Volltext: Liechtenstein

The © rincipality 
During the last few years the hand- 
kerchief-sized Principality of Liech- 
tenstein has become a popular corner 
of Europe for the tourist who is 
seeking something “different”. This 
independent miniature country is 
just under 61 square miles in area 
and is situated in the heart of the 
Alps on the right bank of the River 
Nestling between Switzerland and 
Austria, Liechtenstein is the last 
German-speaking monarchy still in 
existence. There is no poverty, no 
unemployment, no exchange control 
and the Customs is handled by 
the Swiss. There has been no army 
since 1868 and the last soldier died 
at the age of 95 years, peacefully in 
his home, in 1939. The police-force 
has a full complement of 26 men 
and one dog and is concerned main- 
ly with traffic problems as crime is 
rare. Indeed, although the capital of 
Liechtenstein boasts a jail in the im- 
posing government building, it is 
seldom used. 
The scenery is superb... from the 
soft pastures of the valley to the 
towering alps which form the fron- 
tier with Austria there is a warmth 
and friendliness which all visitors 
feel. Although the main thorough- 
fares of Vaduz and Schaan (the lat- 
ter being the second largest town in 
the country) bustle with activity 
during the summer holiday season, 
the peace and tranquility of the 
rest of the land remains. Many of 
the little roads in the “Unterland”, 
around Schellenberg, are unknown 
to any except the local peasants 
who tread the same paths daily 
with their beloved cows. For cows 
in Liechtenstein are held in high re- 
gard as approximately 8% of the 
population of 20000 people are 
there are 6276 cattle! 
During the summer month the ma- 
jority of these are sent up to the 
high pastures mountains, to the 
Samina Valley near Steg and Mal- 
bun. Little huts ar dotted about the 
mountain-side stacked with hay for 
winter feeding and above the stable- 
farmers. . . 
doors are wooden plaques with the 
letters “I. H. S.” superimposed upon 
a cross. The “In Hoc Signo” signs 
are blessings from the church upon 
the herds. At this time of year Sun- 
day mass is held in the open air 
high in the mountains to enable the 
peasants who look after the cattle 
to attend services. As the winds 
blow cold and autumn comes the 
animals are brought down to the 
valley again in a colourful ceremo- 
ny called the “Alp Abfahrt” where 
the best milkers lead the procession 
down the mountains with their 
heads garlanded in flowers and 
crowned by an upturned milking 
stool. Paul Gallico wrote a enchant- 
ing story about it, called “Ludmila”. 
Founded in 1719, Liechtenstein then 
consisted of the lordsships (or esta- 
tes) of Vaduz and Schellenberg and 
was a part of the Holy Roman Em- 
pire. The country joined the Rhine 
Confederation in 1806 and it was 
included in the German Confedera- 
tion from 1815 to 1866. From 1866 
to the present day the little Princi- 
pality has remained independent. A 
customs union was formed with 
Austria by an agreement signed in 
1852, which also called for co-ope- 
ration in economic and political af- 
fairs. After ten years the Ruling 
Prince Johann II granted a consti- 
tution to his people; this gave them 
the right to elect their own repre- 
sentatives and ever since that time 
Liechtenstein has been a constitutio- 
nal monarchy. 
Liechtenstein was fortunate to be neu- 
tral during World War I, and after- 
wards when revolutions were sweep- 
ing over Europe the Austrian-Hun- 
garian Empire broke up. It was at 
this time that the Principality enter- 
ed into long draw out negotiations 
to form the same agreement with 
Switzerland as it had enjoyed pre- 
viously with Austria. By 1924 all 
formalities were complete and a cus- 
toms, monetary and postal union 
was evolved which still operates to- 
day to the benefit of both countries. 
No loss of life or war damage was 
suffered by the little Principality in 
World War II as again it remained 
neutral. In 1943 the present Ruling 
Prince Franz Joseph II married 
Countes Georgine Wilczek of Vien- 
na and in 1945 a son and heir, 
Prince Hans Adam, was born. The 
late Pope Pius XII was his god- 
father. Soon after the war they 
came to live in the beautiful thir- 
teenth-century Castle Vaduz, perched 
on jutting rock overlooking the ca- 
pital. (Gutenberg, the second castle 
in the land and situated near Bal- 
zers, is privately owned.) The ruling 
couple now have four sons and one 
daughter. They are loved and re- 
spected by their subjects. 
The Ruling Prince’s birthday on 
August 16th is marked by a gay 
and colourful ceremony, for on the 
previous evening the Royal Family 
assemble on the balcony of the High 
School in the centre of Vaduz. Spee- 
ches are made, Boy Scouts an Girl 
Guides from the whole Principality 
form a torchlight parade, songs are 
sung, the streets are packed with 
loyal citizens and when the Prince 
has spoken his thanks to his people 


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