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Foreign relations of Liechtenstein

Honorary Consulate of Mexico in Liechtenstein
Consulate of Malta in Schaan

Liechtenstein's foreign economic policy has been dominated by its customs union with Switzerland (and with Austria-Hungary until World War I). This union also led to its independent membership in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1991. Unlike Switzerland however (where citizens rejected membership in a referendum), Liechtenstein is part of the European Economic Area.

Liechtenstein was admitted to the United Nations in 1990. It is also a member of most specialized organizations of the UN system, an exception being UNESCO.

Liechtenstein has resorted two times to international dispute settlement by the International Court of Justice, in the Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) case against Guatemala in the 1950s and in a case concerning art property of the Liechtenstein family against Germany in 2005. It lost in both cases.

Liechtenstein maintains resident embassies in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Holy See, Switzerland and the United States, along with a number of missions to international organisations. Under a 1919 agreement between Liechtenstein and Switzerland, ambassadors of Switzerland are authorised to represent Liechtenstein in countries and in diplomatic situations unless Liechtenstein opts to send its own ambassador.[1]

Apart from Vatican City, Liechtenstein is the only country in the world not to host any embassy. There are, however, a number of honorary consulates in the principality. Most of these are situated in the capital Vaduz, however, some are found in Schaan, Schellenberg and Triesen.

Relations with individual countriesEdit

International dispute with Czechia and SlovakiaEdit

The country has an international dispute with Czechia and Slovakia concerning the estates of its princely family in those countries. After World War II, Czechoslovakia, the predecessor of Czechia and Slovakia, acting to seize what they considered to be German possessions, expropriated the entirety of the Liechtenstein dynasty's hereditary lands and possessions in Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia which compose Czechia. The expropriations (which were the subject of an unsuccessful court case brought by Liechtenstein in the German courts and the International Court of Justice) included over 1,600 km²[citation needed] (which is ten times the size of Liechtenstein) of agricultural and forest land mostly in Moravia, also including several family castles and palaces. An offer from the Czech Republic to return the palaces and castles (without the surrounding land) was rejected by Liechtenstein.[2]

Liechtenstein recognised and established diplomatic relations with the Czech Republic on 13 July 2009[3][4][5] and with Slovakia on 9 December 2009.[6] Liechtenstein's ruling prince, Hans-Adam II, has announced that the principality will take no further legal action to recover the appropriated assets.[2]

Liechtenstein and South KoreaEdit

The establishment of diplomatic relations between the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Republic of Korea started in 1993.

Liechtenstein and ArmeniaEdit

Liechtenstein and Armenia established diplomatic relations on May 7, 2008.

Membership in international organizationsEdit


Liechtenstein was never a member of the League of Nations. Its application to join that international organisation was refused in 1920 due to its small size.[7]

Honorary consulsEdit

On 1 July 2007, Hans-Adam II and Liechtenstein's Prime Minister, Otmar Hasler, appointed Bruce S. Allen and Leodis C. Matthews, both in the United States of America, as the first two Honorary Consuls in the history for the Principality of Liechtenstein. The U.S. does not maintain an embassy in Liechtenstein, and it is Switzerland's role to conduct and continue good relations between Switzerland, the U.S and the principality.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jorri Duursma, "Microstates: The Principality of Liechtenstein" in Christin Ingebritsen et al. (2006). Small States in International Relations. (University of Washington Press, Seattle) p. 89 at p. 124.
  2. ^ a b Adams, Georgina (23 June 2010). "Czech-Liechtenstein cultural détente". The Art Newspaper.
  3. ^ "Liechtenstein and the Czech Republic establish diplomatic relations" (PDF). Government Spokesperson’s Office, the Principality of Liechtenstein. 2009-07-13. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
  4. ^ "Navázání diplomatických styků České republiky s Knížectvím Lichtenštejnsko" (in Czech). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
  5. ^ "MINA Breaking News - Decades later, Liechtenstein and Czechs establish diplomatic ties". Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  6. ^ "Liechtenstein and the Slovak Republic establish diplomatic relations" (PDF). Government Spokesperson’s Office, the Principality of Liechtenstein. 2009-12-09. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2009-12-22.
  7. ^ Participation of the Former Yugoslav States in the UN and multilateral Treaties Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Principality of Liechtenstein – Fürstentum Liechtenstein". Archived from the original on 29 June 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2016.