Where is Liechtenstein ?
Books about Liechtenstein
Map and Photos of Liechtenstein
Where is Liechtenstein ?
Where is Liechtenstein?
Has British Old Tory ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair been reading my hub ? He certainly knows where Liechtenstein is so I am tempted to think so. Having made millions by doing not very much since he was dumped by his Old Tory Colleagues in favour of charmer Gordon Brown Mr Blair has apparently decided Liechtenstein is a very good place to dump some of them. Although I thought Liechtenstein's status as a tax haven had been changed, clearly not enough obviously - see Web of Companies Hides Tony Blair's Millions
To most people Liechtenstein (NB spelling - it is not Lichtenstein) is a small country somewhere in Europe that is best known as a tax haven for the rich and not famous, and for its banks and to a certain extent for its hotels and tourism. But what is it and where is it exactly?
Liechtenstein is what is known in the trade as a principality, i.e. a country with a prince as head of state, Prince Hans-Adam II. It is a tiny country in the Alps, locked between Switzerland and Austria. With an area of just 160 km2, it is the fourth smallest independent state in Western Europe, after the Vatican City, Monaco and Saint Marin. Its capital is Vaduz, and the official language is German. Its national currency is the Swiss franc. The government of Liechtenstein is a constitutional monarchy. It has a policy of neutrality and is one of only a few countries in the world that has no army.
The name of the Liechtenstein dynasty comes from Liechtenstein Castle in Austria, which belonged to the family from the twelfth to the thirteenth century and that was finally handed back to the family in 1807. Although the Liechtenstein family owned vast properties in Moravia, lower Austria and Styria, it was not until 1719, after the acquisition of Shellenberg and Vaduz and their unification, that Liechtenstein became a principality, with Antoine-Florian de Liechtenstein as its sovereign. But still it belonged to the Holy German Empire until 1806, which was dissolved by Napoleon. From then on it became an independent state.
Liechtenstein remained neutral during World War II. After the war, due to financial difficulties, the dynasty had to sell some of its artistic treasures, including a painting from Leonardo da Vinci, ‘Ginevra de Benci’. But during the years that followed, the country recovered and became prosperous and modern. The instauration of an advantageous taxation system attracted a large number of businesses which was of great benefit to the country. The prince is one of the wealthiest heads of state in the world and the people of Liechtenstein enjoy of the highest living standards in the world.
Liechtenstein is a very mountainous country but it has many small farms characterize in both the north (Unterland) and the south (Oberland). The country is well-known for its strong financial sector and is recognized as being a tax haven. It is a member of EFTA – the European Free Trade Agreement but is not part of the European Unionand has no desire to become a part of it.
It is a parliamentary democracy, with Prince Hans-Adam II at its head. The prince succeeded his father to the throne when he died in 1989. The parliament, the Landtag, has 25 representatives elected by the people for a maximum term of four years. In 2003, after a referendum, a new constitution was voted to replace the old one which dated back to 1921.
Located in the Alps, along the valley of the Rhine River, Liechtenstein’s entire western border is with Switzerland, delimited by the river. The country measures 24 km North to South, the highest mountain in the country is the Grauspitz at 2599 metres. In winter, its snowy slopes make it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts.
Although its natural resources are limited, Liechtenstein has developed into a prosperous country founded on free trade and a high level of industrialisation. With taxation on businesses at 18%, it is very advantageous compared with its European neighbors whose average corporate taxes are around 30%. This has prompted a lot of multinational companies to establish themselves in the country. Very often in the form of a PO Box. The principality earns 30% of its income in this way .
The basic rate of personal income tax is 1.2%. to this are added additional income taxes by the various communes, making the total income tax rate 17.82%
Liechtenstein has recently shown that it is determined to prosecute money-laundering activities and has strived to promote the country as a legitimate financial center.