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Travel - May 30, 2021

Why Does Liechtenstein Even Exist?

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If I used to be to ask you what the wealthiest royal household in Europe was, your first guess would most likely be the British Royal Household. 

But it surely isn’t. 

It additionally isn’t the royal households in Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, and even the rich enclave of Monaco. 

The richest royal household can be the unlikeliest. 

Study extra about Liechtenstein, how their household bought so rich, and why the nation even exists, on this episode of All the things In every single place Day by day.


This episode is sponsored by Advertising the Messiah. 

My good friend Cameron Riley is the godfather of historical past podcasting. I’ve been listening to his podcasts ever since 2006 when he launched the landmark Napoleon Bonapart podcast.

Nevertheless, along with being a podcaster, he’s additionally an creator and a documentary filmmaker. 

In his latest movie, Advertising the Messiah, he speaks with students of early Christianity from around the globe who clarify how an itinerant preacher from Judea based a worldwide faith that has lasted over 2000 years.

Advertising the Messiah is now accessible to view on Amazon Prime, or you possibly can stream it at deepdivedocumentaries.com.

As soon as once more, watch Advertising the Messiah at Amazon Prime, or at deepdivedocumentaries.com.


I’m guessing that the majority of you’ve got heard of Lichtenstein, however I’d additionally guess that the majority of you haven’t been there.

It’s a tiny nation, one of many smallest on the earth, sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria.  It’s certainly one of solely two international locations on the earth that’s doubly landlocked. In different phrases, it’s surrounded by international locations which can be themselves landlocked. The opposite one is Uzbekistan.

I bear in mind mountain climbing up within the Swiss Alps within the Sardona area as soon as and my information pointed down within the valley and mentioned, “you possibly can see Liechtenstein from right here”. By that he didn’t imply we might see the Liechtenstein territory from the place we had been, he meant that we might actually see the complete nation from our vantage level. 

Liechtenstein is about 15 miles north to south and 5 miles throughout east to west. It solely has a inhabitants of about 39,000 individuals. 

As with most of the micro-states in Europe, it has its origins again earlier than the wave of nationwide unification which occurred within the 18th and nineteenth. Previous to then, Europe was a patchwork of kingdoms, dutchies, and principalities. 

Liechtenstein, the nation, takes its title from the Liechtenstein household. Their origins date again about 900 years to Jap Austria. The household bought their title from Liechtenstine Fortress which remains to be owned by the household and is situated close to Vienna. It was constructed within the twelfth century and destroyed twice in 1529 and 1683, nevertheless it was rebuilt by the household in 1884.

The land which is at present the nation of Liechtenstein was largely initially the county of Vaduz, which makes up the decrease ? of the fashionable state.  Vaduz at present is the capital Liechtenstein. 

Within the seventeenth century, there have been a collection of witch trials that came about in Vaduz often known as the Liechtenstein Witch Trials. There have been a collection of trials from 1648–1651 and one other collection that came about from 1679–1682. In every set of witch trials, about 100 individuals had been executed. 

In actuality, the then ruler of Vaduz was closely in debt and everybody executed had their property taken by the state.

In 1719, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI decree that the county of Vaduz and the Lordship of Schellenberg could be mixed into the Principality of Liechtenstein, named after Anton Florian of Liechtenstein. It was additionally formally built-in into the Holy Roman Empire.

At no level within the first 100 years of the Principality of Liechtenstein did the Prince of Liechtenstein ever truly go to. 

OK, so enjoyable historical past lesson, however as is the case with the opposite microstates that I’ve coated up to now, equivalent to San Marino and Andorra, the massive query is, how did this nation handle to outlive to the modern-day?

As with each Andorra and San Marino, the reply has to do with Napoleon. 

After Napoleon’s victory on the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, the Holy Roman Empire successfully ceased to exist. Previous to the battle, Liechtenstein was virtually merged into Bavaria. 

As a substitute, it turned an unbiased state in Napoleon’s Confederation of the Rhine. 

After the autumn of Napoleon, they joined the German Confederation till 1866 after which had been carefully allied with the Austrian Empire till World Struggle I.

Technically, they had been impartial in WWI however had been embargoed by the Allies resulting from their shut ties with Austria.

After WWI, they shifted their consideration to Switzerland, which then turned their main benefactor. 

Simply earlier than World Struggle II, the Prince of Liechtenstein, for the primary time within the over 200 years because the Principality was established, lastly took up residence in Liechtenstein. 

Through the Second World Struggle, Liechtenstein was formally impartial together with Switzerland, and through this time they took all the property they might from different household holdings in Europe and introduced them to Liechtenstein. 

After World Struggle II, many of the lands owned by the household in Poland and Czechloslavia had been seized by the communist governments there. Extra on that in a bit. 

Publish world warfare II, the nation discovered itself in extraordinarily unhealthy form financially. They resorted to promoting off the household’s artwork assortment to lift cash.

In 1967, they bought one of many few remaining work by Leonardo da Vinci, the “Ginevra de’ Benci”. It was bought to the Nationwide Gallery of Artwork within the United States for $5 million {dollars}, which was on the time the file worth for a portray. 

Liechtenstein was the final nation in Europe to permit girls the fitting to vote. In 1984 there was a referendum on the topic with solely males voting within the referendum. It handed with solely 51% of the vote. 

At the moment the nation is a monarchy with an elected parliament. Whereas the Prince is the top of state, he has extra energy than most monarchs in Europe. In 2003, the nation by a ? vote handed a brand new structure that granted extra powers to the Prince, together with the fitting to veto the parliament. 

These powers had been confirmed by a fair higher 76% in a referendum in 2012. 

At the moment Liechtenstein has one of many highest requirements of dwelling on the earth. The most important firm within the nation is Hilti, which is a producer of high-end instruments. In addition they are a tax haven and there are extra companies registered within the nation than there are residents. 

Each August 15 is the nation’s nationwide day, and so they have a celebration that’s distinctive on the earth. Your entire nation is invited to a celebration which is thrown by the prince at Vaduz Fortress. Drinks can be found and everybody can personally meet the prince. 

In 1990, Liechtenstein joined the United Nations and in 2007 they opened their first embassy, which was in america. They’ve embassies in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium as properly. In all different international locations, they’re represented by Switzerland.

Whereas Liechtenstein has been impartial for many of its historical past, they’ve been by chance invaded on a number of events by Switzerland. In 1968, 5 artillery shells by chance hit a ski resort which broken some chairs. In 1976, 75 Swiss troopers took a flawed flip and by chance went a half kilometer into Liechtenstein. They did the identical factor in 1992 and 2007. After the 2007 incursion, a Liechtenstein spokesperson mentioned, “It’s not like they invaded with assault helicopters. No downside, this stuff occur”.

Earlier than I discussed that the Liechtenstein household had their lands outdoors of the nation confiscated after World Struggle II. Properly, by far, the biggest of those holdings was in Czechloslavia. Actually, the land they held there was 10 occasions bigger than the complete nation of Liechtenstein is at present. 

In consequence, Liechtenstein had no relations with Czechloslavia through the Chilly Struggle. Even after Czechloslavia ceased to exist, they refused to acknowledge both the Czech Republic or Slovakia till 2009, and even at present they nonetheless don’t acknowledge the seizure of their land. 

At the moment, many of the land is a UNESCO World Heritage web site often known as the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Panorama. I had the pleasure of visiting this web site a number of years in the past, and in some ways, it’s truly extra fascinating than visiting Liechtenstein itself. 

Again within the introduction, I discussed that the Liechtenstein household is the richest royal household in Europe, and that is true. They’re the sixth richest royal household on the earth behind Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Aub Dhabi, and Morocco

Their wealth primarily comes from two sources. The primary is their in depth artwork assortment. Although they bought off many items after the warfare, they nonetheless have an in depth assortment that’s valued at near $2 billion {dollars}. 

The remaining comes from their holdings within the LGT Group. Previously often known as The Liechtenstein World Belief, the LGT group provides high-end personal banking and asset administration. 

Earlier than the 2003 structure referendum, Prince Hans-Adam the second threatened to promote the nation to Invoice Gates if the election didn’t go his means. Given the whole worth of the Liechteinstine household wealth at round $4 billion {dollars}, it raises the query if such of factor might even be performed. May the Prince of Liechtenstein switch his function and title, and principally promote a rustic, to somebody for a worth? It will virtually be trivial for a billionaire like Invoice Gates or Jeff Bezos to spend a couple of billion {dollars} to purchase a sovereign nation. 

Whereas the query of promoting the nation is unresolved, the query of renting it’s not. In 2011, the nation was accessible to lease for $70,000 per day and was listed on AirBnB….and it was not a joke.

It was meant for company occasions. For $70 grand your organization would get streets renamed for a day, in addition to lodging for 150 individuals in Vaduz Fortress, the keys to the nation, and a wine tasting with the Prince of Liechtenstein himself.

If anybody is up for it, I say we do a Kickstarter to lift the $70,000. If we will get 150 individuals, it will solely price $467 per individual. 

Positive, that’s lots for one night time, however then once more, when else are you ever going to have a complete nation to your self. 

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