Guys, it’s here. Some of you have been waiting for this episode for years. Sure, everybody knows about China, Brazil, Germany and Australia but how many of you know anything about little Liechtenstein! ♫ It’s time to learn Geography Now! ♫ Everybody I’m Host Barb’s. Okay, I actually had the incredible honour to not only go to this country with my mum last year And we also got passport stamps, which by the way Swiss geogra-peeps Hermann and Fabianne thank you for driving and hosting us, but I also had the incredible honour of meeting one of the incredibly rare and few native-born Liechtensteiner Geogra-peeps, Pascal. Dude, a real Liechtensteiner watches Geography Now. That’s amazing! Meeting an actual native of Liechtenstein is like finding a unicorn, in a haystack, in the Saharan desert. And the desert is made of haystacks, Sorry I’m just kind of gushing because come on we’re doing little Lichtenstein today. Let’s begin Now if you don’t know anything about Liechtenstein, the first thing you might need to know is that it is incredibly small. Like this sixth smallest country in the world. And it’s also rather difficult to get into in contrast to other European countries. First of all, Classified as a Microstate, the nation of Liechtenstein is located between Austria and Switzerland taking up only a hundred and sixty-two square kilometres, being only 25 kilometers long and and 9.4 Kilometers wide. It is also one of the only two doubly landlocked nations in the world meaning that it’s landlocked within other landlocked nations, the other one being Uzbekistan. The country is divided into 11 different municipalities with their own exclaves with the capital of Vaduz that has only about 5,200 people located in the center of the country. Vaduz is actually the second largest town in the country, the first being Schaan with about 500 more people. The country has no airports or seaports, but they do have a heliport at Balzers but that’s just like for tourist rides into the mountains. And they do have four train stations operated by an Austrian Federal Railway system and the stations are only serviced on weekday peak hours. So getting in, you’re much better off either taking a bus or car. To drive in, you can take various bridge crossings from Switzerland or you can come in from Feldkirch, Austria. There isn’t any border patrol or passport checks. It’s really easy. However if you do want a passport stamp, you can get one at the Tourism/ Post Office in Vaduz for about 3 Euros. Worth it! The main number 28 road pretty much crosses the entire country north to south as almost the entire country lives on the west side due to the high mountainous border to the east. The funny thing is: After World War 2, Liechtenstein actually had a little land dispute with what is now Czechia over the castles and forests and agricultural land plots that were hereditary lands that belonged to the former monarchs. These lands altogether made up a land area over ten times the size of the Liechtenstein. However when they brought it up, Czechia was like: “Hmm, so you want your old lands back, eh? Well, how about I give you the castles, but not the surrounding land areas.” to which Liechtenstein was like: Finally in 2009, they decided to drop the case and just let it go. But I mean whatever, they have like 7 other palaces in Austria and one in Italy. Otherwise some places of interest might include: The prince’s Castle in Vaduz Malbun, which has a ski resort The Main Square, the National Museum The Postage stamp Museum, The Schatzkammer treasure chamber The Kunstmuseum, The Landtag or “Parliament building” and Balzer’s gothic castle. All right. Now let’s take a look at those pristine Alps, shall we? For such a small country, Liechtenstein actually has a lot going on in terms of landscape. For one, the country is located on the Upper Rhine Valley in the European Alps along the longest river, the Rhine that borders with Switzerland. The entire eastern side of Liechtenstein is mountainous with the highest peak, Grauspitz located on the southern border with Switzerland as well. Just up north, the largest and pretty much only real lake in the country, Gampriner Seele can be found although it should be classified as a pond, but eh. When it comes to resources, Liechtenstein isn’t exactly top dog. I mean there’s a few cultivated fields in the south but overall, not too many things to extract. Nonetheless, they do actually have some industries like textiles, pharmaceuticals, power tools like the company “Hilti”. Other companies are in the country like “Neutrik”, “ThyssenKrupp”, “Hoval”, “Hilcona” and also Liechtenstein is the world’s largest provider of false teeth. Thanks to the company, “ivoclar vivadent” accounting for 20% of sales worldwide producing 60 million sets a year. It has something to do with the close relationship with Bollywood? Eh whatever, just look it up. It’s funny though. Because there’s actually more registered companies and jobs in Liechtenstein than there are people. Which is why over half the workforce has to travel into Liechtenstein from Switzerland or Austria. This means the country has the most exports per capita at around 122,000 dollars per person. It wasn’t always like this though. Before the 17th century, Liechtenstein was known for being “the Witch country” with boring farmers. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that Liechtenstein decided to change up fiscal policies and become a huge tax haven especially for billionaires, but it’s not like one of those blacklisted havens. It’s a good one, Okay? They do things right. St. Kitts & Nevis: “Hey, we’re just hustling, okay? Don’t act like you don’t too!” Out of all the seven-ish trillion shelter dollars worth in tax havens worldwide, Liechtenstein manages about 180 billion. In addition, They host nearly seventy four thousand ‘letterbox companies’ which don’t even really do anything but they still get paid for. So that means the system kind of keeps Liechtensteiners abundantly employed with about five million dollars and two companies to look after per citizen. Yeah, kids. If you really want to get rich, don’t seek after fame study Business and Finance with minors and accounting. Trust me. I’m a Youtuber. I know exactly what NOT to do. Oh, yeah. The national animal is the Kestrel. they even have a falconry center in Malbun. And some of the top notable dishes of Liechtenstein might include: “Käsknöpfle” which is like a variation of “Kaesespaetzle”, “Riobol”, “Sura käs”, Liechtenstein wine and those crown shaped chocolate things called… Oh geez, how do you pronounce this? “Fürstenhütchen” All right. Now, let’s move on to the ones that make those dishes. The people of this country. Once upon a time, there was this thing called the Holy Roman Empire. It was basically made up of like 1800 territories that eventually meshed and melded into what is now parts of like twelve different countries in Europe. Liechtenstein is basically the last surviving territory of the Holy Roman Empire that never really coalesced into any other state. Partially because nobody really cared about it and it was too small to bother with. BUT WHO’S LAUGHING NOW?! First of all, the country is nearly 38,000 people and is almost always ranked in the top three highest GDP per capita states in the world at nearly 180k per capita. The country is only about 1/3 Native Liechtensteiner whereas the remaining populous is made up of foreigners mostly Germans Austrians, Swiss and Italians They use the Swiss Franc as their currency, they use the type J plug outlet and they drive on the right side of the road. Which by the way, I hate the J plug outlet because half the time, the sockets are sunk into these weird hexagon shaped divots. Half the time, I couldn’t even fit my type C adapter plug when I was in Switzerland. Why? why do you guys do that? That’s like borderline statistic in Switzerland in Liechtenstein; that and your prices, for everything. Otherwise, I’d love everything else about you guys. 😀 Now here’s the thing: Liechtenstein is one of four countries in Europe that speaks German, however, they speak with their own distinct dialect very similar to the Swiss and Austrians. Obviously, it’s a little different from Hochdeutsch which is spoken up North in Germany. From what I was told, Liechtenshiners are known for saying “Hoi” for hello and “Tschau” for bye. Instead of “Kuh” for cow, they say “Buschla”. Instead of “Hügel” for Hill, they say “Böhel”. This is what you guys told me so yeah. Also I was told that this is how you can tell all the Germanic speaking countries apart. Let’s say that you gained weight. This is how a friend from each country would respond: Hmm, so how are you doing? Ahh! I see you’re enjoying your schnitzel eh? You got fat! Now like the Swiss, Liechtenstein has always kind of kept to themselves and stayed out of affairs. There’s a legend that says that when they fought in the Austro-Prussian war, they came back with negative casualties, as in, the army of 80 men came back with a friend. After that the military was disbanded and today, all military affairs are handled by the Swiss army even though they accidentally fired a shell and burned off a patch of their forest in the 80s and accidentally invaded in 2007 and Bah *I’m a sheep* You know, they laughed over it with glasses of wine. Now Liechtenstein is generally seen as being more conservative than other countries and more religious, mostly adhering to Catholicism with very strict stances on social issues like gay marriage abortion and immigration. In fact, less than 60 resident permits are issued every year for EEA citizens that work in Liechtenstein, half by lottery and half by government. Oh yeah, and the country is a monarchy, a principality to be exact. Essentially the Von Liechtenstein Family where the country gets its name from, are descended from Austrian noblemen related to the Hapsburgs. And even though they get little publicity, They are literally the richest Royals in Europe with a net worth of over 7.5 Billion dollars. The current Prince Hans-Adam II being the owner of LGT bank alone having a personal fortune of about four billion dollars. Yeah. By contrast, Queen Elizabeth has only about 500 million. The prince has four children and 15 Grandchildren. Alois being the next in line to the throne. Oh and his brother Maximilian married Angela Gisela Brown from Panama who was the first person of known African ancestry to have married into a reigning European dynasty. The royal family is actually quite popular and loved by the people. They’re very down-to-earth and they eat at cafes downtown in Vaduz regularly talking to the everyday citizens. Once a year, they even hold a party which everyone is allowed to come to the castle and share a beer. There is a bit of controversy though because today, they are the only monarchy in Europe in which the monarch has influence on every level of government. The prince can veto anything. In 2012, they held a vote which kind of went like this: The people: “We want to take away your powers of Exercising the option to veto bills.” The Royal Family: “Hmm, I mean if you really don’t want me around, I can totally just leave and let you guys handle everything.” The people: “Really??” The Royal Family: “Yeah, I’ll just take my 7.6 billion dollars corporate interest and revenue deals outside of the state, but you know, you can sell postcards to… tourists.” The people: “Wait, COME BACK!!” Annnnd, over three quarters of the population voted to let him remain with his original duties. Speaking of monarchy, History. We don’t have a lot of time to go too far into it, but the quickest way I can summarize it: Two small Holy roman empire earldoms of Vaduz and Schellenberg, 1699 this guy comes along, 1712, He purchases both Vaduz and Schellenberg hence joining the two together making the country complete, The Napoleon years but the prince is like a respected military leader so they remain independent, 19th century joins German Confederation although Austria gets left out which geographically separates Liechtenstein from Germany, World War I, breaks ties with Austria-Hungary, 1938 Prince moves back in from Vienna, World War II after Austria’s annexed, they are literally on the Nazi border But Hitler was like: “Meh, not worth it” and left them alone, They stay neutral and independent Post-World War II, economic boom, all the bank’s fiduciaries and engineers come in Czechia dispute, 1984, women are allowed to vote, the last European country to do so, 1995 they joined the EEA and here we are today. Oh and Liechtenstein has like one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Prisons are often empty and anyone with a sentence over 2 years is actually sent to Austria. It’s been said that people typically don’t even lock their front doors. For such a small population, everyone kind of knows everyone and has a close tie. Nonetheless, they still reach out and make friends abroad. Which brings us to… Now it doesn’t really matter how small your country is. If you’re able to handle your country’s overall economic output with a content populace, holding on to sovereignty is a breeze, and so is making friends. Today, They have six embassy missions abroad in Austria, Belgium, Germany Switzerland and the Vatican and the United States. However Switzerland is authorized to represent Liechtenstein in other diplomatic situations unless they decide to send their own delegates. Liechtenstein is interesting because they don’t host any embassies in their territory, but rather 32 honorary councils, surprisingly three of which are the African states of Chad, Senegal and the Central African Republic whom have reached out and made close ties for decades. They are not part of the European Union but rather part of the Schengen area, which means they have open borders and visa policies with the EU. And also as a member of the EEA, they have free movement of goods and persons and services as well, but yeah, not part of the EU. Austria and Germany have always been close friends especially the Southern Bavarian and Baden Württemberg states of Germany. These two make up some of the largest business partners and foreign population living in Liechtenstein, which is barely even much of a distinction since they are all germanic brothers to begin with. In earlier years, most of the monarchs actually chose to live in Austria rather than their own country until 1938 when Franz Joseph was like: “We’re moving back in folks!” When it comes to their best friends however, most Liechtensteiners might say the Swiss. They share everything. A customs union, a monetary union, military coverage, diplomatic delegates. They even speak relatively the same dialect and have similar mannerisms and culture cues. It’s often said that Switzerland sees Liechtenstein as its little yet surprisingly richer brother. I mean, they literally were totally cool with it when they got accidentally attacked. What more do you need to know? In conclusion, Liechtenstein is kind of like a high capacity storage microchip. Small yet absolutely flooding with abundance neatly tucked away in a small space hidden away from the public eye. Stay tuned, the second creepy Baltic twin, Lithuania, is coming up next.