EuNIC-Europe: European Information Center for Culture

Culture in Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is a nation located in Central Europe, the only country that lies entirely within the Alps and is landlocked by Switzerland and Austria. The nation is a principality – a constitutional monarchy headed by a prince – and has a population of only 36,000 people. The capital is Vaduz, and unusually among European nations, not the largest city; that honour goes to Schann. Despite being a tiny nation, Liechtenstein can trace its existence back to 814 and the Holy Roman Empire – its borders have not changed since 1434, and its mountainous terrain and much larger neighbours have had the greatest influence on culture in Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein is a Christian country with more than 78% of the population identifying as Roman Catholic. While German is the official language, most natives speak Alemannic, a German dialect that is similar to those spoken in regions close to Liechtenstein. As a tax haven and part of the European Economic Area but not in the European Union, Liechtenstein attracts large numbers of foreign workers.

Pride in the Principality of Liechtenstein

Being surrounded by much larger countries, Liechtenstein’s culture has been hugely influenced by those external influences, in particular Austria, Switzerland and Bavaria. The greatest source of national pride and identity is the monarchy that has survived from the days of the Holy Roman Empire when it was established as a principality. There is great support and loyalty for the Royal Family and for its rule, which the people of Liechtenstein consider makes their tiny nation a distinctive individual that stands out within Europe.

To maintain that unique Liechtenstein culture and national identity, the country severely restricts citizenship and discourages immigration.

External influences

The dominant cultures within Liechtenstein are those of Switzerland and Austria, and while the country is a highly industrialised one, the enduring image is of peaceful pastoral Alpine scenes. Liechtenstein does have a distinct heritage in which music and theatre have played a major role, notably through organisations such as the Liechtenstein Musical Company and the International Josef Gabriel Rheinberger Society.

The Liechtenstein National Museum has permanent exhibitions on the natural history and culture of Liechtenstein, with artefacts dating back more than 1000 years.

Further Information about Liechtenstein: