11 astounding facts about Liechtenstein, the tiny European country that's 8 times smaller than Los Angeles and has the 2nd-highest per capita GDP in the world

liechtenstein

Getty Images/HoLam Cheung

Liechtenstein is a tiny yet prosperous country.

Advertisement

Liechtenstein keeps a lower profile than its neighbors, Switzerland and Austria.

The tiny country is the second-least-visited in Europe, and it's home to only about 38,000 people. At about 62 square miles, it's nearly eight times smaller than the city of Los Angeles. It has no airport and no coastline, and its largest city has only 6,000 residents.
Advertisement
But despite its size, Liechtenstein has a per capita GDP of $165,028 - the second highest in the world, surpassed only by Monaco. And it has virtually no national debt.

Read on for 11 astounding facts about Liechtenstein, its people, and its economy.

{{}}

1. Liechtenstein, a tiny European country nestled between Switzerland and Austria, is nearly eight times smaller than the city of Los Angeles.

1. Liechtenstein, a tiny European country nestled between Switzerland and Austria, is nearly eight times smaller than the city of Los Angeles.

With an area of about 62 square miles, it's the fourth-smallest country in Europe, after Vatican City, Monaco, and San Marino.

The official language of Liechtenstein is German.

2. Its largest city is home to only 6,000 people.

2. Its largest city is home to only 6,000 people.

Schaan is Liechtenstein's largest city, but the capital, Vaduz, which is only about 11 miles from Schaan, has even fewer residents: about 5,400.

Advertisement

3. Liechtenstein is the only country in the world with 100% of its territory in the Alpine region.

3. Liechtenstein is the only country in the world with 100% of its territory in the Alpine region.

Europe's seven Alpine countries — Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, and Switzerland — are the nations that encompass the Alps, the highest mountain range that lies entirely in Europe.

Liechtenstein's lowest elevation is more than 1,400 above sea level.

4. It's the second-least-visited nation in Europe.

4. It's the second-least-visited nation in Europe.

Liechtenstein got just 85,000 visitors in 2018, according to the World Tourism Organization.

Until recently, when it was "overtaken" by San Marino, it was the least-visited country in Europe, Insider's Ben Mack reported.

Advertisement

5. Liechtenstein's per capita GDP is $165,028 — the second-highest in the world.

5. Liechtenstein's per capita GDP is $165,028 — the second-highest in the world.

Its GDP is surpassed only by Monaco's, the lavishly wealthy city-state on the French Riviera, where the per capita GDP is $166,726 and an estimated one-third of the population are millionaires.

Liechtenstein has a prosperous financial services sector, with other major industries including electronics, metal manufacturing, dental products, optical instruments, and pharmaceuticals.

6. Liechtenstein has virtually zero national debt.

6. Liechtenstein has virtually zero national debt.

The country has a debt to GDP ratio of 0.5%, and national and municipal budgets run an overall surplus, according to Liechtenstein's Foundation for Public Policy and Constitutional Law.

Advertisement

7. The country's only billionaire is worth 50% of the entire nation's GDP — and he built his fortune on dental products.

7. The country's only billionaire is worth 50% of the entire nation's GDP — and he built his fortune on dental products.

Christoph Zeller, who spent 13 years as the CEO of dental products company Ivoclar Vivadent AG, is worth $3.1 billion — half of the tiny European country's $6.2 billion GDP.

8. Liechtenstein hasn't had an army since 1868.

8. Liechtenstein hasn't had an army since 1868.

But it's sometimes accidentally invaded by the Swiss army, which conducts training exercises in the woods near the border with Liechtenstein.

Advertisement

9. More than half of Liechtenstein's workforce commutes into the country every day from neighboring countries.

9. More than half of Liechtenstein's workforce commutes into the country every day from neighboring countries.

In 2016, 54% of Liechtenstein's workforce commuted from countries like Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, according to Liechtenstein's Foundation for Public Policy and Constitutional Law.

10. Only 406 people were unemployed in Liechtenstein in 2016 — and that includes those who were on maternity leave.

10. Only 406 people were unemployed in Liechtenstein in 2016 — and that includes those who were on maternity leave.

The nation's unemployment rate is 2.1%, according to Liechtenstein's Office of Statistics.

Advertisement

11. Liechtenstein has no airport.

11. Liechtenstein has no airport.

The closest airport is in Zurich, about an hour-and-a-half's drive from Liechtenstein's capital.