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Europe :: Liechtenstein Print
Page last updated on October 09, 2020
  • Introduction :: Liechtenstein
  • Background field listing
    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 German 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
  • Location field listing
    Central Europe, between Austria and Switzerland
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    47 16 N, 9 32 E
    Map references field listing
    Area field listing
    total: 160 sq km
    land: 160 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 219
    Area - comparative field listing
    about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC
    Land boundaries field listing
    total: 75 km
    border countries (2): Austria 34 km, Switzerland 41 km
    Coastline field listing
    0 km (doubly landlocked)
    Maritime claims field listing
    none (landlocked)
    Climate field listing
    continental; cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow or rain; cool to moderately warm, cloudy, humid summers
    Terrain field listing
    mostly mountainous (Alps) with Rhine Valley in western third
    Elevation field listing
    lowest point: Ruggeller Riet 430 m
    highest point: Vorder-Grauspitz 2,599 m
    Natural resources field listing
    hydroelectric potential, arable land
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 37.6% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 18.8% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 18.8% (2011 est.)
    forest: 43.1% (2011 est.)
    other: 19.3% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    0 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    most of the population is found in the western half of the country along the Rhine River
    Natural hazards field listing
    avalanches, landslides
    Environment - current issues field listing
    some air pollution generated locally, some transfered from surrounding countries
    Environment - international agreements field listing
    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 field listing
    along with Uzbekistan, one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world; variety of microclimatic variations based on elevation
  • People and Society :: Liechtenstein
  • Population field listing
    39,137 (July 2020 est.)

    note: immigrants make up 65% of the total population, according to UN data (2017)

    country comparison to the world: 213
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Liechtensteiner(s)
    adjective: Liechtenstein
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Liechtensteiner 66%, Swiss 9.6%, Austrian 5.8%, German 4.3%, Italian 3.1%, other 11.2% (2017 est.)
    note: data represent population by nationality
    Languages field listing
    German 91.5% (official) (Alemannic is the main dialect), Italian 1.5%, Turkish 1.3%, Portuguese 1.1%, other 4.6% (2015 est.)
    Religions field listing
    Roman Catholic (official) 73.4%, Protestant Reformed 6.3%, Muslim 5.9%,  Christian Orthodox 1.3%, Lutheran 1.2%, other Protestant .7%, other Christian .3%, other .8%, none 7%, unspecified 3.3% (2015 est.)
    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 15.2% (male 3,259/female 2,688)
    15-24 years: 11.29% (male 2,238/female 2,181)
    25-54 years: 40.22% (male 7,869/female 7,872)
    55-64 years: 14.41% (male 2,711/female 2,930)
    65 years and over: 18.88% (male 3,403/female 3,986) (2020 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Median age field listing
    total: 43.7 years
    male: 42 years
    female: 45.3 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 22
    Population growth rate field listing
    0.75% (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    Birth rate field listing
    10.4 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    Death rate field listing
    7.8 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 98
    Net migration rate field listing
    4.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    Population distribution field listing
    most of the population is found in the western half of the country along the Rhine River
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 14.4% of total population (2020)
    rate of urbanization: 0.81% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    5,000 VADUZ (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.26 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.21 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 4.2 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 4.5 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 3.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 82.2 years
    male: 79.9 years
    female: 85 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    Total fertility rate field listing
    1.69 children born/woman (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: total: 100% of population
    unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: total: 98% of population
    unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    Education expenditures field listing
    2.6% of GDP (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) field listing
    total: 15 years
    male: 16 years
    female: 13 years (2016)
  • Government :: Liechtenstein
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: Principality of Liechtenstein
    conventional short form: Liechtenstein
    local long form: Fuerstentum Liechtenstein
    local short form: Liechtenstein
    etymology: named after the Liechtenstein dynasty that purchased and united the counties of Schellenburg and Vaduz and that was allowed by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1719 to rename the new property after their family; the name in German means "light (bright) stone"
    Government type field listing
    constitutional monarchy
    Capital field listing
    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
    etymology: may be a conflation from the Latin "vallis" (valley) and the High German "diutisk" (meaning "German") to produce "Valdutsch" (German valley), which over time simplified and came to refer specifically to Vaduz, the town
    Administrative divisions field listing
    11 communes (Gemeinden, singular - Gemeinde); Balzers, Eschen, Gamprin, Mauren, Planken, Ruggell, Schaan, Schellenberg, Triesen, Triesenberg, Vaduz
    Independence field listing
    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 field listing
    National Day, 15 August (1940); note - a National Day was originally established in 1940 to combine celebrations for the Feast of the Assumption (15 August) with those honoring the birthday of former Prince FRANZ JOSEF II (1906-1989) whose birth fell on 16 August; after the prince's death, National Day became the official national holiday by law in 1990
    Constitution field listing
    history: previous 1862; latest adopted 5 October 1921
    amendments: proposed by Parliament, by the reigning prince (in the form of "Government" proposals), by petition of at least 1,500 qualified voters, or by at least four communes; passage requires unanimous approval of Parliament members in one sitting or three-quarters majority vote in two successive sittings; referendum required only if petitioned by at least 1,500 voters or by at least four communes; passage by referendum requires absolute majority of votes cast; amended many times, last in 2018(2019)
    International law organization participation field listing
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    Citizenship field listing
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Liechtenstein; in the case of a child born out of wedlock, the mother must be a citizen
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
    Suffrage field listing
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: Prince HANS-ADAM II (since 13 November 1989, assumed executive powers on 26 August 1984); Heir Apparent and Regent of Liechtenstein Prince ALOIS (son of the monarch, born 11 June 1968); note - 15 August 2004, HANS-ADAM II transferred the official duties of the ruling prince to ALOIS, but HANS-ADAM II retains status of chief of state
    head of government: Prime Minister Adrian HASLER (since 27 March 2013)
    cabinet: Cabinet elected by the Parliament, confirmed by the monarch
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the Parliament 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 field listing
    description: unicameral Parliament or Landtag (25 seats; members directly elected in 2 multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 5 February 2017 (next to be held in February 2021)
    election results: percent of vote by party - FBP 35.2%, VU 33.7%, DU 18.4% FL 12.6%; seats by party - FBP 9, VU 8, DU 5, FL 3; composition - men 22, women 3, percent of women 12%
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: 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 judges appointed for renewable 5-year terms
    subordinate courts: Court of Appeal or Obergericht (second instance), Court of Justice (first instance), Administrative Court, county courts
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    Fatherland Union (Vaterlaendische Union) or VU [Guenther FRITZ]
    Progressive Citizens' Party (Fortschrittliche Buergerpartei) or FBP [Thomas BANZER]
    The Free List (Die Freie Liste) or FL [Pepo FRICK and Conny BUECHEL BRUEHWILER]
    The Independents (Die Unabhaengigen) or DU [Harry QUADERER]
    International organization participation field listing
    CD, CE, EBRD, EFTA, IAEA, ICCt, ICRM, IFRCS, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UPU, WIPO, WTO
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    Ambassador Kurt JAEGER (since 16 September 2016)
    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 field listing
    the US does not have an embassy in Liechtenstein; the US Ambassador to Switzerland is accredited to Liechtenstein
    Flag description field listing
    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
    National symbol(s) field listing
    princely hat (crown); national colors: blue, red
    National anthem field listing
    name: "Oben am jungen Rhein" (High Above the Young Rhine)
    lyrics/music: Jakob Joseph JAUCH/Josef FROMMELT

    note: adopted 1850, revised 1963; uses the tune of "God Save the Queen"

  • Economy :: Liechtenstein
  • Economy - overview field listing

    Despite its small size and lack of natural resources, Liechtenstein has developed into a prosperous, highly industrialized, free-enterprise economy with a vital financial services sector and one of the highest per capita income levels in the world. The Liechtenstein economy is widely diversified with a large number of small and medium-sized businesses, particularly in the services sector. Low business taxes - a flat tax of 12.5% on income is applied - 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 and the EU) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated EU. As of 2015, 54% of Liechtenstein’s workforce consisted of cross-border commuters, largely from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

    Since 2008, Liechtenstein has faced renewed international pressure - particularly from Germany and the US - 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. In 2015, Liechtenstein and the EU agreed to clamp down on tax fraud and evasion and in 2018 will start automatically exchanging information on the bank accounts of each other’s residents.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $4.978 billion (2014 est.)
    $3.2 billion (2009 est.)
    $3.216 billion (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $6.672 billion (2014 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    1.8% (2012 est.)
    -0.5% (2011 est.)
    3.1% (2007 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $139,100 (2009 est.)
    $90,100 (2008 est.)
    $91,300 (2007 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 7% (2014)
    industry: 41% (2014)
    services: 52% (2014)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    wheat, barley, corn, potatoes; livestock, dairy products
    Industries field listing
    electronics, metal manufacturing, dental products, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, tourism, optical instruments
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    Labor force field listing
    38,520 (2012) (2015 est.)

    note: 51% of the labor force in Liechtenstein commute daily from Austria, Switzerland, and Germany

    country comparison to the world: 199
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 0.8%
    industry: 36.9%
    services: 62.3% (2015)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    2.4% (2015)
    2.4% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    Population below poverty line field listing
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 995.3 million (2012 est.)
    expenditures: 890.4 million (2011 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    14.9% (of GDP) (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    1.6% (of GDP) (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    Fiscal year field listing
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    -0.4% (2016 est.)
    -0.2% (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    Exports field listing
    $3.217 billion (2015 est.)
    $3.774 billion (2014 est.)

    note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland

    country comparison to the world: 127
    Exports - commodities field listing
    small specialty machinery, connectors for audio and video, parts for motor vehicles, dental products, hardware, prepared foodstuffs, electronic equipment, optical products
    Imports field listing
    NA (2015 est.)
    $2.23 billion (2014 est.)

    note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland

    country comparison to the world: 163
    Imports - commodities field listing
    agricultural products, raw materials, energy products, machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles
    Debt - external field listing
    $0 (2015 est.)
    note: public external debt only; private external debt unavailable
    country comparison to the world: 206
    Exchange rates field listing
    Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -
    0.9875 (2017 est.)
    0.9852 (2016 est.)
    0.9852 (2015 est.)
    0.9627 (2014 est.)
    0.9152 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Liechtenstein
  • Electricity access field listing
    electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
    Electricity - production field listing
    68.43 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    393.6 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2015 est.) (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    Electricity - imports field listing
    325.2 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 88
  • Communications :: Liechtenstein
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 15,243
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 40 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 47,272
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 123 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    Telecommunication systems field listing
    general assessment: automatic telephone system; 44 Internet service providers in Liechtenstein and Switzerland combined; FttP (fiber to the home) penetration marketed 3rd highest in EU; fiber network reaches 3/4 of the population (2020)
    domestic: fixed-line 40 per 100 and mobile-cellular services 123 per 100 (2018)
    international: country code - 423; linked to Swiss networks by cable and microwave radio relay
    note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
    Broadcast media field listing
    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 one radio station in Liechtenstein
    Internet country code field listing
    Internet users field listing
    total: 37,815
    percent of population: 98.1% (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 16,712
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 43 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
  • Military and Security :: Liechtenstein
  • Military and security forces field listing
    no regular military forces; National Police maintain close relations with neighboring forces (2019)
  • Transportation :: Liechtenstein
  • Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    HB (2016)
    Pipelines field listing
    434.5 km gas (2018)
    Railways field listing
    total: 9 km (2018)
    standard gauge: 9 km 1.435-m gauge (electrified) (2018)

    note: belongs to the Austrian Railway System connecting Austria and Switzerland

    country comparison to the world: 136
    Roadways field listing
    total: 630 km (2019)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    Waterways field listing
    28 km (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 105
  • Transnational Issues :: Liechtenstein
  • Disputes - international field listing


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