Europe :: 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 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.

Geography ::Liechtenstein

People and Society ::Liechtenstein

Government ::Liechtenstein

    conventional long form: Principality of Liechtenstein
    conventional short form: Liechtenstein
    local long form: Fuerstentum Liechtenstein
    local short form: Liechtenstein
    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
    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)
    Assumption Day, 15 August
    5 October 1921; amended 15 September 2003
    civil law system influenced by Swiss, Austrian, and German law
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    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
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    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
    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
    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
    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]
    NA
    CD, CE, EBRD, EFTA, IAEA, ICRM, IFRCS, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UPU, WIPO, WTO
    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
    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 ::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 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.
    $3.2 billion (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    $3.216 billion (2008)
    $3.159 billion (2007)
    $5.113 billion (2010)
    -0.5% (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    1.8% (2008 est.)
    3.1% (2007 est.)
    $89,400 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    $90,600 (2008 est.)
    $89,700 (2007 est.)
    agriculture: 8%
    industry: 37%
    services: 55% (2009)
    wheat, barley, corn, potatoes; livestock, dairy products
    electronics, metal manufacturing, dental products, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, tourism, optical instruments
    NA%
    35,250 (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    note: 51% of the labor force in Liechtenstein commuted daily from Austria, Switzerland, or Germany (2012)
    agriculture: 0.8%
    industry: 39.4%
    services: 59.9% (2010)
    2.5% (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    2.2% (2010)
    NA%
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $1.29 billion
    expenditures: $1.372 billion (2011 est.)
    25.2% of GDP (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    -1.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    calendar year
    0.2% (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    0.7% (2010)
    $NA
    $3.76 billion (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    $3.191 billion (2010 est.)
    note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland
    small specialty machinery, connectors for audio and video, parts for motor vehicles, dental products, hardware, prepared foodstuffs, electronic equipment, optical products
    $2.218 billion (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    $1.806 billion (2010 est.)
    note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland
    agricultural products, raw materials, energy products, machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles
    $0 (2001)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -
    0.9374 (2012)
    0.8876 (2011)
    1.0429 (2010)
    1.0881 (2009)
    1.0774 (2008)

Communications ::Liechtenstein

    19,600 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    37,000 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    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)
    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)
    .li
    14,278 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    23,000 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 190

Transportation ::Liechtenstein

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

Military ::Liechtenstein

Transnational Issues ::Liechtenstein