Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Principality of Liechtenstein

The Flag of Liechtenstein

The Coat-of-Arms of Liechtenstein


1. Liechtenstein is the world's largest exporter of false teeth.

2. Austrian prince Johann Adam von Liechtenstein purchased the counties of Schellenberg in 1699 and Vaduz in 1712 from poor German nobles thus creating the Pricipality of Liechtenstein in 1712.

3. Liechtenstein is the only country in the world named after the people who purchased it.

4. In its last military engagement in 1866, none of its 80 soldiers was killed. In fact, 81 returned as the troops were joined by a new Italian friend after the battle. The army was disbanded soon afterwards.

5. Low business taxes have lured over 75,000 firms to at least nominally have headquarters in Liechtenstein. That is about two companies per resident of Liechtenstein.

6. The women of Liechtenstein were not given the right to vote until 1984.

I have previously visited Europe's two of Europe's mini-countries, San Marino (61 sq. km.) and the Vatican City (0.44 sq. km.). Today, I boarded two trains and a bus to visit Vaduz, the capital city of the Principality of Liechtenstein, Europe's fourth smallest country 160 sq. km. in size. Monaco ranks #2 in the "Smallest European Countries" category at 2 sq. km.

By comparison, Switzerland, which most people would say is a small country, is comprised of 41,277 sq. km.

It also marked for me the 20th European country that I have been able to visit because of my four seasons of EuroBall coaching. The twenty countries I've been able to visit are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Vatican City.

Back in 2006, Laurie and I joined some friends for a three week tour/cruise of Europe, our first venture ever across the pond. On that trip we also visited Croatia, Greece and Turkey. Twenty-three European countries down, many more to go.

St. Florin Cathedral

This is Vaduz's Catholic Cathedral. Most of Liechtenstein's 35,000 inhabitants are Catholic and the 1921 Constitution made the Roman Catholic Church the National Religion. The Cathedral is guarded by . . .

Not one, but two . . .


Main Street Vaduz at Rush Hour

This is the view of Städtle, Vaduz's pedestrian street that houses all of Liechtenstein's important museum's and government buildings.

Even though it is Liechtenstein's capital city, Vaduz (population 5,000) has no international airport. If you are not driving a car, in order to enter the country you must go by bus from either the Swiss or Austrian border by local bus.

More proof of the imminent danger
of the Irish invasion of Europe

First it was all of the Irish pubs, now this!

Modern Art Form

Städtle Strasse has many pieces of art located on its six blocks like this one by the Government Building.

On a bank building

By the Post Office

Liechtenstein has long been known for thier ability to produce beautiful stamps. This had been a good source of revenue until e-mail started eroding the stamp collecting world.

Enjoying the Sunny Day

The weather called for 9ºC/48ºF and lots of rain in Liechtenstein.

When I got to Vaduz, it was sunny and warm. This required me to unzip the sleeves from my trusty David Lassen Signature Model Scottevest jacket, thus turning it into the much cooler vest that I needed to survive.

Strange Horse

An Offering

Butterfly Stroke?

Three more strange horses

The Vaduz Rathaus

This is Vaduz's City Hall on one end of the Städtle Strasse.

Liechtenstein's National Government Building

It is located on the opposite end of Städtle Strasse from the Rathaus.

Goethe slept EVERYWHERE!

Going Postal!

Free admission and Liechtenstein's long stamp history pulled me in.

Mail Sled

We are still in the Alps which means lots of snow. Liechtenstein is basically in a small bowl/valley ringed by the Alps.

The two-headed eagle of
the Habsburg Dynasty

I also visited the charming National Museum which had a great exhibit marking 2012 being the 3ooth anniversary of the founding of Liechtenstein in 1712.

No pictures allowed.

I wonder if Jacob's got a pair yet?

They come in a nice bag too!

The 130 room Schloss Vaduz

Perched high, very high, on a bluff overlooking literally the entire Principality, lies the Castle that still houses the Liechtenstein Royal Family.

I opted to hike up the the switchbacks to see the castle up close and to get what p[romised to be a great view of the country.

It took me about 20 sweaty minutes to reach the castle's gates. The Schloss is closed to the public since it is still the permanent Royal residence.

It is good to be the Prince!

The Royal family is headed up by 67 year old Sovereign Prince Hans-Adam II von Liechtenstein who became the 13th ruling Prince of Liechtenstein in 1989.

In 2003, the Prince won sweeping powers from the people. He could now dismiss the elected government, appoint judges and reject proposed laws.

Given these broad new powers, Prince Hans-Adam II is probably Europe's most powerful ruler, at least within the borders of his Principality.

In 2004, Prince Hans-Adam II handed over the day-to-day operation of the Principality as the representative of the ruling Prince to his then 36 year old son Prince Alois who is the hereditary heir to the throne.

The sturdy but not fancy outside

A Triple X-Rated Schloss?

This Schloss window could
have had this view . . .

of a local vineyard or . . .

or of Vaduz . . .

or of the rest of Liechtenstein

One of two interesting business signs

I'm not sure why this hotel used all of these gears for their logo.

Vaduz's Hotel Adler

Adler is German for eagle. Liechtenstein is one of four countries who count German as an official language. The other three are Germany, of course, Austria and Switzerland.

If I had to boil my Liechtenstein experience down to one word it would be . . .

Awesome Old Train in Zürich

I saw this stylish engine as I quickly changed trains in Zürich. It appeared to be a theme train as hostesses were dressed in 1930's garb.

I liked "bumper car" profile.

I need more info on this train as I meet Laurie in Zürch soon!

It could make for a fun evening.

Bumper trains?


David said...

Scouting your next country for a coaching assignment?

George said...

I'm thinking more along the lines of a coup d'etat.

David said...

Watch out ... I think Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican have mutual-aid treaties.

George said...

Makes sense but, unless Angora joins them, they are still ripe for the picking!