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Flag of Liechtenstein
Map of Liechtenstein
Introduction Liechtenstein
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.
Geography Liechtenstein
Central Europe, between Austria and Switzerland
Geographic coordinates:
47 16 N, 9 32 E
Map references:
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
0 km (doubly landlocked)
Maritime claims:
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
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Ruggeller Riet 430 m
highest point: Grauspitz 2,599 m
Natural resources:
hydroelectric potential, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 25%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 75% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
along with Uzbekistan, one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world; variety of microclimatic variations based on elevation
People Liechtenstein
32,842 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 18.3% (male 3,003; female 3,001)
15-64 years: 70.5% (male 11,530; female 11,639)
65 years and over: 11.2% (male 1,494; female 2,175) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.94% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
11.24 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
6.76 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
4.93 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.01 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
4.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.1 years
female: 82.74 years (2002 est.)
male: 75.47 years
Total fertility rate:
1.5 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Liechtensteiner(s)
adjective: Liechtenstein
Ethnic groups:
Alemannic 86%, Italian, Turkish, and other 14%
Roman Catholic 76.2%, Protestant 7%, unknown 10.6%, other 6.2% (June 2002)
German (official), Alemannic dialect
definition: age 10 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (1981 est.)
Government Liechtenstein
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
Administrative divisions:
11 communes (Gemeinden, singular - Gemeinde); Balzers, Eschen, Gamprin, Mauren, Planken, Ruggell, Schaan, Schellenberg, Triesen, Triesenberg, Vaduz
23 January 1719 Imperial Principality of Liechtenstein established; 12 July 1806 established independence from the Holy Roman Empire
National holiday:
Assumption Day, 15 August
5 October 1921
Legal system:
local civil and penal codes; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
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)
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the Diet is usually appointed the head of government by the monarch and the leader of the largest minority party in the Diet is usually appointed the deputy head of government by the monarch
cabinet: Cabinet elected by the Parliament, confirmed by the monarch
head of government: Head of Government Otmar HASLER (since 5 April 2001) and Deputy Head of Government Rita KIEBER-BECK (since 5 April 2001)
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament or Landtag (25 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote under proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
election results: percent of vote by party - FBP 49.90%, VU 41.35%, FL 8.71%; seats by party - FBP 13, VU 11, FL 1
elections: last held 11 February 2001 (next to be held by NA 2005)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Court of Appeal or Obergericht
Political parties and leaders:
Fatherland Union or VU [Dr. Heinz FROMMELT]; Progressive Citizens' Party or FBP [Johannes MATT]; The Free List or FL [Dr. Pepo FRICK, Karin JENNY, Rene HASLER]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Claudia FRITSCHE
chancery: 1300 Eye Street NW, Suite 550W, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 216-0460
FAX: [1] (202) 216-0459
Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Liechtenstein, but the US Ambassador to Switzerland is also accredited to Liechtenstein
Flag description:
two equal horizontal bands of blue (top) and red with a gold crown on the hoist side of the blue band
Economy Liechtenstein
Economy - overview:
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 the urban areas of 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 a large number of 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 European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and EU) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe.
purchasing power parity - $730 million (1998 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $23,000 (1998 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA% 40%
services: NA% (1999)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1% (2001)
Labor force:
28,783 of which 13,847 are foreigners; 8,231 commute from Austria and Switzerland to work each day
Labor force - by occupation:
industry, trade, and building 48%, services 51%, agriculture, fishing, forestry, and horticulture 1% (37256 est.)
Unemployment rate:
1.3% (1999)
revenues: $424.2 million
expenditures: $414.1 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)
electronics, metal manufacturing, dental products, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, tourism, optical instruments
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: NA%
other: NA% 2% (2001)
hydro: NA% 98%
nuclear: NA%
Electricity - consumption:
313.45 million kWh NA kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
NA kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
232.847 million kWh NA kWh (2001)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, barley, corn, potatoes; livestock, dairy products
$2.47 billion (1996)
Exports - commodities:
small specialty machinery, connectors for audio and video, parts for motor vehicles, dental products, hardware, prepared foodstuffs, electronic equipment, optical products
Exports - 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%
$917.3 million (1996)
Imports - commodities:
agricultural products, raw materials, machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles
Imports - partners:
EU countries, Switzerland
Debt - external:
$0 (1996) (2001)
Economic aid - recipient:
Swiss franc (CHF)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Swiss francs per US dollar - 1.6668 (January 2002), 1.6876 (2001), 1.6888 (2000), 1.5022 (1999), 1.4498 (1998), 1.4513 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Liechtenstein
Telephones - main lines in use:
20,072 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Telephone system:
general assessment: automatic telephone system
domestic: NA
international: linked to Swiss networks by cable and microwave radio relay
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998)
21,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
NA (linked to Swiss networks) (1997)
12,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
44 (Liechtenstein and Switzerland) (2000)
Internet users:
Transportation Liechtenstein
total: 18.5 km
standard gauge: 18.5 km 1.435-m gauge (electrified)
note: owned, operated, and included in statistics of Austrian Federal Railways (2001)
total: 250 km
paved: 250 km
unpaved: 0 km
Ports and harbors:
none (2001)
Military Liechtenstein
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of Switzerland
Transnational Issues Liechtenstein
Disputes - international:
Liechtenstein's royal family claims restitution for 1,600 sq km of land in the Czech Republic confiscated in 1918
Illicit drugs:
multilateral organizations engaged in issuing international guidelines for financial sector oversight found gaps in Liechtenstein's financial services controls that made it vulnerable to money laundering, but Liechtenstein has become less attractive as a haven for illicit funds, based on implementation in 2001 of new anti-money-laundering legislation and improved mutual legal assistance cooperation with other countries

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003