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Europe :: Liechtenstein
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  • 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

  • Central Europe, between Austria and Switzerland
    47 16 N, 9 32 E
    total: 160 sq km
    land: 160 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 219
    about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC
    total: 75 km
    border countries (2): Austria 34 km, Switzerland 41 km
    0 km (doubly landlocked)
    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
    mean elevation: NA
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Ruggeller Riet 430 m
    highest point: Vorder-Grauspitz 2,599 m
    hydroelectric potential, arable land
    agricultural land: 37.6%
    arable land 18.8%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 18.8%
    forest: 43.1%
    other: 19.3% (2011 est.)
    0 sq km (2012)
    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
    along with Uzbekistan, one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world; variety of microclimatic variations based on elevation
  • People and Society :: LIECHTENSTEIN

  • noun: Liechtensteiner(s)
    adjective: Liechtenstein
    Liechtensteiner 66.3%, other 33.7% (2013 est.)
    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.)
    37,624 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    0-14 years: 15.54% (male 3,142/female 2,706)
    15-24 years: 11.73% (male 2,182/female 2,230)
    25-54 years: 42.65% (male 8,013/female 8,035)
    55-64 years: 13.58% (male 2,504/female 2,606)
    65 years and over: 16.49% (male 2,837/female 3,369) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total: 42.7 years
    male: 41.5 years
    female: 43.8 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    0.84% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    10.45 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    7.12 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    5.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    urban population: 14.3% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 0.48% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    VADUZ (capital) 5,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.26 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.16 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
    total: 4.29 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 4.59 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 3.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    total population: 81.77 years
    male: 79.6 years
    female: 84.5 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    1.69 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    2.1% of GDP (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    total: 15 years
    male: 16 years
    female: 14 years (2012)
  • Government :: LIECHTENSTEIN

  • 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 were allowed by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1719 to rename the new property after their family; the name in German means "light (bright) stone"
    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, and National Day, 15 August (1940)
    previous 1862; latest adopted 5 October 1921; amended many times, last in 2011 (2016)
    civil law system influenced by Swiss, Austrian, and German law
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    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
    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 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 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
    description: unicameral Parliament or Landtag (25 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-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
    Fatherland Union (Vaterlaendische Union) or VU [Jakob BUECHEL]
    Progressive Citizens' Party (Fortschrittliche Buergerpartei) or FBP [Elfried HASLER]
    The Free List (Die Freie Liste) or FL [Wolfgang MARXER]
    the independents (Die Unabhaengigen) or DU [Harry QUADERER]
    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
    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
    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
    princely hat (crown); national colors: blue, red
    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

  • Despite its small size and lack of natural resources, Liechtenstein has developed into a prosperous, highly industrialized, free-enterprise economy with a vital financial service sector and the third highest per capita income in the world, after Qatar and Luxembourg. 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 and the United States - 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 est.)
    $3.216 billion (2008 est.)
    $3.159 billion (2007 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    $5.113 billion (2010 est.)
    1.8% (2012 est.)
    -0.5% (2009 est.)
    3.1% (2007 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    $89,400 (2009 est.)
    $90,600 (2008 est.)
    $89,700 (2007 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    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
    35,830 (2012)
    note: 51% of the labor force in Liechtenstein commute daily from Austria, Switzerland, or Germany (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    agriculture: 0.8%
    industry: 39.4%
    services: 59.9% (2012)
    3.4% (2014)
    2.3% (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $995.3 million
    expenditures: $890.4 million (2011 est.)
    19.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    2.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    calendar year
    -0.2% (2013)
    -0.7% (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    $3.801 billion (2012 est.)
    $3.757 billion (2011 est.)
    note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland
    country comparison to the world: 122
    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.)
    $2.218 billion (2011 est.)
    note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland
    country comparison to the world: 161
    agricultural products, raw materials, energy products, machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles
    $0 (2001)
    note: public external debt only; private external debt unavailable
    country comparison to the world: 206
    Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -
    0.9381 (2015)
    0.9377 (2012)
    0.9377 (2012)
    0.94 (2012 est.)
    0.8876 (2011 est.)

  • 145.3 million kWh (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    1.36 billion kWh (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    1.214 billion kWh (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 59
  • Communications :: LIECHTENSTEIN

  • total subscriptions: 18,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 48 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    total: 38,800
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 104 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    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)
    AM 0, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998)
    NA (linked to Swiss networks) (1997)
    14,278 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    total: 34,500
    percent of population: 92.4% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
  • Transportation :: LIECHTENSTEIN

  • gas 20 km (2013)
    total: 9 km
    standard gauge: 9 km 1.435-m gauge (electrified)
    note: belongs to the Austrian Railway System connecting Austria and Switzerland (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    total: 380 km
    paved: 380 km (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    28 km (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 105
  • Military and Security :: LIECHTENSTEIN

  • no regular military forces; National Police maintains close relations with neighboring forces (2013)
    Liechtenstein has no military forces, but the modern National Police maintains close relations with neighboring forces (2013)
  • Transnational Issues :: LIECHTENSTEIN

  • none
    has strengthened money laundering controls, but money laundering remains a concern due to Liechtenstein's sophisticated offshore financial services sector