Facts about Liechtenstein

World Facts Index

The Principality of Liechtenstein was established within the Holy Roman Empire in 1719. Occupied by both French and Russian troops during the Napoleanic 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 went into effect in 2003.

Geography of Liechtenstein

Location:
Central Europe, between Austria and Switzerland
Coordinates:
47 16 N, 9 32 E
Area:
total: 160 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 160 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
Coastline:
0 km (doubly landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Climate:
continental; cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow or rain; cool to moderately warm, cloudy, humid summers
Terrain:
mostly mountainous (Alps) with Rhine Valley in western third
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Ruggeller Riet 430 m
highest point: Grauspitz 2,599 m
Natural resources:
hydroelectric potential, arable land
Geography - note:
along with Uzbekistan, one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world; variety of microclimatic variations based on elevation

Population of Liechtenstein

Population:
34,498 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.4% (male 2,922/female 2,988)
15-64 years: 70.2% (male 11,842/female 12,022)
65 years and over: 12.4% (male 1,773/female 2,440)
Median age:
39.6 years
Growth rate:
0.78%
Infant mortality:
4.64 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.68 years
male: 76.1 years
female: 83.28 years
Fertility rate:
1.51 children born/woman
Nationality:
noun: Liechtensteiner(s)
adjective: Liechtenstein
Ethnic groups:
Alemannic 86%, Italian, Turkish, and other 14%
Religions:
Roman Catholic 76.2%, Protestant 7%, unknown 10.6%, other 6.2%
Languages:
German (official), Alemannic dialect
Literacy:
definition: age 10 and over can read and write
total population: 100%

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Principality of Liechtenstein
conventional short form: Liechtenstein
local short form: Liechtenstein
local long form: Fuerstentum Liechtenstein
Government type:
hereditary constitutional monarchy on a democratic and parliamentary basis
Capital:
Vaduz
Administrative divisions:
11 communes (Gemeinden, singular - Gemeinde); Balzers, Eschen, Gamprin, Mauren, Planken, Ruggell, Schaan, Schellenberg, Triesen, Triesenberg, Vaduz
Independence:
23 January 1719 Imperial Principality of Liechtenstein established; 12 July 1806 established independence from the Holy Roman Empire
National holiday:
Assumption Day, 15 August
Constitution:
5 October 1921
Legal system:
local civil and penal codes; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Prince HANS ADAM II (since 13 November 1989, assumed executive powers 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) Otmar HASLER (since 5 April 2001); Deputy Head of Government (Deputy Prime Minister) Klaus TSCHUETSCHER (since 21 April 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet elected by the Parliament, confirmed by the monarch
elections: the monarch is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the Landtag is usually appointed the head of government by the monarch and the leader of the largest minority party in the Landtag is 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 are elected by direct, popular vote under proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Court of Appeal or Obergericht
Political parties and leaders:
Patriotic Union (was Fatherland Union) or VU [Adolf HEEB]; Progressive Citizens' Party or FBP [Otmar HASLER]; The Free List or FL

Economy

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 living standards on a par with its large European neighbors. 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 or so-called letter box 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.

GDP:
$1.786 billion (2001 est.)
GDP growth rate:
11% 
GDP per capita:
$25,000
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: 40%
Inflation rate:
1%
Labor force:
29,000 of whom 19,000 are foreigners; 13,000 commute from Austria, Switzerland, and Germany to work each day
Labor force - by occupation:
industry 47.4%, services 51.3%, agriculture 1.3% 
Unemployment:
1.3%
Industries:
electronics, metal manufacturing, dental products, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, tourism, optical instruments
Agriculture:
wheat, barley, corn, potatoes; livestock, dairy products
Exports:
small specialty machinery, connectors for audio and video, parts for motor vehicles, dental products, hardware, prepared foodstuffs, electronic equipment, optical products
Export partners:
EU 62.6% (Germany 24.3%, Austria 9.5%, France 8.9%, Italy 6.6%, UK 4.6%), US 18.9%, Switzerland 15.7% 
Imports:
agricultural products, raw materials, machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles
Import partners:
EU, Switzerland
Currency:
Swiss franc (CHF)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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