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

Map references



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

Area - comparative

about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 75 km
border countries (2): Austria 34 km, Switzerland 41 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


mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Ruggeller Riet 430 m
highest point: Vorder-Grauspitz 2,599 m

Natural resources

hydroelectric potential, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 37.6%
arable land 18.8%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 18.8%
forest: 43.1%
other: 19.3% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

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

People and Society

Population growth rate

0.82% (2016 est.)


37,937 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Liechtensteiner(s)
adjective: Liechtenstein

Ethnic groups

Liechtensteiner 66.3%, other 33.7% (2013 est.)


German 94.5% (official) (Alemannic is the main dialect), Italian 1.1%, other 4.3% (2010 est.)


Roman Catholic (official) 75.9%, Protestant Reformed 6.5%, Muslim 5.4%, Lutheran 1.3%, other 2.9%, none 5.4%, unspecified 2.6% (2010 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.38% (male 3,141/female 2,694)
15-24 years: 11.71% (male 2,214/female 2,229)
25-54 years: 42.13% (male 7,983/female 8,001)
55-64 years: 13.82% (male 2,553/female 2,690)
65 years and over: 16.95% (male 2,954/female 3,478) (2016 est.)

Median age

total: 42.9 years
male: 41.7 years
female: 44.1 years (2016 est.)

Birth rate

10.4 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

7.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Population distribution

most of the population is found in the western half of the country along the Rhine River


urban population: 14.3% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.48% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

VADUZ (capital) 5,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.26 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.17 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 4.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 81.9 years
male: 79.7 years
female: 84.6 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.69 children born/woman (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Education expenditures

2.6% of GDP (2011)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years
male: 16 years
female: 13 years (2014)


Country name

conventional long form: Principality of Liechtenstein
conventional short form: Liechtenstein
local long form: Fuerstentum Liechtenstein
local short form: Liechtenstein
etymology: named after the Liechtenstein dynasty that purchased and united the counties of Schellenburg and Vaduz and that were allowed by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1719 to rename the new property after their family; the name in German means "light (bright) stone"

Government type

constitutional monarchy


name: Vaduz
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); 24 August 1866 (independence from the German Confederation)

National holiday

Assumption Day, 15 August, and National Day, 15 August (1940)


history: previous 1862; latest adopted 5 October 1921
amendments: proposed as bills by Parliament, by the reigning prince (in the form of “Government” proposals), by petition of at least 1,500 qualified voters, or by at least four communes; passage requires unanimous approval of Parliament members in one sitting or three-quarters majority vote in two successive sittings; referendum required only if petitioned by at least 1,500 voters or by at least four communes; passage by referendum requires absolute majority of all eligible voters; amended many times, last in 2011 (2016)

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


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Liechtenstein; in the case of a child born out of wedlock, the mother must be a citizen
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


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 II transferred the official duties of the ruling prince to ALOIS, but HANS ADAM II retains status of chief of state
head of government: Prime Minister Adrian HASLER (since 27 March 2013)
cabinet: Cabinet elected by the Parliament, confirmed by the monarch
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the Parliament 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

description: unicameral Parliament or Landtag (25 seats; members directly elected in two multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 3 February 2013 (next to be held in February 2017)
election results: percent of vote by party - FBP 40.0%, VU 33.5%, DU 15.3% FL 11.1%; seats by party - FBP 10, VU 8, DU 4, FL 3

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Kurt JAEGER (since 16 December 2016)
chancery: 2900 K Street, NW, Suite 602B, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 331-0590
FAX: [1] (202) 331-3221

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Oberster Gerichtshof (consists of 5 judges); Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgericht (consists of 5 judges and 5 alternates)
judge selection and term of office: judges of both courts elected by the Landtag and appointed by the monarch; Supreme Court judges serve 4-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court judges appointed for renewable 5-year terms
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal or Obergericht (second instance), Court of Justice (first instance), Administrative Court, county courts

National symbol(s)

princely hat (crown); national colors: blue, red

Political parties and leaders

Fatherland Union (Vaterlaendische Union) or VU [Jakob BUECHEL]
Progressive Citizens' Party (Fortschrittliche Buergerpartei) or FBP [Thomas BANZER]
The Free List (Die Freie Liste) or FL [Pepo FRICK]
The Independents (Die Unabhaengigen) or DU [Harry QUADERER]

International organization participation

CD, CE, EBRD, EFTA, IAEA, ICCt, ICRM, IFRCS, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UPU, WIPO, WTO

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

name: "Oben am jungen Rhein" (High Above the Young Rhine)
lyrics/music: Jakob Joseph JAUCH/Josef FROMMELT
note: adopted 1850, revised 1963; uses the tune of "God Save the Queen"


Industrial production growth rate


Economy - overview

Despite its small size and lack of natural resources, Liechtenstein has developed into a prosperous, highly industrialized, free-enterprise economy with a vital financial service sector and the third highest per capita income in the world, after Qatar and

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

Since 2008, Liechtenstein has faced renewed international pressure - particularly from Germany and the US - to improve transparency in its banking and tax systems. In December 2008, Liechtenstein signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the US. Up

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$3.2 billion (2009 est.)
$3.216 billion (2008 est.)
$3.159 billion (2007 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$5.113 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

1.8% (2012 est.)
-0.5% (2009 est.)
3.1% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$89,400 (2009 est.)
$90,600 (2008 est.)
$89,700 (2007 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 8%
industry: 37%
services: 55% (2009)

Agriculture - products

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


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

Labor force

35,830 (2012)
note: 51% of the labor force in Liechtenstein commute daily from Austria, Switzerland, and Germany (2012 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 0.8%
industry: 39.4%
services: 59.9% (2012)

Unemployment rate

3.4% (2014)
2.3% (2012)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $995.3 million
expenditures: $890.4 million (2012 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

19.5% of GDP (2012 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

2.1% of GDP (2012 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

-0.2% (2013)
-0.7% (2012)

Market value of publicly traded shares



$3.801 billion (2012 est.)
$3.757 billion (2011 est.)
note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland

Exports - commodities

small specialty machinery, connectors for audio and video, parts for motor vehicles, dental products, hardware, prepared foodstuffs, electronic equipment, optical products


$2.09 billion (2012 est.)
$2.218 billion (2011 est.)
note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland

Imports - commodities

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

Debt - external

$0 (2001)
note: public external debt only; private external debt unavailable

Exchange rates

Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -
0.9992 (2016 est.)
0.9377 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Electricity - production

145.3 million kWh (2012)

Electricity - consumption

1.36 billion kWh (2012)

Electricity - imports

1.214 billion kWh (2012)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 17,184
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 46 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 41,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 108 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: automatic telephone system
domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular services widely available; combined telephone service subscribership exceeds 150 per 100 persons
international: country code - 423; linked to Swiss networks by cable and microwave radio relay (2015)

Broadcast media

relies on foreign terrestrial and satellite broadcasters for most broadcast media services; first Liechtenstein-based TV station established August 2008; Radio Liechtenstein operates multiple radio stations; a Swiss-based broadcaster operates several radi (2008)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 36,000
percent of population: 96.6% (July 2015 est.)


Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

HB (2016)


gas 20 km (2013)


total: 9 km
standard gauge: 9 km 1.435-m gauge (electrified)
note: belongs to the Austrian Railway System connecting Austria and Switzerland (2008)


total: 380 km
paved: 380 km (2012)


28 km (2010)


Military branches

no regular military forces; National Police maintain close relations with neighboring forces (2013)

Military - note

Liechtenstein has no military forces, but the modern National Police maintain close relations with neighboring forces (2013)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Illicit drugs

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