Liechtenstein - Valduz, Malbun, and Triesenberg

by Kimp 15. May 2013 23:38
Photo Blog
 
Liechtenstein is one of only 5 micro countries in Europe. It's about 12 miles (20km) long by 5 miles (8 km) wide with about 70% of it being in the Austrian Alps. All of the remaining micro countries have the same business model. Set up a tax structure that favors the excessively wealthy and lots of excessively wealthy people will move there. The wealthy put there money in the local finance, building it up and that feeds the local commerce and industry sectors. Most of Liechtenstein was built after WWII and is very modern and very beautiful. Beauty attracts tourism and you get people coming directly to you to give you their money. Attract a few very smart commerce negotiators who set up good trade agreements with your neighbors, then you can just sit around and count your money.
 
History:
A few hundred years ago, much of Europe consisted of very tiny societies called principalities. During the industrial revolution of the 1800's, as the Armies of principalities with strong industry gained a competitive advantage, many of the the principalities aligned and formed the countries that we have today, such as Italy, Austria and Germany.   
 
Liechtenstein is one of only 5 principalities that have stood the test of time. In ancient times, principalities declared allegiance to a King and the King was free to assign whomever he wanted as the prince. Often times it was either a blood relative or someone married to a blood relative. Other times, is was a lord or knight who had loyally and selfishly served the King.  In the 1600's, the King of the Austrian empire gave some land bordering the Rhine river to one of his loyal knights named Hugo, who was a member of the lords of Liechtenstein.
 
On the other side of the Rhine lies what is known today as Switzerland.
 
In the 1719 the Liechtenstein's purchased this land from the Holy Roman Emperor and it was declared the Sovereign State of Liechtenstein. This gave Liechtenstein a seat in the Holly Roman Empire.
 
In 1805 when Napoleon wiped out the Holly Roman Empire, Liechtenstein owed no allegiance to anyone and broke off on its own. Since it is on the same side of the Rhine as Austria, it became an ally of Austria. With Austria on its side, it disbanded its military. Liechtenstein remained neutral during WWI and WWII. After WWII Austria was so devastated and Switzerland was flourishing, so Liechtenstein decided to ally up with Switzerland instead. Now Liechtenstein's borders in Austria are guarded by the Switzerland border patrol and Liechtenstein uses Swiss Franks as its currency.
 
Today:
Vaduz is its capital with about 5,000 inhabitants. It's biggest city is a blue color city, named Schaan. Most of the rest are beautiful small summer resort hiking towns in the mountains, and one very nice winter resort town named Malbun. Malbun has excellent skiing and it's not very crowded because most people drive right on by Leichenstein, on their way to Switzerland.
 
One of the highlights for me was the Modern Art museum in Vaduz. in 1960, someone donated 10 pieces of art to start it. Now it is housed in a new museum. Since most of this country was created after WWII, all they have is modern art. Each year they give a year long grant to an artist, to work on an exhibition that will be displayed here. Vaduz itself, has a lot of nice modern looking sculptures and art outdoors as well.
 
I went to Liechtenstein to get my high altitude hiking back up to speed. I was struggling in the thin air, but that didn't seem to affect the 70+ year old guy, who flew by me at a trot. I am probably 100 pounds (45 kg) heavier than him, but still it was a little embarrassing.

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