Liechtenstein, a European ministate
Liechtenstein – with an area of 160 km² and about 40,000 inhabitants – is located between Austria and Switzerland. The country is a European mini-state, just like the Vatican City, Monaco or Andorra.
Monaco is known for its jet-set, Andorra as a ski paradise and the Vatican owes its reputation to overpopulation of men. But Liechtenstein is best known for, yes, for what exactly?
In fact, Liechtenstein is the Paris Hilton among the microstates. Like the socialite everyone has heard of Liechtenstein, nobody knows precisely why.
10 awe-inspiring facts about Liechtenstein
- The capital of the country is Vaduz, in 2019 the city had 5668 (!) inhabitants. However, Vaduz is not nearly as big as Schaan. This city has as many as six thousand souls.
- The country is 26 kilometres long.
- Ice cream in the main street of Vaduz costs €7.50 for two scoops. Well to be precise it is this amount in Swiss francs, because that is the currency used here.
- Hans Adam II is the Prince of Liechtenstein. And if Liechtenstein is Paris Hilton, then Hans Adam II is her father. Even though with a personal wealth of four billion-dollar, he is the wealthiest monarch in Europe. But he is almost invisible in the media. To put this in perspective, by comparison ‘The Queen’, Elizabeth, has only a whopping 350 million pounds of personal assets (source).
- Hans II is not only immensely rich, but he also has autocratic tendencies. At the beginning of this century, his powers were considerably expanded. Since 2003 he has been allowed to interfere with: the appointment of judges; block laws passed by parliament and send the government home without giving any reason. No questions asked. This while in the rest of Europe, the monarchs are increasingly less influential in governmental decision-making.
royal castle Vaduz
- Liechtenstein is the first country in the world to practically abolish the death penalty in 1798. Yes, quite liberal, however:
- Liechtenstein was the last country in Europe – and in fact, the last developed country in the world – to grant women the right to vote which happened only in the year 1984.
- The state is part of Schengen, but not the European Union.
- Liechtenstein’s national holiday is on August 15th when the entire population is invited by the monarch to Vaduz Castle. The crowd is entertained with speeches, fireworks and garden reception.
- It has won more Olympic medals per capita than any other country. Ten in total. That means one for every 3,800 residents of the country. The awards are all for downhill skiing. And yes, it is possible to go skiing here.
Besides the ski slopes, there are also a couple of interesting sights in Vaduz. It is impossible to miss them because they are all located in (near) the main street.
- The monarch lives in the imposing Castle Vaduz, a castle on top of a mountain. The oldest part of the court was built in the 12th century. It is not open to tourists.
- Briefmarkenmuseum Vaduz is a small stamp museum.
- Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein is a museum of contemporary art.
- Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum is the state museum where you can see the development of Liechtenstein from the Stone Age to the present day.
- Vaduz Cathedral (1874).
tourist office Vaduz
Tourist Information Liechtenstein
- Like almost everything else, the Tourist Board is located in the main street. There is also the possibility to rent bikes and buy souvenirs here.
- The 4-star Park-Hotel Sonnenhof in Vaduz has a sweeping view of the Alps, the Rhine Valley, the Vaduz Castle and the nearby vineyards. To view prices or to make a reservation, click here.
- The ski area at Malbun is small (23 km of slopes). It is especially suitable for novice winter sports enthusiasts.
- If you want to go skiing, the Sporthotel Turna Malbun is an excellent option. Located next to the Sareism ski lift, the family-run hotel has a spa with pool and Finnish sauna. Check prices and availability of rooms.
museum modern art
Stefania in local attire