: 191
Male: 4.62 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 3.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
Total population: 81.68 years
Country comparison to the world: 13
Male: 79.52 years
Female: 84.4 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.69 children born/woman (2014 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 173

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

Education expenditures:
2.1% of GDP (2008)
Country comparison to the world: 166

Definition: age 10 and over can read and write
Total population: 100%
Male: 100%
Female: 100%

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Total: 15 years
Male: 16 years
Female: 14 years (2011)


Country name:
Conventional long form: Principality of Liechtenstein
Conventional short form: Liechtenstein
Local long form: Fuerstentum Liechtenstein
Local short form: Liechtenstein

Government type:
hereditary 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

Administrative divisions:
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); 24 August 1866 (independence from the German Confederation)

National holiday:
Assumption Day, 15 August

previous 1862; latest adopted 5 October 1921; amended many times, last in 2011 (2013)

Legal system:
civil law system influenced by Swiss, Austrian, and German law

International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
Chief of state: Prince HANS ADAM II (since 13 November 1989, assumed executive powers on 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 (Prime Minister) Adrian HASLER (since 27 March 2013)
Cabinet: Cabinet elected by the Parliament, confirmed by the monarch
Elections: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the Landtag usually appointed the head of government by the monarch and the leader of the largest minority party in the Landtag usually appointed the deputy head of government by the monarch if there is a coalition government

Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament or Landtag (25 seats; members elected by popular vote under proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
Elections: last held on 3 February 2013 (next to be held in February 2017)
Election results: percent of vote by party - FBP 40.0%, VU 33.5%, DU 15.3% FL 11.1%; seats by party - FBP 10, VU 8, DU 4, FL 3

Judicial branch:
Highest court(s): Supreme Court or Oberster Gerichtshof (consists of 5 judges); Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgericht (consists of 5 judges and 5 alternates)
Judge selection and term of office: judges of both courts elected by the Landtag and appointed by the monarch; Supreme Court judges serve 4-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court judge tenure NA
Subordinate courts: Court of Appeal or Obergericht (second instance), Court of Justice (first instance), Administrative Court, county courts

Political parties and leaders:
The Free List (Die Freie Liste) or FL [Wolfgang MARXER]
the independents (Die Unabhaengigen) or DU [Harry QUADERER]
Progressive Citizens' Party (Fortschrittliche Buergerpartei) or FBP [Alexander BATLINER]
Fatherland Union (Vaterlaendische Union) or VU [Jakob BUECHEL]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

International organization participation:

Diplomatic representation in the US:
Chief of mission: Ambassador Claudia FRITSCHE (since 7 December 2000)
Chancery: 2900 K Street, NW, Suite 602B, Washington, DC 20007
Telephone: [1] (202) 331-0590
FAX: [1] (202) 331-3221

Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Liechtenstein; the US Ambassador to Switzerland, currently Charge d'Affaires Jeffrey R. CELLARS, is accredited to Liechtenstein

National anthem:
Name: "Oben am jungen Rhein" (High Above the Young Rhine)

Lyrics/music: Jakob Joseph JAUCH/Josef FROMMELT
note: adopted 1850, revised 1963; the anthem uses the tune of "God Save the Queen"


Economy - overview:
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 likely the second 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. Since 2008, Liechtenstein has faced renewed international pressure - particularly from Germany - to improve transparency in its banking and tax systems. In December 2008, Liechtenstein signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the US. Upon Liechtenstein's conclusion of 12 bilateral information-sharing agreements, the OECD in October 2009 removed the principality from its "grey list" of countries that had yet to implement the organization's Model Tax Convention. By the end of 2010, Liechtenstein had signed 25 Tax Information Exchange Agreements or Double Tax Agreements. In 2011 Liechtenstein joined the Schengen area, which allows passport-free travel across 26 European countries.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$3.2 billion (2009)
Country comparison to the world: 179
$3.216 billion (2008)
$3.159 billion (2007)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$5.113 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
1.8% (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 151
-0.5% (2009 est.)
3.1% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$89,400 (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 2
$90,600 (2008 est.)
$89,700 (2007 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
Agriculture: 8%
Industry: 37%
Services: 55% (2009)

Agriculture - products:
wheat, barley, corn, potatoes; livestock, dairy products

electronics, metal manufacturing, dental products, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, tourism, optical instruments

Industrial production growth rate:

Labor force:
35,830 (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 202
note: 51% of the labor force in Liechtenstein commuted daily from Austria, Switzerland, or Germany (2012)

Labor force - by occupation:
Agriculture: 0.8%
Industry: 39.4%
Services: 59.9% (2012)

Unemployment rate:
2.3% (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 18
2.5% (2011)

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%

Revenues: $995.3 million
Expenditures: $890.4 million (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
25.2% of GDP (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 124

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-1.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 75

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
-0.7% (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 4
0.2% (2011)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$3.801 billion (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 125
$3.757 billion (2011 est.)
note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland

Exports - commodities:
small specialty machinery, connectors for audio and video, parts for motor vehicles, dental products, hardware, prepared foodstuffs, electronic equipment, optical products

$2.09 billion (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 162
$2.218 billion (2011 est.)
note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland

Imports - commodities:
agricultural products, raw materials, energy products, machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles

Debt - external:
$0 (2001)
Country comparison to the world: 201

Exchange rates:
Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -
0.9542 (2013)
0.9374 (2012)
1.0429 (2010)
1.0881 (2009)
1.0774 (2008)


Electricity - production:
145.3 million kWh (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 189

Electricity - consumption:
1.36 billion kWh (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 148

Electricity - imports:
1.214 billion kWh (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 63


Telephones - main lines in use:
20,000 (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 185

Telephones - mobile cellular:
38,000 (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 204

Telephone system:
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 (2011)

Broadcast media:
relies on foreign terrestrial and satellite broadcasters for most broadcast media services; first Liechtenstein-based TV station established August 2008; Radio Liechtenstein operates multiple radio stations; a Swiss-based broadcaster operates several radio stations in Liechtenstein (2008)

Internet country code:

Internet hosts:
14,278 (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 128

Internet users:
23,000 (2009)
Country comparison to the world: 190


gas 20 km (2013)

Total: 9 km
Country comparison to the world: 134
Standard gauge: 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: 201
Paved: 380 km (2012)

28 km (2010)
Country comparison to the world: 106


Military branches:
no regular military forces; National Police maintains close relations with neighboring forces (2013)

Manpower available for military service:
Males age 16-49: 8,009 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
Males age 16-49: 6,538
Females age 16-49: 6,746 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
Male: 219
Female: 211 (2010 est.)

Military - note:
Liechtenstein has no military forces, but the modern National Police maintains close relations with neighboring forces. (2013)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Stateless persons: 5 (2012)

Illicit drugs:
has strengthened money laundering controls, but money laundering remains a concern due to Liechtenstein's sophisticated offshore financial services sector

Flag of Liechtenstein

Descriptive text is not available for this image

Flag description:
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