Hans Adam II
(pronounced "HAHNS AH-dam")
"A reigning prince should look at long-range projects and concentrate on guidelines, but leave the day-to-day management to the government."
Located along the Rhine River in the Alps mountain range, the Principality of Liechtenstein (Fürstentum Liechtenstein) is bordered in the east and north by Austria and to the south and west by Switzerland. Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world with an area of only 160 sq km (61.8 sq mi). The capital is Vaduz. Liechtenstein's population was estimated at 32,528 in 2001, about a third of whom were actually citizens of other countries. The native population is descended almost entirely from an ancient Germanic tribe, the Alemanni, and comprises 86% of the total. Other major nationalities represented in Liechtenstein are Italian and Turkish. The country's official language is German, though most people speak the local Alemannic dialect. Christianity is the major religion with 76.2% Roman Catholic and 7% Protestant.
The per capita gross domestic product (GDP), which in 1998 was US $23,000, and living standards in Liechtenstein are among the highest in the world, largely because of the country's prosperous banking and manufacturing industries. Liechtenstein's major exports are machinery and transport equipment, hardware, chemical products, textiles, and ceramics. Other important sources of income are tourism, philately, and corporate taxes. Tourist arrivals in some years are nearly three times the resident population. Sales of Liechtenstein postage stamps to collectors worldwide make up nearly 10% of annual government revenues. Almost a third of total revenue is derived from more than 50,000 foreign companies registered in Liechtenstein, mainly for tax purposes, and from premiums on foreign insures. Through a treaty with Switzerland, the Swiss franc serves as the nation's currency.