Country Profile: Liechtenstein
Area160 sq km
Population35 332 (2008 est.)
CurrencyLiechtenstein franc, Swiss franc
The smallest German speaking country in the world, Liechtenstein is a landlocked microstate bordered by Austria and Switzerland. The country is a member of the EFTA, but not the EU, with no plans to join in the immediate future.
The official language of Liechtenstein is Germany, and is spoken by almost all of the country's population. Other dialects and languages spoken include Alemannic, Swiss German, Alsatian, and High Alemannic, which is interchangeable with German itself.
Sometimes called a tax haven, Liechtenstein, although very small, has a highly-developed free-market economy. The country has a reputation as a centre of finance and business. The country's workforce is divided between industry and the service sector. Major industries include electronics, metal manufacturing, dental products, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, tourism and optical instruments. Liechtenstein's main natural resources are hydroelectric capability and arable land, while its major trading partners are the UK, Germany, Austria, France, US, Italy and Switzerland.
Much of Liechtenstein's energy needs are supplied by imoprted fossil fuels from neighbouring countries, but despite this, the country produces hydropower which supplies a lot of its power, and this sustainable method is environmental and a practical long-term solution to the future problems of global warming and climate change.
Art and architecture
Liechtenstein's largest and most important museum is the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, which houses an important international art collection, as well as a large contemporary and modern art collection. The country also has a Stamp museum and a Ski museum. The country has many historical sites of interest, including Vaduz Castle, Gutenberg Castle and the Red House.
Football is a popular sport in Liechtenstein, but in particular the country is best suited to winter sports - due to the alpine terrain. The country's downhill skiers have won medals at the Olympics, and Liechtenstein has won the most Olympic medals in alpine skiing, per capita, out of all competing countries.
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