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The most important sectors of the Liechtenstein economy are services and industry, both of which are mainly export-oriented. Almost all workers are also employed in the export industry. In terms of population, Liechtenstein is even the most industrialised country in the world.

Very many jobs are taken up by commuters from abroad. Many vacancies can only be filled by foreigners, despite the strict conditions that must be fulfilled in order to obtain a work permit.

From the 1980s, Liechtenstein developed into one of the wealthiest countries in the world with an average annual income that ranks first or second worldwide!

Since 1995, Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area, alongside the members of the European Union, Iceland and Norway. The EEA is, as it were, a free trade area with the aim of making the whole of Europe a free market with, among other things, the free movement of goods, services, capital and people. The decision to become a member of the EEA clashed somewhat with the customs union that had existed with Switzerland since 1923, but in good consultation with all parties involved, both economic agreements could continue to exist side by side.


Banking is an important sector for the Liechtenstein economy and has developed very well since the Second World War. The banking industry is characterised by a high level of confidentiality, which customers can rely on. Only in the case of criminal offences is it possible to inspect bank documents, and in court cases there is an obligation to disclose the facts. Since May 1996, money laundering and insider trading have been punishable offences. A few years later, anonymous deposits in Liechtenstein banks were also banned.

The Swiss franc has been used in Liechtenstein since 1924, both for coins and banknotes. They have never even known their own banknotes, although silver and gold coins are issued from time to time.

Agricultural sector

For agriculture, Liechtenstein has approx. 35 km2 of land at its disposal, to which must be added approx. 25 km2 of pasture land. The fertile agricultural land is mainly located in the Rhine valley and benefits from the favourable climate.

Liechtenstein has about 350 agricultural businesses and is 50% self-sufficient in agricultural products. In agriculture, the production of oats, barley, feed grain and potatoes plays an important role. Several dozen farms grow vegetables, especially spinach, carrots, peas, beans and beetroot. Fruit cultivation is not very important anymore: apples, pears, plums and cherries are the main products.

The most important agricultural sector is livestock farming, especially milk production. As far as milk products are concerned, Liechtenstein is self-sufficient. Besides about 2500 cows (mainly Swiss brown cattle), there are several thousand pigs and sheep.

Viticulture and forestry

Liechtenstein has a fairly mild climate, which makes wine growing possible. The total area of the present vineyards is about 1400 ha.

The most commonly used grape variety is the blue Burgundy. The Liechtenstein wine is among the best from the region of Eastern Switzerland. The princely vineyards produce, among others, the Vaduzer Beerli, the Vaduzer Marc and the Vaduzer Süssdrück; privately produced wines include Triesner Kretzer, Schaaner Ablass, Bendura, Eschner Feuergold and Schellenberger.

More than one third of Liechtenstein's total surface is covered by forests. About 90% of these forests are owned by the municipalities and the eight Alpine Forest Associations. The forests produce raw building materials, as more than 50% of the highest forest is economically viable. The forests are also important for recreation.

Industry and trade

After the Second World War, Liechtenstein's economy, which is entirely export-oriented, expanded considerably. There are no real industrial centres and, due to the lack of minerals, there is no heavy industry. The largest branches of industry are metal processing and machine and equipment construction.

In 2017, Liechtenstein exported to the tune of $3.2 billion and imported to the tune of just over $2.2 billion mainly to the countries of the European Economic Area. These figures exclude trade to and from Switzerland.


Economische Voorlichtingsdienst

Encarta Encyclopedie

Winter, R. de / Basisinformatie Liechtenstein
Liechtensteinse Vriendenkring

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated March 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info