Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world where only about 38,000 people live. It is located between Switzerland and Austria and it is also the second-least visited country in Europe.
Read some interesting facts about this small nation.
1. There is no airport and no coastline
Liechtenstein’s territory is about 62 miles, which is close to an eight-part of the city of Los Angeles. This country’s largest city has only 6,000 residents, a fun fact about Liechtenstein.
Since Liechtenstein is so small, it has no airport, but people can travel to Zurich (which is an hour and a half away by land) if they need to get to a plane. The country also has no coastline since it is located between Austria and Switzerland.
2. Liechtenstein’s GDP per capita is the second-highest in the world.
Even though Liechtenstein is not a large country, it holds the record for having the second-highest Gross Domestic Product per capita in the world. The amount reaches up to $165,028 on average per person and it is surpassed only by Monaco.
This nation has a very prosperous financial services sector. Some of the industries that contribute to the economy are metal manufacturing, electronic, dental products, pharmaceuticals and optical instruments. They also have no national debt.
3. You need to wait 30 years to be naturalized as a citizen
If you ever want to become a citizen of Liechtenstein, you will have to wait 30 years of being a resident to do so. an interesting fact about Liechtenstein. However, if the local community votes in your favor, you will be granted citizenship in a local referendum. Afterward, you will need the green light from the Parliament. The final word is given by the Prince.
4. It achieved its independence in 1866
Liechtenstein is a principality and it was first established in 1719, within the Holy Roman Empire. During the Napoleonic Wars, it was occupied by French and Russian troops. It became a sovereign state in 1806 and joined the German Confederation in 1815. It was in 1866 when Liechtenstein became independent when the Confederation dissolved.
5. Low taxes in Liechtenstein have helped its economic growth
After World War II ended, the country has implemented a low-tax policy. Thanks to it, Liechtenstein has had important economic growth. They have also committed to an anti-money laundering legislation and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the United States since 2003 to fight money laundering.
6. The entire territory is located in the Alps
This is the only country in the world that has its entire territory in the Alpine region. Among other countries that encompass the Alps are France, Austria, Italy, Germany, Slovenia and Switzerland. In addition, Liechtenstein’s lowest elevation is above 1,400 meters above sea level.
7. Liechtenstein is the second-least visited country on Earth
According to data from the World Tourism Organization, the country received only 85,000 tourists in 2018. This means that it is the second-least visited nation in the world, surpassed by San Marino.
8. Christoph Zeller is the country’s only billionaire
After spending 13 years as the CEO of Ivoclar Vivadent AG, a dental products company, Cristoph Zeller became Liechtenstein’s only billionaire. He is worth $1.3 billion, which is half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
9. Since 1868, the country has not had an army
The last time Liechtenstein had an army was in 1868. However, sometimes, the Swiss army accidentally invades the country when they conduct training exercises in the forests that border with Liechtenstein, a fun Liechtenstein fact.
10. They use the Swiss franc as its official currency
Liechtenstein uses the Swiss franc as its official national currency. They also participate in a customs union with Switzerland. Although they do not use the Euro, they are a member of the European Economic Area since 1995. This is an organization that serves as a bridge between the European Free Trade Association and the European Union.
11. Liechtenstein was once blacklisted as a center for money laundering
In 2000, Liechtenstein was blacklisted as a center where money laundering took place, an interesting Liechtenstein fact. However, they have made changes to their laws to prevent actions like these from taking place. Two years later, the country was removed from the blacklist of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD.
12. In 2003, they wanted to give their prince more power
In March 2003, the people of Liechtenstein wanted to give their prince more power. Among those new powers were the right to dismiss governments and also to approve judicial nominees. Though prince Hans Adam II had more power than any other monarch in Europe, he threatened to leave the territory if his demands for more power were not met.
In August of that same year, the prince announced that he would give up the day-to-day ruling. A year later, his son, Prince Alois, became regent of Liechtenstein.
13. Haiti and Liechtenstein used to have the same flag
Liechtenstein and Haiti used to have the same flag although they did not know it until the 1936 Olympic Games. This prompted Liechtenstein to make a change and add a crown to it, a fun fact about Liechtenstein. However, it is not the only national symbol that is similar to that of another country. Their national anthem uses the same melody as the United Kingdom.
Liechtenstein is a small but prosperous country. There is virtually no debt and its inhabitants have a high level of income, on average. However, they have been on the world’s blacklist for allowing money laundering to occur, which has led them to take important actions to be considered as a legitimate place to do business.
I hope that this article on Liechtenstein facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!