Liechtenstein is a country situated in the
centre of Europe between Austria and
Switzerland. It is one of the smallest countries in the World
measuring approximately 16 miles long and 4 miles wide.
To the West the country is separated from Switzerland by the Rhine and
to the East it is separated from Austria by the mountains.The
Principality of Liechtenstein was established within the Holy Roman
Empire in 1719; it 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 Liechtenstein 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. However,
shortcomings in banking regulatory oversight have resulted in concerns
about the use of the financial institutions for money laundering.
Despite being allowed to issue their own
currency, the Swiss Franc has been
used in the Principality for over 70 years.Liechtenstein has one of the
lowest tax rates in the world.The country only has 30,000 residents but
the Prince is one of the richest men in the World. The residents speak a
Swiss-German dialect which varies across the country.
About 30,000 people live in the country with around 5,000 on the
capital Vaduz. They enjoy one of the
highest standards of living in the world and unemployment is very rare.
In the lower part of the country, the area alongside the Rhine is very
flat and fertile. More than half of the country consists of snow-capped
mountains reaching up to 8,000 ft.
Liechtenstein has been continuously inhabited since the New Stone Age.
The County of Vaduz was created in 1342 with a treaty signed at Sargans
Castle. In 1719 the Imperial Principality of Liechtenstein was created
by uniting Schellenberg and Vaduz. In 1799, Liechtenstein was occupied
by the French - since that time no foreign soldiers have occupied the
land. In 1806, Napoleon conferred sovereign status on the country. In
1852, a customs treaty was signed with Austria which meant that the
Austrian currency was used and revenue was gained from customs duties.
In 1868, the first bridges across the Rhine were built as well as roads
leading to the mountain villages of Triesenberg, Schellenberg and
Planken. In 1921, a Postal Treaty with Switzerland was signed, and 2
years later the Customs Treaty with Switzerland was signed. In the
Second World War, Liechtenstein remained neutral as it had done in the
First and despite being completely without military defences it was
never occupied. In recent years the success of the local industry and
revenue from the many offshore companies registered there have made the
country very wealthy.
Things to see and do in Liechtenstein :
Liechtenstein State Art Collection, Vaduz: This contains
works by Rubens which are considered to be among the greatest in the
World. Postage Stamp Museum, Vaduz:
Liechtenstein is famous throughout the world for its stamps and this
museum contains rare examples dating from 1912.
Ski Museum, Vaduz: Over 100 years of skiing history are on
display at this unique museum.
Schloss Vaduz: The Prince of
Liechtenstein is one of the few monarchs in the world to live in a
castle. Parts of this building date from the 12th century although it
was rebuilt at the beginning of the 16th century. His home, overlooking
the town is not open to the public but visitors can walk up and view the
In Winter, Skiing for every age and ability is available at Malbun which
is one of the highest points in the country. Members of the British
Royal Family learnt to ski here as guests of the Prince.