Flag of 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 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. Shortcomings in banking regulatory oversight have resulted in concerns about the use of the financial institutions for money laundering. Liechtenstein has, however, implemented new anti-money-laundering legislation and recently concluded a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US.


Central Europe, between Austria and Switzerland

Geographic coordinates:

47 16 N, 9 32 E


total: 160 sq km
land: 160 sq km
water: 0 sq km

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: Vorder-Grauspitz 2,599 m

Natural resources:

hydroelectric potential, arable land

Land use:

arable land: 25%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 75% (2005)

Geography - note:

along with Uzbekistan, one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world; variety of microclimatic variations based on elevation


33,987 (July 2006 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) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 39.6 years
male: 39.2 years
female: 40.1 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.78% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

10.21 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

7.18 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

4.77 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.01 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 4.64 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.24 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 79.68 years
male: 76.1 years
female: 83.28 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.51 children born/woman (2006 est.)


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%

Country name:

conventional long form: Principality of Liechtenstein
conventional short form: Liechtenstein
local long form: Fuerstentum Liechtenstein
local short form: 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 (Principality of Liechtenstein established); 12 July 1806 (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

Legislative branch:

unicameral Parliament or Landtag (25 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote under proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 11 and 13 March 2005 (next to be held by NA 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - FBP 48.7%, VU 38.2%, FL 13%; seats by party - FBP 12, VU 10, FL 3

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Court of Appeal or Obergericht

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 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 (purchasing power parity):

$825 million (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

11% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$25,000 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: NA%
industry: 40%
services: NA% (1999)

Labor force:

29,000 of whom 13,900 commute from Austria, Switzerland, and Germany to work each day (2001)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 1.3%
industry: 47.4%
services: 51.3% (31 December 2001)

Unemployment rate:

1.3% (September 2002)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1% (2001)


revenues: $424.2 million
expenditures: $414.1 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)

Agriculture - products:

wheat, barley, corn, potatoes; livestock, dairy products


electronics, metal manufacturing, dental products, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, tourism, optical instruments


$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% (2004)


$917.3 million (1996)

Imports - commodities:

agricultural products, raw materials, machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles

Imports - partners:

EU, Switzerland (2004)

Debt - external:

$0 (2001)

Currency (code):

Swiss franc (CHF)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

19,900 (2002)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

11,400 (2002)

Telephone system:

general assessment: automatic telephone system
domestic: NA
international: country code - 423; linked to Swiss networks by cable and microwave radio relay

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 0, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:

NA (linked to Swiss networks) (1997)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

7,491 (2005)

Internet users:

20,000 (2002)


none (2005)


gas 20 km (2004)


total: 250 km
paved: 250 km


28 km (2005)

Ports and terminals:


Military - note:

defence is the responsibility of Switzerland

Disputes - international:

in February 2005, the ICJ refused to rule on the restitution of Liechtenstein's land and property assets in the Czech Republic confiscated in 1945 as German property

Illicit drugs:

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