Redrawing the Map of Europe Liechtenstein Bigger Than Ever

New measurements show that Liechtenstein has a longer border -- and more Alpine real estate -- than it previously thought.


Liechtenstein's royal family can still see most of the country from their ancestral castle.
AP

Liechtenstein's royal family can still see most of the country from their ancestral castle.

Liechtenstein, the rich but tiny Alpine principality stuck between Switzerland and Austria, announced on Wednesday that it had grown: Its borders are 1.9 kilometers (1.2 miles) longer than anyone thought.

The country's Office of Economic Affairs' statistical yearbook shows that modern measuring methods had determined the total area of Liechtenstein to be 160.475 square kilometers (61.960 square miles) -- up from 160 square kilometers (61.776 square miles). Liechtenstein had not measured itself since 1980.

The new land lies high in the Alps, along Liechtenstein's border with Switzerland. No international tension between the two nations is expected, since Switzerland's border also grew in the deal -- also by 1.9km. Inquiries from SPIEGEL ONLINE revealed that Liechtenstein's embassy in Berlin on Friday morning did not yet know about the country's recent growth.

Liechtenstein, which has a population of only 35,000, remains the world's sixth-smallest nation. It has enjoyed independence ever since Napoleon convinced the principality to break away from the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. Like Switzerland, it's known as a tax haven, and the current ruler, Prince Hans-Adam II, is one of the richest heads of state in the world.

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