|Government||hereditary constitutional monarchy on a democratic and parliamentary basis|
|Currency||Swiss franc (CHF)|
|Area||total: 160 sq km |
water: 0 sq km
land: 160 sq km
|Population||32,842 (July 2002 est.)|
|Language||German (official), Alemannic dialect|
|Religion||Roman Catholic 76.2%, Protestant 7%, unknown 10.6%, other 6.2% (June 2002)|
Liechtenstein is a tiny country straddling Switzerland and Austria.
- 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.
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.
Liechtenstein is very mountainous and one of the world's few doubly-landlocked countries. Most of the country's population lives in the Rhine Valley in the western third. The country's highest point is Grauspitz, which stretches to 2,599m.
Liechtenstein has a continental climate featuring cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow or rain, making the country a moderately popular ski destination. Summers are cool to moderately warm, also often cloudy and humid.
Liechtenstein maintains a complete customs union with Switzerland and hence does not issue its own visas: if you can enter Switzerland, you can enter Liechtenstein, and there are no border formalities needed for crossing between the two countries. Stamp hunters can, however, get an authentic Liechtenstein entry stamp in their passport at Zurich (Switzerland), 115 km away, although there are also limited services to Altenrhein (53 km).
Commuter train services connect four stations in Liechtenstein, including Schaan-Vaduz, to Feldkirch (Austria) and Buchs (Switzerland). Some long-distance services pass through Liechtenstein, but none stop there.
If you don't have your vehicle, the best way to get around Liechtenstein is bus. The country's sole operator is High German - which is spoken in Germany and generally regarded as 'proper german'.
Liechtenstein uses the Swiss franc (CHF) as its currency.
Costs in Liechtenstein are equivalent to those in Switzerland, or in a word, expensive.
- stub and needs your attention. Plunge forward and help it grow!