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Europe/ Liechtenstein

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148284.  Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:03 am Reply with quote

There are two industries, in which the Principality of Liechtenstein (under 30, 000 residents, area 160 square km) is the world's leader: production of false teeth (the local company Ivoclar in the village of Schellenberg produces false teeth of 16 different shades and colours!) and sausage skins!
The last properly functioning monarchy of Europe (the Prince fully controls the Diet - Parliament, consisting of the reps of two opposing political parties: the Reds and the Blacks - and can disband it if he so wishes, as he did repeatedly in the last 10-15 years), modern Liechtenstein has no army, and its last military engagement was in 1866, when Prussia declared war on Austria. All eighty Liechtenstein soldiers were deployed on the frontier between Tyrol and Italy for one week, during which they never set eyes on the enemy. No casualties. On the contrary: on the way back to Liechtenstein they made a new recruit! On return to Vaduz, all 81 (!) soldiers were welcomed by a band, given refreshments and sent home never to be called up again. The Prince paid for the whole "campaign" out of his pocket. Liechtenstein's last soldier died in 1939.
Yet, perhaps, the most interesting and the least known fact about Liechtestein is that it was Europe's (and the world's) ONLY COUNTRY that refused to hand over Russian POWs to Stalin at the end of World War II, when 500 Russians crossed into the principality from Austria and asked for political asylum. Stalin's emissaries put considerable pressure on the Prince to extradite the soldiers (who would have all been imprisoned or executed on return), but the Prince - unlike the rulers of France, Britain and the USA - said a resolute "No!" thus saving hundreds of lives. Another proof of the truism that one doesn't have to be a giant to confront a bully.

Sources: own research

148342.  Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:33 pm Reply with quote

I see that Ivoclar turns over some pretty mean figures. I had no idea the false teeth market was so big.

Ivoclar Vivadent recorded worldwide sales of 581 million Swiss francs (370 million euros) in 2006.


148423.  Sun Feb 18, 2007 6:07 am Reply with quote

Time magazine claims that Liechtenstein is the second largest false teeth manufacturer after the U.S.A.

148428.  Sun Feb 18, 2007 6:18 am Reply with quote

The Time article was written on Monday, Mar. 15, 1971!

This article from The Times newspaper in 2004 claims that it is the largest.

148452.  Sun Feb 18, 2007 7:23 am Reply with quote

Ha ha, up to date as ever.

I suppose that the Chinese market should be one to look out for as well:


China is poised to become one of the world's largest exporters of dental equipment, consumables, false teeth and instruments.


(2005 article)

148704.  Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:39 am Reply with quote

Vitali wrote:
the Principality of Liechtenstein (under 30, 000 residents, area 160 square km)

The problem with population sizes is that people keep breeding and the figures keep changing. According to the 2000 census ( the population stood at 33,307 whilst the July 2006 estimate ( was 33,987.

Surprisingly, Liechtenstein has not only increased in population size, but also in area. At least, a tiny bit. Some areas of the country had apparently never been properly measured until a survey last year, using modern measuring techniques, found the country to be slightly larger than had previously been accepted. Its area has now been revised from 160 square kilometres to 160.475 square kilometres ( Despite this increase in size, Liechtenstein remains the sixth smallest nation in the world and needs to find another 20 square kilometres (I wonder if they've checked behind the fridge) to overtake the next nearest rival, The Marshall Islands.

Vitali wrote:
Parliament, consisting of the reps of two opposing political parties: the Reds and the Blacks

Really? According to the CIA world factbook, there are 3 political parties in Liechtenstein: Patriotic Union (was Fatherland Union) or VU; Progressive Citizens' Party or FBP; The Free List or FL. Maybe one of them is an insignificant party that nobody pays any attention to. Like the Liberal Democrats.

Vitali wrote:
modern Liechtenstein has no army

Indeed, defence of Liechtenstein is now the responsibility of Switzerland.

Liechtenstein is, of course, quite interesting for being 50% of all the countries in the world that are doubly landlocked, though I'm sure this has been mentioned on the show before. It's official language is German and, according to wikipedia, it's the only country with a predominantly German-speaking population that does not share a border with the Federal Republic of Germany.

148709.  Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:46 am Reply with quote

btw I used the Liechtenstein army fact (about them going to war and coming back with one more than they set out with) in one of the warm-ups last year, so if we used it, we shouldn't be surprised if some guests remember it.


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