Subscribing to State’s Background Notes is fun. Notes on countries are emailed as they are updated. Usually I just give a quick look over to learn at least one thing about the country, but something about Lichtenstein just jumped out – maybe it was the castle picture or the Austro-Swiss diplomatic support. Whatever it was, it appears here on the blog as a random diversion…
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Vaduz Castle, Liechtenstein, May 13, 2000. [© AP Images]
Principality of Liechtenstein
Area: 61.7 sq. miles. (160 sq km.); about the size of Washington, DC.
Terrain: 66% mountains, the remainder hills and plateau situated next to the Rhine.
Climate: Cold winters, hot summers; due to the south wind (Föhn), the climate can be described as temperate varying by season.
Nationality: Noun--Liechtensteiner(s), adjective--Liechtenstein.
Population (2007): 35,356, of which 66% are Liechtensteiners, 10.1 % are Swiss, 5.7% Austrians, 3.4% Germans, and 3.3% Italians.
Annual population growth rate: 0.5% (or 188 persons).
Religions (2000): Roman Catholic 78.4%, Protestant 8.3%, others 13.3%.
Languages: German (official), Alemannic dialect.
Type: Hereditary constitutional monarchy.
Independence: January 23, 1719 Imperial Principality of Liechtenstein established; July 12, 1806 established independence from the Holy Roman Empire.
Constitution: October 5, 1921.
Branches: Executive--Chief of state: Prince Hans Adam II (assumed executive powers on August 26, 1984, acceded to the throne on November 13, 1989); the Hereditary Prince Alois, son of the monarch, was born on June 11, 1968. Alois was appointed the permanent representative of the Prince on August 15, 2004. Head of government: Klaus Tschütscher (since March 25, 2009). Cabinet: Five cabinet members. The cabinet is elected by the parliament, and approved by the Prince. Legislative--unicameral parliament or Landtag (25 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote under proportional representation to serve four-year terms). Judicial--District Court (low), Superior Court (medium), Supreme Court (high).
Administrative subdivisions: The country is subdivided into 11 municipalities.
Political parties: Patriotic Union (VU), Progressive Citizens' Party (FBP), and the Free List (FL).
Currency: Swiss Franc.
National holiday: Assumption Day, August 15.