World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



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Liechtenstein Travelling Guide
Liechtenstein Travelling Guide

General background: The Principality of Liechtenstein was established within the Holy Roman Empire in 1719; it became a sovereign state in 1806. Until the end of World War I, it was closely tied to 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.

Area comparative: About 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC

Climate: Continental; cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow or rain; cool to moderately warm, cloudy, humid summers

Terrain: Mostly mountainous (Alps) with Rhine Valley in western third.

Population: 32,842 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Alemannic 87.5%, Italian, Turkish, and other 12.5%

Religions: Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 7.4%, unknown 7.7%, other 4.9% (1996)

Language: German (official), Alemannic dialect

Government type: Hereditary constitutional monarchy.

Capital: Vaduz

Legal system: Local civil and penal codes; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations.

Economic overview: 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 neighbours. Low business taxes - the maximum tax rate is 18% - and easy incorporation rules have induced 73,700 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.

Communication/Telephone system:
Automatic telephone system.

Places of interest: The Alps - skiing, fine wines and clean mountain air.

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