Geographic and Governmental Profile of 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.
Central Europe, between Austria and Switzerland
Geographic coordinates
47 16 N, 9 32 E
Continent / Subcontinent
160 sq km
160 sq km
0 sq km
Area - comparative
about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
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:
Vorder-Grauspitz 2,599 m
Natural resources
hydroelectric potential, arable land
Land use
arable land:
permanent crops:
75% (2005)
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Irrigated land
Natural hazards
Environment - current issues
Environment - international agreements
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
along with Uzbekistan, one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world; variety of microclimatic variations based on elevation
Country name
conventional long form:
Principality of Liechtenstein
conventional short form:
local long form:
Fuerstentum Liechtenstein
local short form:
Government type
hereditary constitutional monarchy
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
Administrative divisions
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)
5 October 1921; amended 15 September 2003
Legal system
civil law system influenced by Swiss, Austrian, and German law
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
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) Klaus TSCHUETSCHER (since 25 March 2009)
Cabinet elected by the Parliament, confirmed by the monarch
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
Legislative branch
unicameral Parliament or Landtag (25 seats; members elected by popular vote under proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
last held on 8 February 2009 (next to be held in February 2013)
election results:
percent of vote by party - VU 47.6%, FBP 43.5%, FL 8.9%; seats by party - VU 13, FBP 11, FL 1
Judicial branch
Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgericht; Supreme Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Court of Appeal or Obergericht
Political parties and leaders
Die Freie Liste (The Free List) or FL [Wolfgang MARXER]; Fortschrittliche Buergerpartei (Progressive Citizens' Party) or FBP [Alexander BATLINER]; Vaterlaendische Union (Fatherland Union) or VU [Jakob BUECHEL]
Political pressure groups and leaders
International organization participation
CE, EBRD, EFTA, IAEA, ICRM, IFRCS, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention (de facto member), UN, UNCTAD, UPU, WIPO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Claudia FRITSCHE
2900 K Street, NW, Suite 602B, Washington, DC 20007
[1] (202) 331-0590
[1] (202) 331-3221
Diplomatic representation from the US
the US does not have an embassy in Liechtenstein; the US Ambassador to Switzerland is 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; 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 anthem
"Oben am jungen Rhein" (High Above the Young Rhine)
Jakob Joseph JAUCH/unknown
adopted 1850, revised 1963; the anthem uses the tune of "God Save the Queen"
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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