Vaduz and Liechtenstein
The average tourist blows through Liechtenstein seeking only a glance at its castle and a stamp in his passport. But stay a while; there’s really much more to see than that. Concentrated in this compact country are a number of worthwhile attractions – a cheerful town center, a prince’s art collection, a royal wine cellar, and an all-season wilderness playground.
Liechtenstein Orientation, Economy and People
Measuring only 25 km long and six km wide, Liechtenstein squeezes its 160 square miles between Switzerland to the west and Austria to the east. Half of the principality’s territory is mountainous; the other half, pasturelands reclaimed with dikes from the once-unruly Rhine. The principality is divided into two sectors, the Unterland to the south and the Oberland to the north, and a total of 11 communities. The largest communities – Vaduz, Triesen, Schaan, and Balzers – line the Rhine at the foot of the mountains toward the south end of the small country. Up the steep mountain road from Triesen are several smaller villages: Triesenberg, Steg, and Malbun.
Liechtenstein joined the United Nations in 1990 and the European Economic Area in 1995. Today it enjoys a prosperity founded largely on tourism, wine production, and manufacturing.
The banking business has boomed in the past several years, doubling total deposits between 1995 and 2001 and increasing the number of banks here from three to 17. Liechtenstein remains an attractive haven for tax-avoiding businesses (both real and paper), and boasts an unemployment rate of just 1.2%. The country’s population is 80% Catholic, 7% Protestant, and 13% of other religious orientations.
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