The Liechtenstein’s Cultural Background

Liechtenstein’s great cultural treasure is the art collection of its prince, which dates back to the early 1600s. Housed in the capital city of Vaduz, it is the second-largest private art collection in the world. It is surpassed in size only by that of Britain’s royal family. It is also one of the finest art collections, public or private in the world. Its many masterpieces cover a wide range of periods and schools of art. It includes sculptures, tapestries, silver, and porcelain, as well as paintings by Breughel the Elder, Botticelli, Rembrandt, Rubens. Liechtenstein also has a strong musical tradition. Brass bands and vocal ensembles are common in rural areas, while the cities of Vaduz and Balzers both have highly regarded operetta companies.

RELIGION: Roman Catholicism is the state religion of Liechtenstein, and about 85 percent of the people are Catholic. Approximately 7 percent are Protestant, and the rest belong to other denominations. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution.

RELATIONSHIPS: Liechtensteiners commonly greet each other by shaking hands. Verbal greetings include Gruezi (also used in Switzerland) and the German Grüss Gott (these two greetings are used to say “hi”). Hoi! is a popular informal greeting used among friends.

LIVING CONDITIONS: Liechtenstein is a modern, industrialized country whose residents enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. Most Liechtensteiners live in single-family homes, although apartment living has become common for young families who cannot afford their own homes. There is sufficient housing for all of Liechtenstein’s inhabitants, and dwellings range from wooden houses scattered across picturesque mountain villages to modern multi-story apartment buildings in the capital city of Vaduz.

CLOTHING: The people of Liechtenstein wear modern, Western-style clothing for both casual and formal occasions. They dress neatly and conservatively in public. Their traditional costumes, or Trachten, are worn only rarely, for festivals and other special occasions. The women’s costume has a gathered waist, a full skirt, and an apron, while men wear knee-length breeches, a flat black hat, and a loden (woolen) jacket.

FOOD: Liechtensteiners eat three meals a day. Coffee and bread with jam are commonly eaten for breakfast (called Zmorga ). Zmittag, eaten at midday, is the main meal of the day and typically includes a main dish, soup, salad, and dessert. A lighter meal (Znacht) is eaten at dinnertime, often consisting of an open-faced sandwich made with various kinds of meat and cheese.

Although Liechtenstein is too small to have developed an extensive national cuisine, it does have some distinctive regional dishes. Käsknöfle consists of noodles made by squeezing a mixture of flour, water, and eggs through a perforated board.