Liechtenstein at a glance
The fourth-smallest state in Europe lies in the centre of the Alps, between Switzerland and Austria. Liechtenstein is the sixth-smallest country in the world.
What is Liechtenstein? Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked country between Switzerland and Austria. The official currency is the Swiss franc, though euros and dollars are also accepted. Liechtenstein is a microstate, and so small that almost everyone knows each other.
The national dish is 'Ribel', made out of cornmeal or wheat semolina. 'Käsknöpfle', a type of doughy pasta covered in melted cheese, is also popular. Fine-dining enthusiasts will find no fewer than four restaurants highly rated by Gault et Millau. In years gone by, cider and wine were the main drinks, while a brewery also produced beer. Today, Liechtenstein's wine has an exellent reputation thanks to the innovative approach used by the region's vineyards.
Citizens speak an Alemannic dialect. Clubs play a major role in everyday life, with over 600 of them spread across the eleven municipalities.
Liechtenstein is a business centre with proven financial expertise, but there is more to the country than just financial services. Thirty large companies employ around 8000 workers, while a further 30,000 people work in foreign branches of companies based in Liechtenstein.
A number of institutions and universities in the country offer education and research opportunities. As a fully fledged member of the United Nations and the European Economic Area, Liechtenstein has developed in recent decades to become an independent state on an equal footing with other European countries.
The name 'Liechtenstein' was given to the region by the Princes of Liechtenstein, who purchased the County of Vaduz (1712) and the lands of Schellenberg (1699) and united them to form the Principality of Liechtenstein in 1719. The name of the eponymous princely house can be traced back to a castle in the town of Maria Enzensdorf in Upper Austria. Built by Hugo von Petronell-Liechtenstein around 1130, this castle is said to stand on a rock known as the light ('Licht') stone ('Stein').
160 square kilometres
Form of government
Constitutional monarchy with the rank of principality
Head of state
Prince Hans-Adam II
Collegial Government with five members of the government
25 members of the parlament, legislative period of four years
76 km (Border to Switzerland 41.1 km, border to Austria 34.9 km)
79% Roman Catholicism
Swiss franc (CHF)