oho #3 - The magazine of the Principality of Liechtenstein

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The Liechtenstein magazine takes you onto a journey through the country. Find out more about the state, the Princely House, the nature, the culture, the economy and more.

oho

The magazine of

the Principality of Liechtenstein

#3 2016/17

State/Princely House

Business/Education

Food/Culture

Environment/Leisure

Interview with Hereditary

Princess Sophie

Cross-border

cooperation

Exquisite organic

products

Combining sport

and relaxation


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in your

process flow.

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«hoi metanand»

Bridges create encounters

On the following pages we present the latest issue of the

Liechtenstein magazineoho” – an issue that addresses the

special topic of good neighbourly relations.

Particularly because this topic applies to so many aspects

of our lives, the focus has deliberately been placed on the

people in the country, along with their commitment and

dedication. We discussed the setting of our cover shot at

great length, before choosing an image of the Old Rhine

Bridge – on account of its powerful symbolism. The

135-metre wooden bridge, which links the Liechtenstein

capital Vaduz with the Municipality of Sevelen in the

Canton of St. Gallen, is the oldest existing wooden Rhine

Bridge in the Alpine region. Customs offices were stationed

at each end of the bridge right up to the signing of the

Customs Treaty in the year 1923. Today the Rhine Bridge is

a historical witness of the shared past of the two countries,

and exemplifies their deep links. Building bridges brings

people together, facilitates encounters and makes

friendships possible. Each and every one of us will have

similar tales to tell. Cross the bridge and marvel at the

many facets of the Principality of Liechtenstein. It is well

worthwhile. I wish you a fascinating read.

Concentrating on what brings us together

From 13 to 23 October St. Gallen will be firmly in

Liechtenstein’s hands: the Principality is presenting itself

as guest of honour at the 74 th OLMA trade fair under the

motto of the traditional dialect greeting “hoi metanand”.

Following the years 1952, 1964, 1979 and 1993, the year

2016 is the fifth time that Liechtenstein will be taking

part in the OLMA as guest of honour. An ideal opportunity

to showcase the positive and long-standing relationship

between Liechtenstein and Switzerland. It is not

differences that will be highlighted, but instead the things

we have in common. We want to awaken emotions in the

visitors, and make unexpected experiences possible. This

is the key to retaining good and heartfelt memories.

It gives me great pleasure that the present issue of the

Liechtenstein magazineoho” – dovetailing neatly with

Liechtenstein’s OLMA appearance – is dedicated to the

topic of good neighbourly relations. These are essential

preconditions for the economic success of our region. It is

in all of our interests to nurture and to reinforce these

good relations with our neighbouring countries, thus

enabling Liechtenstein to continue exercising its role as a

likeable and reliable partner.

Ernst Risch

Managing Director Liechtenstein Marketing

Publisher

Marlies Amann-Marxer

Minister for Infrastructure

and the Environment as well as Sport

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oho#3

State/Princely House

Business/Education

Interview with Hereditary Princess Sophie 6

Customs Treaty with Switzerland 12

Cross-border police operations 14

View from Vienna 16

International commuters 18

Construction technology company Hilti 22

ThyssenKrupp Presta 23

Dual training system 25

Young entrepreneur with good ideas 28

The Intamin rollercoaster 30

Made in Liechtenstein 33

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Food/Culture

Environment/Leisure

Innovative farmer 34

Donkey Festival in Malbun 38

Top events 2016/2017 40

Walser architecture 43

Cultural moments 45

Neighbourhood culture 46

Author with tremendous visions 48

JUFA Hotel Malbun Alpin Resort 50

Fine accommodation and gastronomy 51

Chef with consuming passion 52

"Käsknöpfle" to make your heart melt 54

Mountain and valley adventures 56

Princely hiking tour 58

Five-castle cycling tour 59

The spider specialist 62

Lift worker with VIP factor 64

Ski star Tina Weirather 68

Football legend Mario Frick 72

Liechtenstein in a nutshell 74

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State/Princely House

“I admire

Liechtenstein’s

inventive spirit”

It is 22 years since Her Royal Highness Hereditary Princess Sophie and His

Serene Highness Hereditary Prince Alois exchanged their eternal marriage

vows. 22 years during which the Duchess bore four children, became

involved in social activities and won over the hearts and minds of the

population. In this interview, the Bavarian-born Duchess speaks about her

life and her commitment to creating a better world. Listening in to the

conversation: her loyal companion, dachshund Tipsy.

Interview: Niki Eder · Photos: Roland Korner

Royal Highness, you grew up in Bavaria, went to

school and studied there. After so many years

living in Liechtenstein, do you still feel Bavarian,

or have you become a true-blue Liechtensteiner?

H.R.H. Hereditary Princess Sophie of

Liechtenstein: Bavaria will always be part of me,

naturally. But over the years, Liechtenstein has

increasingly taken over.

With your busy schedule, do you still find the

time to visit family and friends in Bavaria?

I make an effort to nurture contact with my

relations, of course – and with a family as big as

mine, this is a major undertaking. Regrettably, due

to time constraints, I have not been able to keep in

touch with my old school friends.

Do you converse with your parents and siblings in

Bavarian dialect?

My mother comes from Sweden, and for this reason

alone we never spoke Bavarian at home. So I can

entirely understand when my children say to me

today: “Please don’t talk Liechtenstein dialect,

Mama. It sounds terrible.” This is exactly what we

used to say to our mother.

Have you been able to preserve any Bavarian

traditions at Vaduz Castle?

No typical Bavarian traditions spring to mind. But

we do sometimes like eating Bavarian weisswurst,

or roast pork. We are fond of drinking beer,

although we are also partial to a good wine.

And what do you most like about your new home

country?

There are many aspects. During the first three years

of our marriage, my husband and I lived in London,

where it is perfectly normal for men to work

until late in the night. After this period, I particularly

valued being able to live in Liechtenstein, where a

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oho#3

7


Johann Baptist Dallinger von Dalling, Detail from

The courtyard of the great stables at Eisgrub”, 1819

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State/Princely House

oho#3

greater emphasis is placed upon family life. I also like

being able to leave the house and finding myself directly

in the natural environment. I love the mountains. I enjoy

the mild climate and even the foehn wind, at least when

it’s not blowing too strongly. And not least, of course, I am

very fond of the people in Liechtenstein.

What precisely do you value about the population of

Liechtenstein?

They are very no-nonsense, open and uncomplicated. And

I admire their efficiency and their inventive spirit. The

latter is really impressive. I always mention this when I

am confronted abroad with the popular misconception

that Liechtenstein only has banks.

If you had to recommend a place of interest in

Liechtenstein to tourists, that they really shouldn’t

miss, what would it be?

Steg and Malbun are certainly worth a visit. Steg is also

very interesting in terms of settlement history. For those

who are not afraid of heights, I also recommend the

Fürstensteig Trail. Unfortunately, I am no longer able to

walk the Trail myself.

No longer able?

I went on the Fürstensteig Trail only on one occasion. But

when I looked down I realised that I really should avoid it

in future. Since then, I personally prefer circular hiking

trails such as the Princess Gina Path.

support women who find themselves in difficult

situations. This means we also address topics such as

miscarriage, burdens or stress during pregnancy. In

addition, there is great demand for the clarification of

social law aspects. The sexual education centre love.li

holds approx. 200 seminars per annum, and has proven

very popular.

The pregnancy advice centre schwanger.li maintains

offices in Schaan, Buchs as well as Feldkirch. Why did

you decide to open offices in all three countries?

We opened the first psychosocial advice centres in Schaan

and in Feldkirch. The reason for this is that I felt women

would find it easier to contact us if our bureaus were also

located in neighbouring countries. Otherwise there is

always a risk that they might bump into neighbours. For

Liechtenstein citizens, Feldkirch simply offers greater

anonymity. The advice centre in Buchs was added a few

years later.

How many women contact the advice centres per

annum?

About 700 women and couples from the region came to us

for advice last year. This also includes individuals with an

immigration background, as well as a small number of

female refugees. Depending upon the particular

circumstances, we also provide women with financial

support.

At the beginning of 2006, you founded the Sophie of

Liechtenstein Foundation for Women and Children,

which aims to offer women who become

unintentionally pregnant a positive perspective for

themselves and for their children. What moved you to

get involved in this project?

During my time in London, it became clear to me how

simple and carefree my life really is. I had a great deal of

contact with cosmopolitan women, and we often discussed

the situation for pregnant women, as well as the

differences between our various countries. On the basis of

these discussions, I began to reflect upon the challenges

facing all those women who do not live in such easy

circumstances – those women who live alone or struggle

with financial worries. It was these thoughts that

eventually prompted me to set up the Foundation.

The Foundation supports the pregnancy advice centre

schwanger.li. What sort of problems does this aim to

address?

Initially, the Foundation concentrated on conflicts

associated with pregnancy. Over the years, however, our

field of support has become much broader. Essentially, we

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State/Princely House

The Sophie of Liechtenstein Foundation is not your

only social commitment. In May 2015, you took over

the Chair of the Liechtenstein Red Cross (LRC) from

Princess Marie. Three generations of Princely women

have now been in charge of this organisation. What

have been your most impressive experiences to date?

There have already been a number of memorable

occasions. The work at the Red Cross is very intensive,

but also above all very rewarding and positive. For

example, the charitable organisation Charitas contacted

us last autumn with a proposal to make a joint appeal for

donations for Syria – a plan to which we were pleased to

agree. The positive reaction and generosity of the

Liechtenstein population was amazing. I was also very

impressed by the 32 nd International Red Cross and Red

Crescent Conference in Geneva, in which 190 national

organisations took part. An excellent opportunity to make

useful contacts and to discuss future collaboration. For

example, a joint project organised by small European

states will address the construction of earthquake-proof

housing in Nepal.

What issue are you personally most keen to address in

your capacity as Chair of the LRC?

I very much hope we will be able to “rejuvenate” the Red

Cross a little, and to raise its profile.

The LRC runs inter alia the Children’s Home in Schaan,

which aims to provide above all children from the

poorest regions of Eastern Europe with a few days of

carefree fun and adventure. Do you also visit the

children in person?

There are always two scheduled events in the calendar.

The children are invited by Princess Marie to visit Vaduz

Castle. And then on another occasion I visit them at the

Gamander Children’s Home, where we sit around and chat.

There are very moving moments, as well as very amusing

moments – for example when they ask me if I have to wear

a crown, being a hereditary princess. (chuckles)

Does intensive contact with poverty and the suffering

of other people change one’s view of one’s own life?

I have always been very conscious of such issues. Even

amongst my own relatives, there are individuals who lost

everything from one day to the next. This certainly

makes one think. It begins with the little things of

everyday life. For example, I always enjoy the fact that we

do not have to share our bathroom with ten other people.

And it is a tremendous luxury being able to drink out of

the tap. Like other people, I often ask myself whether I

really need something, or not. I get a bad conscience when

I buy too much, and have to throw food away. It is

completely against my principles to waste things.

Furthermore, need to bear in mind: it should never be

taken for granted that we live in a country in which a

woman can go strolling in the forest on her own, without

fear. This sense of security means quality of life.

You are fond of animals, and are the patron of the

Liechtenstein Animal Welfare Association. A few

months ago, a dachshund puppy joined your family,

and accompanied you to this interview. Has Tipsy

turned the castle on its head?

Tipsy has of course brought new life into the family. But,

fortunately, she is a very decorous hound. Admittedly, we

had to take certain “security measures”. For example,

dachshunds are not supposed to run up and down stairs;

it’s bad for their backs. So she is often carried around,

which she enjoys enormously. Tipsy was part of a

dachshund litter born to my sister’s dog. In fact, we never

actually wanted a dog ourselves. But at the end of the day,

I simply couldn’t resist.

Tipsy has now become your constant companion?

Tipsy accompanies me, whenever possible – including

during the holidays. I really enjoy her company. A friend

of mine once said to me, in jest: “The last child always

wears fur” … there’s something in that. (laughs)

Let us turn to a different subject altogether. As a

descendant of the Stuarts, you are seen by Jacobites as

a pretender to the British throne. The last time a

member of that lineage claimed the throne was in the

18 th century – so no one is really expecting you to assert

your birthright. Or do you have a surprise up your

sleeve?

This story was never something we discussed at home,

and until I travelled to London with my school class, I had

not even heard about it. An acquaintance of my English

teacher once said to me: “But you’re a Stuart.” And I just

thought: what is he talking about? When I got back home,

I asked my parents. They found the whole thing hilarious,

and then explained the background to me. I can therefore

assure you, I shall not be asserting a claim to the British

throne.

You are a Duchess, while your husband is a Hereditary

Prince. This means you have a higher rank than your

consort. Did the title play a role when you first became

acquainted?

Not at all. The Noble House of Liechtenstein does not

define what ranks its members are permitted to marry.

While there are indeed certain rules for the Noble House

of Bavaria, these do not apply to female descendants.

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oho#3

You are now the mother of four children. Many people

believe that aristocratic children grow up in a castle

completely differently to “normal citizens”. Is the dayto-day

family life of the Princely Family really so

different?

Our children are growing up essentially the same way as

all other children in Liechtenstein. They attend school,

are able to invite their friends back to the castle, and can

visit them in their own homes too. There is no special

status.

Your son Prince Wenzel is the heir to Liechtenstein’s

throne. Did your son’s preparation for his future role

entail a special education, even as a child?

As a child, Wenzel had exactly the same education as his

siblings. We often discuss politics and history in our

family, however. Wenzel is now aged 21, and is studying

law. When he is in Liechtenstein he spends a great deal of

time with his father, who informs him about certain

matters and responsibilities. This means he is gradually

growing into his future role.

What values would you like to pass on to your

children?

For me, faith is very important. I hope that we exemplify

this through our own lives, and convey this to our

children accordingly. This gives rise to other values such

as decency, honesty as well as social awareness. In my

view, one of the greatest challenges when it comes to

children’s education is the need to impart a sense of

modest restraint, the ability to delay gratifications. We

live in an age in which wishes are proverbially satisfied at

the click of a mouse. A book or a song is just one click

away – right around the clock. Yet being able to wait for

something is very important.

What sort of books do you like to read?

All genres, from history, through politics and religion to

travelogues – although I have to confess I do not much

like travelling myself.

You don’t like travelling? That is an unusual thing to

say.

I find travelling stressful. When we are on the road with

the family, there are so many things I need to think about

and so much to organise. Unpacking – packing. Things

are much more relaxed at home. The one exception is my

parents’ holiday house in Portugal; I like going there. But

that doesn’t really have anything to do with travel, in the

strictest sense. It is more a change of location, as I feel

completely at home there too.

Do you have an undeclared wish you would like to fulfil

one day?

At the moment, to be perfectly honest, I am happy just the

way things are. Maybe this is because I am by nature not

inclined to worry about “what if…” scenarios. Now is the

time to get things done. And I find my social

responsibilities very fulfilling.

And what would you like your children to say about

you, one day?

I hope that my children will say that their mother was

always there for them, and had an open ear for their

worries and concerns.

How does a Hereditary Princess relax after performing

social duties and meeting her responsibilities as a

mother?

I like to recharge my batteries in the countryside, or by

reading. At the moment, thanks to Tipsy, walks are very

much the order of the day. Perhaps that was one of the

reasons we got the dog. For until recently, it had become

increasingly difficult to find the time to go on walks.

Now I actually have to go out. There are no more

excuses.

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State/Princely House

Testimony to

a deep friendship

Following the upheavals of the First World War,

Liechtenstein had to reinvent itself in various

ways. The Principality turned away from Austria

in order to enter into a customs union with

Switzerland. By signing the Customs Treaty

of 1923, Liechtenstein laid the foundations for

its economic boom in the following decades.

Text: Stefan Lenherr

Liechtenstein currently has very close bonds with

Switzerland. Originally, however, the principality

maintained close bonds with the then Austrian Empire.

A customs treaty signed in the year 1852 opened up

new prospects for the impoverished agrarian country.

The outbreak of the First World War plunged the

partnership into a deep crisis, though. The

Liechtenstein historian Rupert Quaderer-Vogt has

explored the events of the period in detail, and has

recorded his findings in the three-volume work

“Bewegte Zeiten in Liechtenstein 1914 bis 1926”

[Eventful Times in Liechtenstein 1914 to 1926”]. “This

was a turning-point in Liechtenstein’s history”, he says.

In view of the shortages of food and fuel – at times, the

absence of coal supplies meant it was not even possible

to heat the government building in Vaduz – unrest

amongst the population became increasingly vocal. Not

least, the money in their pockets also plummeted in

value. The military defeat of Austria-Hungary and the

subsequent cost of the defeat caused the value of the

Austrian crown – the official tender in Liechtenstein

to collapse. “Popular calls for the country to turn away

from Austria became ever louder,” says Quaderer-Vogt.

In August 1919 Liechtenstein then dissolved the

customs treaty with Austria.

The Customs Treaty was signed on 29 March 1923 by Federal

Councillor Giuseppe Motta and the Princely Liechtenstein

Representative in Switzerland, Emil Beck, and came into force on

1 January 1924. The preamble to the Customs Treaty states that the

agreement was being reached inter alia in order to “reinforce and

intensify the existing amicable relations between Switzerland and

the Principality of Liechtenstein.” (Source: Office of Culture,

National Archive)

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The photo shows a hyperinflation bank note with a face value of 500,000

crowns from the year 1922 (Source: Austro-Hungarian Bank)

What next?

Liechtenstein needed a new partner with a healthy economy and

a stable currency”, says Quaderer-Vogt. In view of the dire straits

in which it found itself, Liechtenstein entered into discrete

negotiations with its western neighbour. Neutral Switzerland had

been spared the ravages of war, and had a healthy currency.

Nevertheless, the advances made by the little neighbour were not

universally welcomed. “Towards the end of the war, as well as

thereafter, huge volumes of goods were being smuggled in

Liechtenstein,” explains Quaderer-Vogt. Some commentators in

Switzerland warned against entering into a customs union with

these corrupt people”. There was also very little support for this

in the immediate neighbourhood, the municipalities across the

River Rhine. Fortunately, however, Liechtenstein had a highprofile

backer in the form of the Swiss Federal Councillor in the

Foreign Policy Department, Giuseppe Motta. “Just for once,

Switzerland was the bigger state able to show generosity

towards a small state. This was one of the reasons used

by Motta to argue that Switzerland should do what it

could to support its impoverished neighbour,”

explains Rupert Quaderer-Vogt. The Customs

Treaty came into force on 1 January 1924. The

preamble states that the Treaty had been

concluded in order “to reinforce and intensify

the existing amicable relations between

Switzerland and the Principality of

Liechtenstein.”

Interview

Tariff Commission described how the introduction of the Swiss

franc had been explained to him in Liechtenstein: “One morning

the smith in Balzers told his customers, local farmers, that he

would only sharpen their tools if they paid for this service in

Swiss francs. The population refused to do this, one whole day

long. So the smith told them he would wait for his customers

outdoors, under the old pear tree. The next day they came to him

and said that they had decided to agree to his demand. But

subject to the condition that he also paid for their products using

Swiss francs. This is what then happened, and within a very

short time the arrangement had spread right across the country.

It was the government that was slow on the uptake.” The franc

became the official means of payment in Liechtenstein on 26 May

1924, the day on which the “Introduction of the Franc Currency

Act” became law.

Economic upturn

Following the difficult years during and after the First World

War, hope began to flourish in Liechtenstein once again thanks to

the partnership established with Switzerland. The economy

gradually began to recover. The economic miracle that has

resulted in today’s prosperous Liechtenstein became established

only after the Second World War, however. “The bedrock of

today’s prosperity is certainly the hard work and business

acumen of the population,” declares Quaderer-Vogt. “It would be a

mistake to think, though, that Liechtenstein would have been

able to achieve this economic upturn if it had been left entirely to

its own devices. We have had the great good fortune that other

countries – first and foremost Switzerland – are favourably

disposed towards us.”

In this interview, the Liechtenstein

historian Rupert Quaderer-Vogt

explains how Liechtenstein

changed direction after the end

of the First World War, and

increasingly turned towards

Switzerland.

www.liechtenstein.li/

customstreaty

Photo: Liechtenstein Institute

Introduction of the Swiss franc

By this time, the people of Liechtenstein had already begun to

take matters into their own hands. While discussions were still

raging on the political stage about the introduction of an

independent national currency, the population itself had already

effectively adopted the Swiss franc. In his book, Quaderer-Vogt

illustrates the development with an anecdote.

During a debate conducted by the Swiss National Council on the

Customs Treaty with Liechtenstein, the President of the Customs

The Liechtenstein historian Rupert Quaderer-Vogt ist the author of the

three-volume work “Bewegte Zeiten in Liechtenstein 1914 bis 1926“

(“Eventful Times in Liechtenstein 1914 to 1926“)

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State/Princely House

Cross-border

police operations

Why Liechtenstein’s National Police relies on close cooperation

with neighbouring countries. Text: Silke Knöbl

Networking is important – even for Liechtenstein’s

National police. It places great emphasis on the

exchange of information and cooperation with

foreign police authorities. The National Police

maintains particularly close links with its

counterparts in Switzerland and Austria.

Valuable synergies

This cross-border cooperation is governed by a

police cooperation agreement. “We always weigh

up whether it would be better to build up our own

capacities, or to cooperate with neighbouring

states,” says Jules Hoch, Head of Liechtenstein’s

National Police. A good example is criminal

forensics: in the event of thefts or burglaries, the

National Police collects evidence at the scene of the

crime. It then draws upon the expertise of the

Swiss Police to evaluate the evidence that has been

gathered. “It wouldn’t make sense for us to set up

our own specialist laboratories,” says Hoch.

In return, the National Police takes part in foreign

deployments. “We are members of the Eastern

Switzerland Police Concordat,” explains Hoch. This

organisation brings together the police corps

of the cantons in eastern Switzerland,

enabling them to support each other in

their police work. “For this reason, we

provide police resources inter alia for

the annual World Economic Forum in

Davos,” says Hoch. As a member of

Schengen, Europol and Interpol, the

National Police also helps to solve

international cases.

High security and quality of life

Criminality in the Principality of

Liechtenstein is low, compared to other

countries. For this reason, the small state is also

one of the safest countries in the world. “The rural

structure plays an important role,” explains Hoch.

“We do not have any urban conurbations, and the

population keeps a close eye on what goes on,” he

adds. This all has a positive impact on national

security, as well as on the quality of life.

From pastors to police officers

Up until the 18 th century, pastors and local councillors were responsible for maintaining law and

order in the eleven Liechtenstein municipalities. At the time, a police force did not exist. It was

only in the 19 th century that country officials and later part-time police-soldiers were given the

remit to maintain law, order and security. The Princely Liechtenstein Security Corps was founded

in 1932. A total of seven police officers performed their duties in the Government Building. Today

the National Police has around 160 employees, including tactical units. As the only police

authority in Liechtenstein, it performs numerous tasks and also maintains a number of

commissariats. In addition, it is also responsible for running Liechtenstein’s only prison. As the

Principality has neither an intelligence service nor an army, the National Police has exclusive

responsibility for safeguarding domestic security. www.landespolizei.li

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Jules Hoch

Function: Police Chief

Born: 1963

Career: Jules Hoch was made

Head of the Criminal

Investigation Department in

1999. In 2013 the Liechtenstein

Government appointed him to the

position of Police Chief.

Marital status: married,

3 children

Interview

A discussion with Liechtenstein’s

Police Chief Jules Hoch about

the most common crimes, police

training, and why there are so

few female police officers in the

National Police.

15

www.liechtenstein.li/police

Photos: National Police


State/Princely House

Photo: istock

View from Vienna

There have always been very close links between Austria and Liechtenstein, not least

because the Princely Family, which is one of the oldest aristocratic families in Europe,

has its roots in the region south of Vienna. In addition, the two states are connected by

over 40 treaties, an open border as well as the EEA. In this interview, the Liechtenstein

Ambassador in Vienna, Her Serene Highness Maria-Pia Kothbauer, Princess of

Liechtenstein, speaks about the neighbourly relations, past highlights and the future

challenges of her work. Interview: Patrik Schädler

Your Serene Highness, you have been Liechtenstein’s

resident Ambassador in Vienna since December 1997.

How do you view Liechtenstein from the perspective of

the Austrian capital?

As a good and reliable partner and friend of Austria. As a

country that shares the same interests and values, and

with which cooperation is extremely multifaceted. As a

country that has successfully mastered the challenges of

recent years, and has initiated the necessary reforms. And

as a country that has managed, despite the global

economic crisis, to remain debt-free.

The responsibilities of the Liechtenstein Embassy in

Vienna encompass four fields. It acts as the Embassy

of the Principality of Liechtenstein in Austria and the

Czech Republic, and is moreover the permanent

representative at the OSCE and United Nations in

Vienna. How do you keep track of all these different

tasks?

It is indeed something of a challenge, but there are positive

aspects. The advantage is that one quickly learns to

prioritise, and one remains versatile. We have an excellent

team in Vienna, and that certainly helps too. Over the years

we have been able to build up expertise in our fields of

responsibility, together with a very wide-ranging network of

contacts upon which we are able to draw, when necessary.

What is your assessment of the current relationship

between Austria and Liechtenstein? Which areas in

particular need to be addressed?

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The relations are excellent, have grown

and developed over many years, are

amicable, close and resilient. We are

bound together by over 40 treaties, an

open border and the EEA. Liechtenstein is

a valued employer for many Austrians. In

the fields of taxes and regional transport, there

are in-depth discussions at the expert level.

You have now been Ambassador in Vienna for eighteen

years. When you look back: what event would you

describe as your personal highlight?

There have been a number of highlights: the opening of

the Liechtenstein Embassy in the year 1998, the state

visits associated with the restoration of the two

Liechtenstein Palaces in Vienna in the years 2004 and

2013, as well as the positive conclusion of the negotiations

concerning the restoration of diplomatic relations with the

Czech Republic in the year 2009, which were conducted

over a three-year period in Vienna. For an ambassador,

though, these highlights are not the main source of

satisfaction. Instead, what really matters is the sense that

one has helped to strengthen relations between two

countries, and that our country is seen positively in

Austria, even during difficult moments. This was the case

in particular in conjunction with certain financial market

issues. Negative “highlights” are the crisis in Ukraine, and

the general security situation in Europe, which occupies

us at the OSCE and is hindering the ability of Europe to

cooperate.

Her Serene Highness Ambassador Maria-Pia Kothbauer (centre)

with Prime Minister Adrian Hasler and Minister Aurelia Frick at

the traditional Liechtenstein Embassy Reception in 2015 at the

Garden Palace in Vienna.

Despite all the efforts that have been

made, Liechtenstein is still “terra

incognita” for many people in Austria.

How would you explain Liechtenstein to

an Austrian, in just one sentence?

One of Austria’s eight neighbours, closely

related to Vorarlberg in terms of landscape and

character, a German-speaking constitutional hereditary

monarchy with a highly-developed system of direct

democracy, economically liberal, business-friendly and

innovative, simultaneously urban and rural, debt-free, a

country with a very high quality of life.

Liechtenstein is going through a period of structural

change. Where do you see the risks – and where are the

opportunities?

By and large, the inhabitants of Liechtenstein are selfcritical

and pragmatic. This is a good starting position for

structural change and innovation. The opportunities lie in

the fact that we take steps earlier than other people, and

are consequently able to find ample space in hard-fought

markets. While the business side is certainly an important

factor, I think it is also worth remembering that we remain

as broad-based as possible, and in future provide space for

professions in the arts to flourish in our country. In the

social field, we need to ensure that social cohesion is

preserved.

What “insider tips” would you recommend to someone

from Vienna visiting Liechtenstein for the first time?

A hike through Schellenberg, a visit to the Russian

Memorial, and then cheese gnocchi at the “Löwen” in

Hinterschellenberg – at the little border crossing between

Austria and Liechtenstein.

How important are the following values

for you?

Freedom: One must use and defend it.

Money: Gives one the opportunity to get things done.

Privacy: I don’t think about this very much.

Honesty: A very admirable character trait,

and a daily challenge.

Family: I am really happy that I have one.

Politics: Have always interested me.

Sport: I lack Churchill’s self-assurance. I always have

a bad conscience when I think about sport.

Quality of life: My current experiences.

Liechtenstein: In great shape.

17


Business/Education

Labour market

without borders

Powerful symbolism: the 135 metre wooden bridge built

in 1901 between Liechtenstein and Switzerland embodies

the close links between the two neighbouring countries –

including the free movement of labour.

18


The Liechtenstein economy supports almost as many

workers as the country’s total number of inhabitants.

For this reason, the manufacturing and financial centre

is dependent on the supply of qualified employees from

neighbouring countries. Almost 20,000 people

commute every day from Switzerland, Austria and

Germany to work in Liechtenstein. Text: Stefan Lenherr

Liechtenstein’s labour market statistics are certainly impressive.

According to the latest figures from the Office of Statistics, 36,680 people

work in Liechtenstein, while the permanent population is 37,706 – this

means the active workforce amounts to no less than 98.2 percent of the

population. On an international comparison, Liechtenstein leads the field

by a sizeable margin, ahead of Luxembourg (70.2 percent), Switzerland

(59.7 percent), Germany 52.6 percent) and Austria (47.9 percent). As a

centre of employment and finance, Liechtenstein offers not just the

domestic population a great many opportunities to find work in the

widest possible variety of professions, it is also an important business

centre for the entire region. No less than 10,500 workers commute every

day from Switzerland, and over 8,200 from Austria, to earn their living

in Liechtenstein. Around 600 people even commute all the way from

Germany.

One of the reasons for the large number of international commuters is the

fact that the country is reluctant to issue residence permits. After all,

land is in short supply. As a consequence, many EU citizens from

Germany or Italy find places to live in regions close to Liechtenstein, and

are then able to work in the Principality. Companies in Liechtenstein also

profit from this arrangement. After all, they would find themselves in

great difficulties if they were not able to recruit qualified workers in

neighbouring countries. “More than half of those who work in

Liechtenstein commute across the border every day in order to work

here,” says Christian Hausmann, Head of the Liechtenstein Office of

Economic Affairs. “In view of these numbers, it goes without saying that

international commuters are extremely important for the local business

community.”

Raluca Voicu, Project Manager Business Development Tools at

Oerlikon Balzers

Liechtenstein and

Oerlikon Balzers offer me

international flair”

Raluca Voicu is one of over 10,000 individuals

who commute to Liechtenstein every day from

their homes in Switzerland. Born in Romania, she

lives in Feusisberg in the Canton of Schwyz, and

has worked for Oerlikon Balzers for the past three

years. The internationally-operating industrial

corporation has over 700 employees from around

the world at its headquarters in the Liechtenstein

Municipality of Balzers. Thanks to its numerous

innovations and the high quality of its

developments, the company enjoys an outstanding

market reputation. For Voicu, the approx. 80 km

commute to her place of work is worthwhile.

Liechtenstein and Oerlikon Balzers both offer me

international flair – as well as an environment in

which I feel comfortable, and through which I

receive valuable input,” she says. “For me, this is

very important not just at the professional level,

but also at the personal level.” Voicu uses the 50

minute drive from her home to Balzers to prepare

herself mentally for the forthcoming tasks and

meetings, to think about projects, or sometimes

simply to enjoy the scenic route past Lake Walen

and Lake Zurich.

19

Photo: Heinz Preute


From Liechtenstein

to the entire world.

From the entire world

to Liechtenstein.

Oerlikon Balzers is one of the world’s leading suppliers of

surface technologies. We are improving the performance of

tools and precision components and extending their service

lives with our innovative and environmentally friendly coating

solutions. These benefi ts are being enjoyed by the automotive

and aerospace industries as well as in the areas of metal and

plastics processing, among others.

As the only provider, we are present in Europe, Asia and

America with more than 100 coating centres. We attain the

uniformly high quality for which we stand worldwide through

standardized manufacturing processes based on the fi rm

foundation of research and development in Liechtenstein.

Together with Oerlikon Metco, we form the Surface Solutions

Segment of the Oerlikon Group and have further enhanced

our know-how, the portfolio and our worldwide presence.

Think globally, act locally: This has been self evident for

Oerlikon Balzers from the very beginning. As a result, we are

bringing our innovative strength from Liechtenstein to the

entire world. For more than 70 years now.

For more information, please visit: www.oerlikon.com/balzers

20


Business/Education

oho#3

Attractive jobs in industry

Before Liechtenstein made the transition from an impoverished agrarian

state to a modern business centre, it was local citizens who often crossed

the border to Austria or Switzerland in search of work. Since the end of

the Second World War, however, the economy in Liechtenstein has

enjoyed phenomenal growth. Over the past 20 years, gross domestic

product has doubled to the current figure of CHF 5.3 billion. It is not

merely the cosmopolitan financial sector that has been responsible for

this. In fact, over 40 percent of people employed in Liechtenstein work in

the industrial or commercial sectors – an impressively high proportion in

comparison to other states in Central Europe. The approximately 4,300

companies domiciled in Liechtenstein include illustrious names such as

the construction technology group Hilti, the automotive component

supplier ThyssenKrupp Presta, and the industrial conglomerate Oerlikon

Balzers. They are amongst the ten largest companies in Liechtenstein,

which collectively account for around one quarter of all jobs in the

Principality. In addition to these, however, there are also numerous small

and medium-sized enterprises, which are often highly specialised,

amongst the best in the world in their particular fields, and for which it is

quite simply pleasant to work. According to Christian Hausmann, this is

one of the factors that make it so attractive to do business in

Liechtenstein. “Of course, wages are high. But we also have many high-

Industrial sector

14,354

jobs

37,706 inhabitants

4,331 companies

38,363 jobs

International commuters

from Germany

603

Service sector

23,711

jobs

Liechtenstein’s borders

Liechtenstein is a sovereign state that operates

without any customs officials whatsoever. They

would anyway not have anything to do on the

border between Switzerland and Liechtenstein:

since 1923, the two neighbouring countries have

formed a customs union. Only the respective

national flags and the national signs on the Rhine

bridges remind travellers that these are actually

two different countries. Travellers or commuters

can also leave their passports in the glove

compartment when crossing the border with

Austria. Both the Republic of Austria, which is an

EU member state, as well as Liechtenstein are

Schengen Treaty signatories. For this reason,

individuals are no longer checked when crossing

the border between the two countries. The only

customs station is located on the border with

Austria in Schaanwald. On the Liechtenstein side,

however, this is manned by Swiss Border Guards.

International commuters

from Austria

8,226

tech industrial enterprises in which specialists can realise

their full potential in their particular field.”

International commuters

from Switzerland

10,506

Source: Office of Statistics, status end of 2014

In view of the high wage levels, being amongst the best is

the only effective growth and survival strategy for

Liechtenstein companies. “Businesses in Liechtenstein

have always defined themselves with their products

through quality and technology leadership, never through

cost leadership,” says Hausmann. For this reason, it will

remain crucial to nurture good relations with neighbouring

countries; porous borders mean a steady supply of qualified

workers will be able to go about their work in Liechtenstein.

21


Business/Education

Photo: Hilti

The emissary

with the red case

Milestones

For the milestones in the 75 year

history of Hilti see:

www.liechtenstein-business.li/

hiltihistory

Switzerland has Swatch, Germany Volkswagen – and Liechtenstein? The Principality certainly has

more than just financial services to offer. It also exports world-famous products. The best-known:

electrical equipment produced by the construction technology group Hilti. Text: Stefan Lenherr

When on their travels, Liechtenstein citizens soon become aware

just how exotic they are. At airports around the world, they often

need to assure customs officials that they are not in fact travelling

with a make-believe passport, and that the country they call home

does actually exist. To help prove this point, the Liechtenstein

passport contains a useful map of Western Europe, in which the

diminutive Principality is clearly marked. And fortunately there

is the company Hilti. For all around the globe, people find that

images of drills and red cases suddenly spring to mind when one

mentions Hilti – an original Liechtenstein company. With its

fastening elements and cutting tools, the construction technology

group is familiar to many people. Today the products and services

provided by the system supplier with in-house direct sales

encompass inter alia laser measurement technology, fire

protection systems and installation technology, as well as

technical consultancy, software solutions and associated services.

With over 1,600 employees at its headquarters in Liechtenstein,

Hilti is one of the country’s most important employers. Around

the world, the company has over 23,000 employees. When the

brothers Martin and Eugen Hilti founded the company

Maschinenbau Hilti OHG in the year 1941, they initially had only

five employees. The company’s first customers were drawn from

the Swiss textile sector and the German automotive industry,

which arranged for certain components to be produced in Schaan.

But the newly-founded enterprise quickly went on to develop its

own products. The real breakthrough came in the year 1967: the

hammer drill “Hilti TE 17” with electro-pneumatic hammer

mechanism took the construction sector by storm.

Substantial investment in the latest innovations

Hilti works hard to keep its name associated with cutting-edge

solutions of the very highest quality. For example, the Group

recently invested CHF 120 million in a new Innovation Centre at

its headquarters in Schaan, in order to tinker away at “the next

big thing”. With its new think-tank, Hilti has demonstrated its

strong connection with Liechtenstein. It also means

Liechtenstein’s citizens will continue to generate eureka moments

amongst foreigners when they explain that the world-famous

company Hilti is an original Liechtenstein enterprise.

22


oho#3

Steering systems for

the cars of the future

Over the course of the 75 years since its foundation, ThyssenKrupp Presta has developed into a

leading global supplier for the automotive industry. With some 2000 employees at its headquarters

in Liechtenstein, the company is the country’s biggest private employer. It aims to continue shaping

the future of the automotive industry with new technologies. Text: Stefan Lenherr

On 28 October the company Press- und

Stanzwerk AG, now known as

ThyssenKrupp Presta, will be marking the

75 th anniversary of its foundation. The

company is one of the industrial pioneers

that helped forge Liechtenstein’s economic

growth after the Second World War. To

this day, it is one of the country’s most

important employers. Yet Presta

experienced very difficult times as well.

The company initially produced

components for munitions, and later large

quantities of bolts. Towards the end of the

Second World War, however, orders

declined. In the 1960s there was even talk

of selling the business to the USA. A move

into the automotive sector saw the

company’s fortunes take a decided turn

for the better.

Employees of ThyssenKrupp Presta work

on new technologies for the automotive

industry in the Acoustics Hall at the

headquarters of the company in Eschen.

Photo: ThyssenKrupp-Presta

New trends present new opportunities

The company first developed a reputation

as a supplier for the automotive industry,

and then expanded and established

production facilities around the world.

ThyssenKrupp Presta experienced strong

growth in the year 2003, when it acquired

the steering business from Mercedes-Benz.

In one fell swoop, the workforce rose 1,700

and the company’s sales increased by a

substantial EUR 300 million. Presta has

continued to grow to this day. It is one of

the world’s leading manufacturers of

steering systems, and is the technology

leader in the field of solid forming. At its

headquarters in Eschen, as well as at its

company sites in Europe, North America

and South America as well as Asia, the

company currently has over 7,000

employees. Last year, these generated

sales of CHF 1.9 billion. It still has

considerable upside potential, as CEO

Guido Durrer explains: “As we are directly

dependent upon the automotive industry

and the respective markets, market

growth offers us significant growth

opportunities.” According to Durrer, in

technology terms the automotive industry

is set to shift increasingly in the direction

of autonomous driving and electrification.

This is where Durrer senses further

opportunities for growth. The business

will remain at the cutting edge of

developments. “In terms of steering

technologies, we are directly affected by

both trends. We will therefore be able to

profit from this technology shift.” The

company’s headquarters in the

Liechtenstein town of Eschen will play a

key role. “This is where the development

of future products takes place. The results

are then produced in the global production

network comprising 16 sites,” says Durrer.

23


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VP Bank Group is based in Liechtenstein and has offices in Vaduz, Zurich, Luxembourg,

Tortola/BVI, Singapore, Hong Kong and Moscow.

24


Dual SystemDual System

Business/Education

oho#3

Training made

in Liechtenstein

Vaduz University, HSG in St. Gallen, or perhaps Innsbruck or Vienna?

Instead, after successfully completing her baccalaureate, in the

summer of 2015 Annina Götz chose Schaan and vocational training

as a commercial apprentice. Text: Michael Benvenuti

Annina Götz thought carefully

before deciding to complete an

apprenticeship: “I wanted to do

something practical, and I wanted to

see concrete results,” she says. In addition, she wanted to

improve her social skills. “Previously, I hated using the

telephone, was shy, didn’t know how to handle criticism,

how to present myself and sell ideas.” Today none of these

are a problem. The 19 year-old has a friendly and competent

telephone manner, talks openly, laughs, gesticulates – no

sign of uncertainty whatsoever.

Her initial concern that she might not be able to cope with

the challenges of the vocational training college quickly

evaporated. “Her average grade is 5.3,” says Ivan Schurte

with pride. He is Head of the Vocational Training

Department at the Chamber of Commerce, and is also

Annina’s line manager. What makes the young woman’s

progress so impressive is the fact that she has to complete

the first four semesters in a single year. This compressed

apprenticeship format goes by the name of “Way up”, and is

aimed specifically at students who have successfully

completed their school-leaving baccalaureate. For this

reason, Annina Götz’s training takes only two years,

instead of the normal three. The congenial student from

Schellenberg has not yet thought about her future career.

Ivan Schurte, however, has no doubts. “At the end of the day,

she will be a winner. All doors will be open to her. She has

chosen an extremely effective career path.”

set of skills that the companies require. For students, this

makes their transition into the labour market easier than for

graduates of general educational courses. Liechtenstein’s

Minister for Education, Aurelia Frick, also highlights this

advantage: “Trainees learn practical skills. Concrete work

results help motivate trainees, and by being closely involved

in the enterprise, they learn to assume responsibility. Teamplaying

abilities and social skills are acquired in a real

working environment. These are qualities that are highly

sought-after on the labour market.”

Ivan Schurte agrees: “Dual vocational training provides

sound foundations for successful enterprises.” While other

countries have endeavoured to boost the proportion of

university graduates, he is not so sure this is the best

approach: “I cannot have the same number of bosses and

workers.

Photo: Michael Zanghellini

Sound foundations for successful enterprises

The vocational apprenticeship model has been deeply rooted

in Liechtenstein for many decades. It has an excellent

reputation amongst society at large, and is not merely

straightforward, it is also successful: students are trained

for a specific occupation in apprenticeship firms as well as

at the vocation college. As a rule, they acquire precisely the

After completing her baccalaureate, Annina Götz decided to undergo

vocational training as a commercial apprentice

25


Business/Education

“ 100pro!” is helping

to tackle the shortage

of qualified workers

Photo: ThyssenKrupp Presta

26

ThyssenKrupp Presta also supports dual vocational training

What is needed is a healthy mix.” Does the dual vocational

training model have export potential? “It certainly does”, says

Werner Kranz, Head of the Office of Vocational Training and

Careers Advice. “Vocational training “made in Liechtenstein

could be a great export. In view of low youth unemployment

and considerable demand for qualified employees, the export

of the dual vocational training model to other countries could

really make a tangible difference.”

Apprenticeships have undoubtedly helped many enterprises

in Liechtenstein develop into world market leaders, stresses

Schurte. He has his doubts, though, that the vocational

training model could be transplanted in precisely its present

form to all other countries. “To make the system work, a

corresponding social environment is also required. Ambition

and a willingness to work hard need to be firmly anchored in

society.”

Increasingly individual educational strategies

When it comes to the first level of training, the ratio between vocational

training graduates and baccalaureate graduates in Liechtenstein is about

70 to 30. Metalworking and mechanical engineering occupations as well

as the field of organisation/administration/office work are the most

popular choices. These are followed by technical occupations, nursing,

sales and construction. Since 2005, the number of successful vocational

training graduates has remained broadly constant at 300 to 350. A total of

approx. 1,200 apprentices are undergoing training at about 340 active

apprenticeship firms at any one time. After completing their

apprenticeships, an increasing number take up further training

opportunities. These are provided in particular by higher vocational

colleges or universities of applied science. This means the Liechtenstein

education system offers many routes for young people to pursue their

personal and professional development, and from every starting position.

In order to boost the status of dual vocational training,

and in order to support training enterprises as well as

trainees, the Chamber of Commerce has launched the

initiative “100pro!” The programme rests upon three

pillars: trainee coaching, enterprise coaching and

association training.

For young apprentices, trainee coaching offers very

practical support in the schooling field. In addition to

remedial schooling, semester appraisals and

methodological learning advice, homework is also

overseen within the context of the Homework Lobby

(HALO). This aims to ensure that students achieve their

scholarly potential.

Enterprise coaching provided by “100pro!” eases the

administrative burden on enterprises associated with

recruiting apprentices, drawing up training curricula,

or conducting qualification interviews. This enables the

enterprises concerned to focus on the practical training.

Association training is designed to enable even small

enterprises and specialist firms to create training

places with a broad curriculum. The apprentices are

employed by the Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce,

and complete their specialist training in accordance

with a carefully-coordinated deployment schedule at a

succession of affiliated enterprises. An association

agreement stipulates precise details of the collaboration

between the Chamber of Commerce and the individual

enterprises.

“100pro!” currently oversees 170 apprentices in a wide

variety of fields. 25 are completing vocational training

within the association of different enterprises, 60

apprentices are benefiting from enterprise coaching,

and an average of 80 apprentices receive trainee

coaching.

The active combination of specialist and training skills

means young people with successful qualifications

reach the labour market. This is helping to tackle the

shortage of qualified workers,” says Ivan Schurte, Head

of the Vocational Training Department at the Chamber

of Commerce.

Interview

For Remo Kluser,

Head of Vocational Training at

Hilti AG, dual vocational training

has great export potential.

www.liechtenstein.li/

education


oho#3

GOOD TO

KNOW

BACHELOR (BSc)

Architecture

Business Administration

MASTER (MSc)

Architecture

Entrepreneurship

Finance

Information Systems

DOCTORATE (PhD)

Architecture and Planning

Business Economics

www.uni.li 27


Business/Education

The Altruistic

Founder

Florian Büchel knows what career he wants to pursue.

That wasn’t always the case. For this reason he founded

mychoice.info together with two friends. With this online

platform, he helps young people find the vocational

training courses they want – in an honorary capacity.

Text: Silke Knöbl

“When I was younger, I wanted to be an ice hockey goalie,” says Florian

Büchel. Why? Because the sport fascinated him. He never actually played,

though. Later he wanted to become a landscape gardener. “I’ve always

loved the outdoor environment.” At the end of the day, he decided to

complete a commercial apprenticeship at a Liechtenstein bank. “I wanted

to follow in my father’s footsteps.”

Young people often do not know what occupation they should learn. They

are unfamiliar with very many occupations, and do not know precisely

what others involve. In addition, many young people do not make the

choice all by themselves. They are influenced by their teachers and above

all by their parents. The situation wasn’t any different for Florian Büchel.

This is why he is keen, with the project he has launched, to make it easier

for young people to choose the right occupation.

Insights into working life

The platform presents various occupations in videos. Neutral and

authentic. “These days, young people obtain information primarily over

the internet,” says Florian Büchel. “And a multimedia service of this

magnitude has never been available in this region.” The platform is

designed to provide not just young people with insights into

working life, however, but also their parents.

He runs the project in his free time – together

with his two school friends Kevin Gabathuler and

Kevin Frick. The three spent their childhood in

the same village; they attended the same school,

and played football together. To date, over 2,400

working hours have been invested in the

platform.

Discovering

apprenticeship

occupations

The videos on mychoice.info

provide insights into

apprenticeship occupations in

a wide variety of fields.

www.mychoice.info

28


oho#3

Florian Büchel informs pupils

about the platform mychoice.info

that he helped develop.

Award-winning project

The effort has been worthwhile: the

founders have won a number of

competitions, for example the

Liechtenstein Ideas Channel” as well as

the “11 th Interregional Youth Project”. In

addition, they secured a grant of CHF

15,000 from a foundation that helps

promote education and the vocational

further training of young people and

young adults in the region.

The money is being funnelled back into

the project. The high-quality videos are

being produced with the support of an

external company, and do not come cheap.

In addition, mychoice.info will be

expanding into Switzerland in the coming

months. “We want to reach more young

people,” says Florian Büchel.

To promote the activities, he maintains

regular contacts with various professional

associations in Liechtenstein and

Switzerland. Florian Büchel is the project’s

communicator and financial director.

These two roles suit him well. He acquired

know-how and experience while studying

business administration at Liechtenstein

University. “The training had a very

practical emphasis,” explains Florian

Büchel. This has also been a great helpin

his own career.

Responsible tasks

The 26 year-old has worked for a real

estate and fiduciary company since the

Photos: Roland Korner

summer of last year. The company is run

by his father and two further partners. In

a few years the young Liechtensteiner will

be able to take over from his father. An

elegant succession solution, and a

challenging task that Florian Büchel is

already looking forward to.

He will continue to oversee mychoice.info

on a voluntary basis. “We are not aiming

to generate a profit,” says the social

entrepreneur. “After all, when it comes to

earning money, I have my own career.”

The young

entrepreneurs:

from left Kevin

Gabathuler,

Kevin Frick,

Florian Büchel

University of Liechtenstein

The state university is young, with regional

roots and internationally active. It offers

bachelor, master and doctorate studies, as

well as further training programmes in the

fields of architecture and spatial development,

entrepreneurship, financial services

and business IT.

www.uni.li

29


Business/Education

Amusement sector

record-holder

Rollercoasters are the biggest attraction at countless amusement

parks around the globe. Higher, faster, more spectacular:

a Liechtenstein company, Intamin Amusement Rides, is one of the

leading players in the looping, catapult start and rollover business.

Text: Stefan Lenherr

Hidden champions exist, even in Liechtenstein’s

otherwise manageable corporate landscape. This term

refers to companies that are amongst the absolute global

leaders in their particular sector, but have very low public

profiles. Intamin – the acronym stands for International

Amusement Installations – is one of these. Since its

foundation in 1967, the company has been responsible for

planning and constructing over 100 rollercoasters, and

has realised these structures at amusement parks around

the world – inter alia in Disneyland Paris and Europapark

Rust. Yet Intamin is a company that few people outside

the sector have ever heard of.

Intamin’s CEO Patrick Spieldiener is not one to blow his

own trumpet. And it doesn’t bother him in the slightest if

people in Paris, London, Las Vegas or Abu Dhabi ride

Intamin rollercoasters without noticing who created them.

“This is not something that bothers us in the slightest,”

says Spieldiener. “Customers who want to realise a new

track with us need to get very closely involved in the

process. For this reason, the customer deserves to collect

the credit and leverage the marketing effect.” For this

reason, it is also absolutely taboo for him to talk about

current or forthcoming projects.

New records in sight

By the nature of things, park operators tend to be less

self-effacing when it comes to public relations. For this

reason it has been possible to ascertain that Intamin is

currently involved in a major project in Orlando, Florida.

According to the industry journal “InPark Magazine”, the

founder of the company US Thrill Rides, Bill Kitchen, is

planning a USD 300 million attraction named Skyplex,

including a rollercoaster that will set a whole range of

records. Amongst other things, the 173 metre

“Skyscraper”, that is set to go into operation in 2018, will

be the tallest rollercoaster in the world. To make sure the

project is a success, he is drawing upon the services of

Intamin. In an interview in “InPark Magazine”, Kitchen is

fulsome in his praise for the Liechtenstein-based

company. “We couldn’t be happier, having Intamin on

board.” After all, Intamin has a well-founded reputation

for building record-breaking rollercoasters.

Faster than a Formula 1 Ferrari

The fastest, the highest, the most spectacular: in

saturated markets such as the USA, superlatives are an

essential part of the business when it comes to keeping

the competition at bay. And Intamin knows all about

30


oho#3

Photo: Jean-Jacques Ruchti

Patrick Spieldiener is Chairman of Intamin

Amusement Rides and Intamin Transportation,

both headquartered in Schaan, Liechtenstein.

Mobility for the future

In addition to the amusement park side of the

business, Spieldiener also runs another company

for transport solutions. Its monorail systems are

already successfully in operation in a number of

cities, such as Moscow and Hamburg. Intamin

Transportation recently won an order to build a

monorail in the Italian city of Bologna. The socalled

Marconi Express will link the airport with

the main railway station. Intamin’s boss would

also like to create a similar project in the

Liechtenstein capital. A track from the Rhinepark

Stadium to Vaduz town centre could be realised

relatively inexpensively, and would also be a

tourist attraction.

Interview

The Intamin rollercoaster

Millennium Force in the

US state of Ohio set

a number of world records

when it opened.

Intamin’s CEO Patrick

Spieldiener reveals his favourite

rollercoaster, and what visitors to

amusement parks of the future

can look forward to.

www.liechtenstein-business.li/

rollercoaster

31

Photos: Intamin


Business/Education

Advertorial

setting records. The company was also responsible for what

is currently the world’s fastest rollercoaster, the Formula

Rossa in the Ferrari World Amusement Park in Abu Dhabi.

With the help of a 25,000 PS hydraulic system, visitors here

are accelerated to a velocity of 240 kph within just 4.9

seconds. In the light of such impressive performance data,

even the normally understated Intamin CEO is liable to get a

little excited. “This is a stunning engineering achievement.

Not even a Formula 1 Ferrari manages to accelerate like

that.” Yet further upside potential still remains. Technical

developments are making it easier for engineers and

designers to set new records with rollercoasters. “People

today can’t withstand more than people 100 years ago, before

blacking out,” explains Spieldiener. “With today’s technical

resources, however, we can plan acceleration curves with far

greater precision. Much is still possible.”

Innovation is the decider

Even after almost 50 years in the business, Spieldiener and

his 500 employees around the world never seem to tire when

it comes to tinkering on new attractions. Intamin certainly

cannot afford to rest on its laurels. “In our industry,

innovation decides the match.”

For this reason, the company realises at least one new track

each year. For the competition never sleeps. Quite the

contrary: it copies everything that works. According to

Spieldiener, a new development has a half-life of two to four

years. The lead evaporates after this time, and then the

competition will have the same features in their own

programmes, but cheaper. “For us, it is then no longer so

interesting. We always need to be a step ahead.”

And what will the future bring? “One trend is certainly that

in future rollercoaster riders will be wearing virtual reality

goggles,” says Spieldiener. “This will give tracks a second

life, because the ride experience will be completely different.

If Intamin ever pushes its systems to physical limits, then it

will still be possible to go higher with virtual reality. “If the

sense of acceleration was synchronised with what one was

seeing through the goggles, for example, then entirely new

possibilities could be opened up. For example, simulated

space travel.”

kommod – focus on

business success

The comprehensive range of services on offer at the

new kommod in Ruggell is unique for the Liechtenstein

business world. Nothing has been left to chance.

Individual small and open-plan offices, a modern

business and data centre, copy centre, seminar

facilities, hotel rooms, restaurant and the Parklusiv

for exclusive wishes. The kommod exudes a positive

atmosphere that forms a central foundation for

successful companies. Exploiting synergies, realising

innovation and achieving success – that is “kommod”.

kommod – Offices & Business Premises

Industriering 14, Ruggell

T +423 377 37 77

www.kommod.li

32


Advertorial

oho#3

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Further information

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33


Food/Culture

A flair for

innovative ideas

The organic tenant farm that Franky Willinger and his wife Leni have run in

the Vaduz Riet region since 2009 is exemplary. With tremendous energy and

innovation, the young couple have built up a henhouse for organic eggs as well

as a direct marketing operation, in addition to the dairy side of the enterprise.

A business concept that emphasises a love of nature and of animals.

Text: Niki Eder · Photos: Eddy Risch

34


oho#3

4:40 a.m. It is pitch

black outside – and

cold. While the vast

majority of the

population are still

slumbering peacefully

in their beds, it is time

for Franky and Leni

Willinger to get up.

Their 50 dairy cows are

already waiting. As is

the farm dog Tina, who

welcomes her masters

with an eagerly

wagging tail as they

enter the stables. On

the way to the milking stand, the 33 year-old farmer gently

scratches the brows of some of the trusting cows as he

passes. Then the work begins. The dairy cows are already

lining up expectantly. “Each animal has its own character,”

says Franky Willinger. “There are real personalities

amongst them. One grows really fond of them.”

While the farmer is milking his cows, his wife Leni attends

to the boxes and the feeding of the calves. The two are a

well-rehearsed team, work hand in hand – and have already

performed many tasks by the time they sit down at the

breakfast table at 7:30 a.m. with their two children, 4 yearold

Malin and 6 year-old Björn. Spending time together

with the family is important to the couple. It gives them

new strength and energy to tackle the tasks of the day. And

there is certainly never any shortage of things to do on a

farm. Straight after breakfast, it is time to visit the

henhouse. And in addition to the dairy cows and hens, there

are also 40 calves and two farm donkeys to look after.

Realising a childhood dream

Franky Willinger loves his profession. Yet his career path

was not always straightforward. While he spent every

available minute as a child either in his grandmother’s

sheep stables and pigsty, or in their neighbour’s cowshed,

there was never a family farm that he might be able to take

over one day – which would have enabled him to become

self-employed. For this reason, when the time came for him

to choose an occupation, he abandoned his dream of

completing a farming apprenticeship, and signed up for a

commercial apprenticeship at a Triesenberg-based haulage

contractor instead. Franky Willinger completed the

apprenticeship successfully – yet he never entirely forsook

his real passion, farming. He continued to spend a large

part of his free time helping out on his neighbour’s farm,

and during the summer months he worked on high-altitude

Alpine pastures.

It soon became

apparent: office life

was never going to be

his metier. And so, at

the age of 20, Franky

Willinger took time out

– and spent a year in

Canada, working on a

farm, while all the

time learning English.

A fantastic experience

that brought him back

to Canada two years

later. On the second

occasion, Franky met

the woman who has

now become his wife. “That was more than just a

coincidence,” he says. “I was travelling with a friend of

mine, from one side of the country to the other, when one

day we met a group of girls from Switzerland in a pub. One

of them was Leni.” Back in Liechtenstein, Franky was

unable to get his new acquaintance out of his mind – and so

he cunningly arranged to accidentally bump into Leni in a

bar one evening in her hometown of Sax. From then on, the

two were inseparable.

Leni, who had herself grown up on a farm, before training

as a chef, also dreamed about living on a farm. She

consequently encouraged her boyfriend to begin a farming

apprenticeship, at long last. “I am certain that I would have

done it myself one day, anyway,” says Franky. “But Leni

certainly shortened the decision-making process.” Franky

Willinger attended the School of Agriculture in Salez for two

years. During the years thereafter he obtained additional

qualifications, working on a part-time basis, and became a

master craftsman in agriculture. Then, all that was lacking

was the right farm. Initially, the young couple looked abroad

for corresponding opportunities. A trip to Canada had

already been booked, where they

were going to explore the

possibilities. But then things

turned out very differently.

The opportunity to lease the

Riethof

At the beginning of 2008 the

young couple saw an ad, in which

the Municipality of Vaduz put the

Riethof Farm in the Vaduz Riet region

out to tender. “Although we did not think

we had much of a chance, we had nothing to

lose, so we submitted our application,” says

Franky Willinger.

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Food/Culture

oho#3

“When our application was approved only a few months later, we could

hardly believe our eyes.” The Triesenberg-born farmer beat 30 other

applicants to secure the farm. A happy turn of events, and one that

shelved all emigration plans for the foreseeable future.

In March 2009 Franky and Leni, who in the interim had got married,

took possession of the empty buildings of Riethof Farm. The farmer had

to buy the cows and necessary machinery himself. But this did not sate

his appetite for innovation. When he was approached by a businessman

from Liechtenstein, who enquired whether he had thought about

producing organic eggs for the local region, he sprung at the idea. “The

investment in a new henhouse was one of our best decisions,” says

Franky Willinger. “Organic eggs from the region are in short supply –

meaning that demand is correspondingly high. Today, we supply 20

stores in Liechtenstein and in the neighbouring St. Gallen Rhine Valley

region with eggs and various other products, twice a week.”

Eggs that can be eaten with a clear conscience. For the 500 chickens on

the farm make a palpably happy impression. Their plumage is luxuriant,

and they can move freely between the henhouse and spacious outdoor

pens. State-of-the-art technology means feeding is fully-automated, and a

conveyor belt transports the eggs to the barn for processing. Twice a day,

Leni or Franky checks the eggs, cleans

them, sorts them according to size and

packs them in egg trays. Franky’s

father, who is retired, often helps

with this task.

But the henhouse is not the

only innovation on Riethof

Farm. The couple have also

built up a direct-marketing

operation. In addition to their

organic eggs, they also use this to

sell meat products, alpine cheese,

fondue, jams and much more. “Leni is

in charge of the marketing side, and I help

out when she needs support,” explains Franky Willinger. “In the stables

it’s the other way round.” And as if that was not enough responsibility,

Franky Willinger is also involved in numerous organisations, such as the

Liechtenstein Milk Association, the Alpine Cooperative or the Education

Commission of the Teaching Association of St. Gallen-Appenzell-

Liechtenstein.

Those who see the sparkle in the eyes of Franky Willinger, when he talks

about his work, know: he is a farmer through and through. “Despite the

huge number of regulations, I love the sheer diversity of this job. If one is

innovative and full of energy, there are many ways to make a success of

farming.” And so it comes as no great surprise when he says: “Of course,

life on a farm can be tough. Yet above all, it is also wonderful. Who else

can say that they have made their favourite hobby their profession?”

Liechtenstein is the

organic world champion

In Liechtenstein, the state supports sustainable farming

practices. As a result, label programmes cover all farm

produce. More than 30 percent of farms adhere to the

strict Swiss organic production criteria. In a country

ranking, Liechtenstein is the organic world champion.

While large countries such as Australia, Argentina or

the USA continue to lead the pack in sheer volume

terms, the situation soon changes when one considers

the percentage share of organic farming in relation to

total farming production. This is where small countries

really come into their own – first and foremost

Liechtenstein. With an impressive organic farming

ratio of over 30 percent, the Principality of

Liechtenstein is the undisputed organic world

champion.

Liechtenstein farming

facts and figures

• 0.8 % of the working population in Liechtenstein

are employed in the agricultural or forestry sector

• 109 recognised farms.

• 33 organic farms (30.3 % share).

• Around 3,600 hectares of agricultural land.

This means agricultural land accounts for approx.

22 % of total land in the Principality.

• Around 6,000 cattle, of which 2,800 cows.

One third of the cattle spend the summer in the

Liechtenstein Alps.

• Around 60 dairy farms produce 14 million

kilograms of milk.

The average farmer is 48.5 years of age.

(source: Office of Statistics, Farming Statistics 2013)

Photo: Roland Korner

37


Food/Culture

Stubborn donkey? –

certainly not!

At the legendary Donkey Festival in Malbun there are

only winners. Yet one question remains: who is the

most stubborn – man or beast? A visit to the

entertaining popular Malbun festival.

Text and Photos: Doris Büchel

38


oho#3

What a stubborn donkey! This assessment is heard from spectators every

August, when the legendary Donkey Festival is staged. Stubborn donkey?

One may ask: who is the stubborn one – the man who is pulling and

pushing and tempting the donkey to complete the course with all (legal)

means at his disposal? Or the donkey that doesn’t really see why it should

hurry, because it knows that at the end of the day it will be getting plenty

of care and attention and a sack of carrots, whatever the outcome. But

first things first…

Donkey takes its time

The Organising Committee chaired by Normann Bühler chose a glorious

summer day in August 2015 to stage the 19 th Donkey Festival. Dark

green meadows, bright blue skies and a gentle breeze attracted hundreds

of spectators from Liechtenstein and abroad to Malbun to watch the event,

overlooked by the Peace Chapel. None of them were to be disappointed:

the starting line-up was long, lamas and alpacas were included as

starters for the first time. And in stark contrast to conventional

competitions, where the decisive criteria are faster, higher and better,

what spectators at the Donkey Festival enjoy best is when not everything

on the course goes to plan – which is frequently the case.

While laymen are wont to describe donkeys as being stubborn and

irascible, this is an unfair view of these gentle and intelligent animals. In

fact, donkeys simply like to take their time. Their own sweet time.

Incidentally: who says everything always has to move faster and exactly

according to plan? Why not stop for a moment and ruminate, enjoying the

wonderful mountain panorama? Why not nibble on a tuft of grass? Or

simply potter along for the fun of it? Quite. By the end of the Festival, fun

had been had by nearly everyone: the spectators, who were highly

amused by the events of the day. The victor, who completed the course

with the donkey Tommy in just 58 seconds. And even the donkey Sorry,

who – as befitting his name and the four resolutely refused hurdles –

required many times the winning time to complete a total of seven

hurdles, and consequently trailed the field by a substantial margin. Yet

neither Tommy nor Sorry were much bothered either way. For: there are

only winners at the Malbun Donkey Festival, and the same prize for

everyone – a large sack full of carrots, and no end of tender loving care.

It’s your own fault if you miss the event

By the way: in addition to the course with hurdles, the Donkey Festival

also features a “Donkey Grand Prix”. The winner is the first donkey to

complete the course before the watchful eyes and encouraging cries of

the many spectators lining the route leading from the Alpine Hotel Vögeli

to the Valley Station Sareis, and back. Once again, this extremely

entertaining race demonstrates that donkeys prefer being encouraged,

rather than being drilled, and that practically nothing unsettles them.

And because taking part in the Donkey Festival is more important than

winning, some riders go on to complete a round of honour – not always

voluntarily, but nevertheless. Whatever: at the end of the day, all are the

same and all have good reason to be happy: the donkeys who can graze to

their heart’s content on the green meadows. And the visitors who can

spend the end of a convivial day in or around the festival marquee, at the

heart of Malbun.

2016 Donkey Festival

Good news: on 6 August 2016 the Malbun Donkey

Festival Association will be staging the 20 th

Donkey Festival. For this purpose, the sevenstrong

Organising Committee holds regular

meetings to ensure an eventful and entertaining

supporting programme for young and old. “We

invite you all to visit Malbun on 6 August, and to

play an active part in our Donkey Festival,” says

Normann Bühler, Chairman of the Association.

The Organising Committee has always stuck to its

tried and trusted concept. Attention focuses on

the donkeys, along with visitor conviviality.

Visitors may rest assured: Association members

make their own animals available to all those who

do not have a donkey in their own stables.

Moreover, alpacas and lamas will once again be

part of the family festival.

Young nature-lovers

By the way: the Association has no shortage of

young members – animals, as well as people. The

Association has around 60 members, and a steady

stream of new young members. “Young people in

Triesenberg are fond of animals and the natural

environment,” says Bühler. With so much good

news, nothing can stand in the way of a

successful 20 th Donkey Festival in Malbun.

Online-Video

Want to experience the

Donkey Festival close up? An

entertaining video and further

photos are available under

www.tourismus.li/

donkeyfestival


Food/Culture

Event highlights

2016/2017

Whether young or old, trendy or traditional – boredom is taboo in Liechtenstein.

Throughout the year, a large number of events provide entertainment in municipalities

across the Principality. Visitors can enjoy regional and international theatre productions,

can explore new ideas during readings or at the Vaduz Film Festival, or can dance the

night away at music festivals. The following is a list of selected events in Liechtenstein.

The full list of current events is available under www.tourismus.li/events.

European Football Championship

Boulevard in Vaduz

10 June – 10 July 2016,

Vaduz Städtle

www.em-meile.li

17 th LGT Alpine Marathon

11 June 2016, from Bendern to

Malbun

www.lgt-alpin-marathon.li

FL1 Life Festival

1 – 2 July 2016 Schaan,

SAL Saal am Lindenplatz

www.fl1.life

Rock around Malbun

2 – 3 July 2016 Malbun

www.rockaroundmalbun.li

24 th LiGiTa Liechtenstein

Guitar Festival

2 – 9 July 2016

Liechtensteiner Unterland

www.ligita.li

2016 CEV Beach Volleyball

20 – 24 July 2016, Vaduz Städtle

www.beachvolley.li

Vaduz Film Festival

4 – 8 August 2016,

Vaduz, Peter-Kaiser-Platz

www.filmfest.li

Donkey Festival in Malbun

6 August 2016,

Malbun, Lift Station Täli

www.eselfest.li

Liechtenstein National Day

15 August 2016, Vaduz

www.staatsfeiertag.li

The Princely Liechtenstein Tattoo

1 – 3 September 2016

Schellenberg, Castle Ruins

www.princely-tattoo.li

21 st LIHGA (Liechtenstein Industry,

Commerce and Trade Show)

2 – 10 September 2016,

Schaan, Messeplatz

www.lihga.li

Golden Fly Series –

World Class Light Athletics

8 September 2016,

Schaan, Lindenplatz

www.verein-isl.li

Beiza Festival

23 September 2016, Schaan

www.beizafestival.li

Triesenberger Weeks –

typical domestic cuisine

14 October to 20 November 2016

Triesenberg

www.tourismus.li

Start of the Winter Sport Season

Ski Resort Malbun

8 December 2016, Malbun

www.bergbahnen.li

Christmas Market Vaduz

10 and 11 December 2016,

Vaduz Städtle

Fasnacht (Carnival)

23 – 28 February 2017,

Liechtenstein

www.fasnacht.li

slowUp Werdenberg-Liechtenstein

7 May 2017, Liechtenstein/Werdenberg

www.slowup-werdenberg-liechtenstein.ch

Liechtenstein National Day

15 August 2017, Vaduz

www.staatsfeiertag.li

40


oho#3

Photo: Roland Korner

Liechtenstein is Guest

of Honour at OLMA 2016

From 13 to 23 October 2016, Liechtenstein will be showcasing itself for the

fifth time as the Guest of Honour at OLMA, one of the biggest public and

consumer goods fairs in Switzerland. The motto this year is the traditional

dialect greeting “hoi metanand”, and aims to trigger positive associations

and curiosity amongst visitors.

“hoi metanand” – everyone who has ever been to Liechtenstein will have heard this traditional

greeting at least once. It expresses the local population’s idiosyncratic closeness, openness and

cordiality. And these are precisely the qualities that Liechtenstein’s presence at OLMA is

intended to highlight. The country aims to take visitors positively by surprise, and to remain in

good and affectionate memory thereafter.

Discover Liechtenstein

The centrepiece of the presence at OLMA is the 600 m 2 Special Liechtenstein Show. Over the

course of the ten-day event, visitors will have the opportunity to explore and discover

Liechtenstein in all its facets, and to experience Liechtenstein directly. A particular emphasis

will be on the good and long-standing relations between Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

The highlight of the OLMA event in St. Gallen will be the Guest of Honour Day on Saturday,

15 October 2006. Liechtenstein associations will be using this opportunity to present the

diversity of the Principality of Liechtenstein in a colourful programme. In the morning,

around 1,000 Liechtenstein citizens will pass through the streets of St. Gallen’s city centre

in a cheerful procession. In the afternoon, Liechtenstein citizens will be staging an arena

programme on the OLMA site. This will therefore be the ideal day on which to experience

Liechtenstein in person together with family and friends. In 2016, the Principality will also

be the centrepiece of the popular OLMA animal show. This will present special aspects

and achievements of livestock breeding in Liechtenstein. So don’t miss OLMA!

A fascinating experience, with guaranteed positive surprises.

41


Princely Moments

Museum and

Adventure Pass

www.erlebnispass.li/en

Experience Liechtenstein.

The «Liechtenstein all inclusive»-Card gives visitors free admission

or discounts to over 20 great attractions and sights throughout Liechtenstein -

for only 23 Swiss francs!

42

Liechtenstein Center

Städtle 39, 9490 Vaduz, Liechtenstein, T +423 239 63 63, info@liechtenstein.li, www.tourismus.li/en


The high-altitude settlement

at “Hinder Prufatscheng”

oho#3

400 year-old Walser house in Triesenberg

Triesenberg is a traditional mountain village in Liechtenstein. With roots as a Walser settlement

dating back to the 13th/14th century, the municipality continues to honour its venerable history.

Patrik Birrer, Head of the Cultural Heritage Division in Liechtenstein, has studied the architecture

of the historic houses in detail, and explains how the Walser spirit is identifiable in the settlement

to this day. Interview: Niki Eder

Mr Birrer, the style of the timber construction is

often said to be typically Walser. Does a

characteristic Walser house architecture really

exist, and is this to be found in all Walser

settlements?

Patrik Birrer: Due to the forested areas and the

availability of construction timber, wood has since

time immemorial been the favoured construction

material in our Alpine region. Timber architecture

is therefore not per se typically Walser. But if one

reflects that many Walser settlements came about

through deforestation, use of this available wood

for construction purposes naturally makes sense.

In Liechtenstein, corresponding construction

materials and construction methods are chosen for

the three main applications of masonry, post

construction and log construction. Use of the

different timber construction methods changed

over time. Post construction predates the log

construction method, which gradually became

established only around 1500 AD. Most were twostorey

wooden buildings, with cellars, or the timber

and masonry house – e.g. with a masonry kitchen.

And what did the interior of the old Walser

houses look like?

Residential building typology and the development

of their configuration was determined by the

fireplace or hearth as the central element in a

house.

Patrik Birrer,

Head of the Cultural Heritage

Division in Liechtenstein

43


Food/Culture

The shift from the open hearth to the enclosed, smoke-free iron

cooker and stove had a major impact on the development of

residential housing. For this reason, house design remained broadly

the same in our settlements from the Late Middle Ages to the end of

the Second World War; the so-called “three-room house”. The

functional subdivision of the ground floor into a parlour and sideparlour

with kitchen to one side, and bedrooms on the upper floor

became established as early as in the Late Middle Ages. This means

we no longer speak of typical “Walser architecture”. In Triesenberg,

the old wooden houses, discoloured by the sun, with their striking

gabled façades facing towards the valley are certainly characteristic.

The Walser Museum at the

centre of the village of Triesenberg

Where is the one-time dispersed Walser

settlement still to be seen in the municipality?

Scattered pre-historic finds and Romanic plot names

such as Guflina, Lavadina etc. provide ample evidence

that the area was already in use well before the arrival of the

Walser. The Walser initially settled at higher altitudes, and spread

down towards the valley only later. This resulted in settlements

comprising individual hamlets. Masescha was one of the earliest

Walser settlements, is located at an altitude of around 1,250 metres,

and to this day is one of the most beautiful places in Liechtenstein.

Despite the many buildings that have been constructed in recent

decades, the old hamlets within the village are still clearly

identifiable, and contribute towards its overall appearance. The

high-altitude settlement on “Hinder Prufatscheng” is a very special

and tranquil site. This originated as a settlement in a forest

clearing. The hamlet is characterised by two homesteads dating

from the mid-16 th and 19 th centuries, and several hay-barns. In the

18 th century, four families lived here. A century later there were

only two families. Since 1979, the old “Prufatschenger House”,

which is now a protected historic monument, has been owned by

the Municipality of Triesenberg. The municipality renovated and

partially reconstructed the building in an exemplary fashion in

1983/84.

44

Walser Culture

Further information about

Walser culture is available

under:

www.tourismus.li/walserspirit

Many buildings in Triesenberg date back to the days of the

Walser. In your view, which is the most important building of all?

The St. Theodul Chapel on Masescha is of particular historical

significance. This was the first church established by the migrant

Walsers on Masescha. The earliest structure was probably built

around 1300 AD, and the earliest written record of the chapel

dates from 1465. The chapel will undergo a thorough restoration in

the coming year.

Many new buildings have been erected since the 1950s, and

this has greatly changed the appearance of the village. As a

consequence, the separate hamlets are increasingly merging

together. What is your assessment of the architectural

developments of Triesenberg, from a historical preservation

viewpoint?

All municipalities in Liechtenstein have undergone significant

change in recent decades. On account of its typical settlement

structure, Triesenberg has at least been able to preserve its villagelike

character. If it continues to prove possible in future to ensure a

healthy and high-quality mix of old houses and new buildings,

then we will be making a significant contribution towards

preserving the visual character of Triesenberg. There are still a

great many historic buildings in Triesenberg. These are of

crucial importance for the municipality’s sense of

identity, as well as for that of Liechtenstein as a whole.

For this reason, they need to be looked after and

protected accordingly.

In which areas do you personally feel that the

one-time Walser spirit is still present in the

municipality today?

In recognition of their forest-clearance work, the “Free

Walsers” were accorded special rights and freedoms by the

country’s rulers. The “free hereditary lease”, for example,

established particularly favourable ownership and utilisation

rights. They were exempted from taxes, and were merely required

to make an interest payment. In the year 1618, under the Count of

Hohenems, the special rights of the Walsers were rescinded. That

is to say, they became serfs, like all the other inhabitants of the

country. Their free spirit, together with their well-developed sense

of pride, self-assurance and idiosyncratic dialect is still tangible to

this day. This makes it fascinating to work together with the

“Bärgern”, to use the dialect term, and simultaneously challenging.

For this reason, in the mainstream of the present day, the “Walser

spirit” certainly enriches our culture in the Rhine Valley region!

Walser tip

For those who are interested in the myths, legends and stories of the

ancient Walsers, the WalserSagenWeg (”Walser Saga Path”) is ideal.

Hikers encounter bizarre figures here, such as for example the

“Wildmannli” (“Wild Man”) or the “Feuerroten Geissbock” (“Fire-Red

Billy-Goat”), and discover what the “Nachtvolk” (“Night People”) are all

about. A very special adventure path. www.tourismus.li/fabletrail


Advertorial

oho#3

“Doing Everything By Hand –

Farm Labour 100 Years Ago”

MuseumMura has a collection of folklore objects that is

unique in Liechtenstein. These document not just the

development of artisanship, but also of farming. The

current exhibition presents a selection of objects that

highlight the topic of work in the fields.

The Princely Liechtenstein

Tattoo Historic Castle Ruins Schellenberg

In 2016, the “Princely Tattoo” will be celebrating its

5 th anniversary at the Historic Castle Ruins in

Schellenberg. Once again, visitors will be able to

enjoy music played by high-quality military and

police bands from Europe, outstanding international

ensembles, a fantastic atmosphere, unforgettable

shows and an impressive setting. The event is

popular amongst fans and spectators alike, on

account of the unique charm that emanates from the

Historic Castle Ruins in their forest setting.

Further information & tickets

1 to 3 September 2016

300 participants, 7 nations / around 5,000 spectators

www.princely-tattoo.li/en

CULTURE IN LIECHTENSTEIN

Duration: until March 2017

Opening hours: every first Sunday in the month.

1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., entrance free of charge

Guided tours: possible during the week, by arrangement

www.museummura.li

Themed paths and

educational paths

The best way to combine recreation with the natural

environment and knowledge? Themed paths and educational

paths! In Liechtenstein there are 16 paths that convey

information in a wide variety of ways. For example, the

Researcher Path in Malbun, the Walser Saga Path in

Triesenberg or the Cultural Path in Schaan. There is

something for every taste. Fascinating experiences for the

whole family are guaranteed.

Further information:

www.tourismus.li/themedtrails

45


Food/Culture

Neighbourhood Culture

A small country like Liechtenstein cannot and should never try to cut itself off

from the rest of the world. Globalisation is the order of the day. And has been

since 1806, when Liechtenstein achieved independence. The nurturing of

relations with its immediate neighbours is part of its day-to-day business, as is

the international reach of political and economic endeavours. Culture also plays

a part in this; it establishes points of reference for international networking.

Text: Elisabeth Huppmann · Illustration: Stephanie Ganahl (School of Art)

Everyone knows how valuable good neighbourly relations

are. A small country like Liechtenstein, encompassing

territory of only 160 km 2 , is no doubt more conscious of its

neighbours than large countries are likely to be. An

inherently outward perspective prevails, without losing

sight of the country’s own particular characteristics. The

result is rigorously nurtured neighbourly relations.

A neighbour shares a similar environment, and

consequently experiences similar political, economic and

social changes. It faces the same problems and challenges

of the present day and age. Nevertheless, it sees and

evaluates these differently. On account of varying

backgrounds and capabilities, different solutions may be

attempted. To make the most of these, though, neighbours

have to make a move in the direction of each other. One

needs to get to know and value one another, to identify

common ground, and not to view differences as problems,

but instead as having fruitful potential. Far removed from

political and economic bias, culture establishes the first

shared points of reference. These can develop into genuine

connections. The result is cultural networking at the

international level.

Culture without borders

For in contrast to the state, culture knows no boundaries.

It mediates in places where linguistic or sociocultural

differences hinder exchanges. It brings people together,

prompts discussion and presents new approaches. With its

historic roots and long-standing development, it also

Elisabeth Huppmann,

Culture Manager and Culture

Representative of the

Municipality of

Mauren-Schaanwald

contributes towards a deeper sense of identity. An

important process, and one that no country – whether large

or small – should attempt to circumvent. “Culture in its

entirety is huge, endless cooperation,” said the Swedish

author August Strindberg. Each party needs to contribute

their own ideas to this cooperation, to accede that other

parties have different opinions, and to be open for

innovation. This requires a degree of curiosity, which is yet

another inherent characteristic of culture.

The fact that over 3,000 private individuals in Liechtenstein

– where the total population is around 37,500 – play an

active part in associations, clubs or in the cultural field,

demonstrates that cultural commitment in the Principality

has a long tradition. The prosperity of the general

population favours this private involvement, and it is also

46


oho#3

promoted by state and business sectors. In addition, numerous

institutions with good reputations beyond national borders are also

involved in the cultural field. This no doubt explains why a great

many foundations have been set up to promote cultural activities.

Thanks to the long-standing cultural involvement of all these

parties, Liechtenstein can be seen – and has to be seen – as more

than just a centre for finance and business, but also as a cultural

landscape. Cultural policy endeavours of recent years, such as e.g.

cultural agreements with Switzerland and Austria, underscore the

determination to promote this image abroad. At the political level,

this is realised by means of treaties. In the cultural field, crossborder

projects and guest performances have a similar effect.

These range from classic cultural projects such as the “Reiseziel

Museum” cooperation project (cooperation with Voralberg), the

“Heimspiel” art competition (cooperation with Eastern Switzerland

and Voralberg), through guest theatrical performances staged by

the Vienna Burgtheater and Volkstheater, the Deutsche Theatre

Berlin or the Zurich Schauspielhaus at the TAK

Theatre Liechtenstein, to jointly-funded

acquisitions for the collection of the

Liechtenstein Museum of Art

(Ricke Collection, 2006).

Cultural exchange

The nurturing of

cultural relations

produces results not

just in Liechtenstein

itself. Liechtenstein

regularly takes part

in the Frankfurt and

Leipzig Book Fairs, is

part of foreign cultural

festivals (Poolbar) and

presents itself at major

international cultural events

(Venice Biennial). The Liechtenstein

National Museum and the Liechtenstein

Museum of Art pursue intensive exchanges at the regional

and international levels. Such undertakings are beneficial for both

sides, as was demonstrated by the brokering of the “Matheliebe”

exhibition to the Egyptian Museum in Munich, and the many joint

exhibitions that have been organised over the years. Typical for

Liechtenstein is the fact that local interests are not overlooked

either. Seven of the eleven political municipalities maintain their

own cultural institutions, and almost all municipalities help to

nurture local history and local customs through their own

collections of cultural assets.

Culture builds bridges

All this clearly demonstrates how intensively Liechtenstein

cultivates good neighbourly relations. At local, regional and

international levels. The past has shown that culture is an

important bridge builder. In a country that is bounded by

mountains and the River Rhine, this factor should not be

underestimated. Culture mediates between municipalities,

regions and countries, operates across borders and boosts

understanding between peoples. It helps ensure that

neighbourliness is understood not merely as a “community of

location” (in accordance with the sociological theory of Ferdinand

Tönnies). Culture establishes proximity, awakens curiosity, offers

support, highlights common ground and differences, focuses

attention, strengthens the sense of identity and undermines

socio-cultural boundaries.

Involvement in outside activities helps make inside activities

discernible. “If we were able to see ourselves

through the eyes of our neighbours,

we would often envy

ourselves,” declares the

Swiss journalist Walter

Ludin. Liechtenstein

understands the

value of a

positive outside

perspective.

This means the

cultivation of

neighbourly

relations –

irrespective of

whether this is at

the political,

economic, social or

cultural level – has long

been an integral part of domestic

cultural endeavours. The culture of a

small country that is aware of its boundaries, yet

sees these not as an obstacle, and instead as an opportunity. If

culture is accorded the value it deserves, it can make an important

contribution towards positive neighbourly relations, to living

together in an age of increasing isolation, to exchanging ideas in

an age of seemingly insurmountable differences. And if – as the

Austrian dramatist Johann Nepomuk Nestroy once opined –

“culture begins in the heart of each individual”, then each

individual contributes towards the nurturing of good neighbourly

relations. In short: genuine neighbourly culture!

47


Food/Culture

A country between

two book covers

Historical and entertaining whodunits and

adventure stories are his speciality. In his

latest work, Armin Öhri, prize-winning author

and founder of the Liechtenstein Literary

Salon, takes a look at Liechtenstein’s history.

An encounter in a coffee shop with someone

who certainly does not correspond to the cliché

of an author, yet writes because he cannot do

otherwise. Text: Doris Büchel · Photos: Roland Korner

48


oho#3

Liechtenstein – Roman einer Nation” [which translates as:

Liechtenstein – Novel of a Nation”] is the modest title of his latest

work. “My goal was to portrait the country of Liechtenstein,” says

Ruggell-born Armin Öhri. He was born in 1978, and lives today

with his family in Grabs, on the other side of the River Rhine. The

result is a substantial novel, a national epic tale of the history of

his home country from the 1920s to the present. “I did this by

tracing the life of my protagonist, who was born in 1921. Through

following the blows of fate that affected him, the reader learns

details of Liechtenstein’s history.” The Rhine flooding of 1927 –

the worst natural disaster that the country has ever suffered

– features in the novel, as does the struggle for

women’s votes and the transformation of the

agrarian state into an industrialised nation.

It is not the first time that Öhri has

applied his talent to blend fiction and

historical fact in a book. Indeed, the 38

year-old author has a penchant for the

classic novels of the 19 th century that

fall into the adventure and whodunit

genres. He is particularly fond of heavy

tomes such as Tolstoy’s “War and

Peace”, Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables”

or Robert Musil’s “The Man Without

Qualities”. In this context, curiously, Öhri

describes “The Life and Times of Scrooge

McDuck” by Don Rosa as “one of the most

brilliant works in the book market. Rarely

have I read a literary work that is so

sophisticated and contains such a wealth of

cross-references to all possible books, works

of art and historical facts.”

A huge tome

Wednesday morning, Museum of Art Café, Vaduz. Armin Öhri

orders latte macchiato and croissant. Isn’t an interview

appointment at nine in the morning a little too early for an author?

Practitioners of this profession are popularly thought to sleep until

midday, spend the afternoon wasting their time with

inconsequential tasks, before spending the night scribbling away

at their desks. Öhri laughs. Quite the opposite is the case. Öhri’s

normal working day follows a fairly strict timetable. The father of

a four year-old son, vocational school teacher and lecturer for

scientific writing, pursues literature on a part-time basis. “I would

like to write much more. But for me it is a hobby that I engage in

at a professional level.” Öhri writes because he cannot do

otherwise. If possible, in the evenings, when the family has gone

to bed. He remembers: “Even while at grammar school, I was

always fascinated by the Ancient Romans. So I sat down in front

of my computer at night and wrote my stories. Of course, I did this

“My dream as an

author – to publish this

huge tome one day.”

primarily for myself. But at the back of my mind, even then, I was

considering the possibility of publishing a book about the age of

Caesar one day.” While the dedicated author has still not realised

this ambition, this is a project he is still working on. He has

already read hundreds of original sources, and has studied

hundreds of Roman and Latin works. “That is my dream as an

author – to publish a huge 1,000 page tome one day.” In the

interim, he has been entertaining his readers with the first three

volumes of a historical whodunit series involving the principal

character Julius Bentheim. For “Die dunkle Muse” (“The Dark

Muse”) – Bentheim’s first case, he was awarded the European

Union’s Prize for Literature in 2014.

Absolute global leaders

Armin Öhri is one of many authors who have

emerged from Liechtenstein over the years.

It is for this reason that the initiator of

the Literature Salon and Chairman of

Liechtenstein’s Authors’ Association

“IG Wort” describes the domestic

literary scene as being “very lively”. He

continues: “There are quite a few authors

who are currently publishing works on an

ongoing basis. 2014 was the first year in

which we saw at least eleven literary works

published by high-profile publishers. This is

the equivalent of one for every Liechtenstein

municipality. We are the absolute global

leaders at this level.” Ever since the Literature

Salon was founded in the year 2011, the

organisers have regularly invited well-known

and unknown authors from the region to

attend events, and more lately bloggers as

well. The aim is to improve the level of

networking within the existing literary scene. “We help each

other, exchange ideas, offer young authors a platform, and pursue

our goals together,” says Öhri. More recently, opportunities have

also arisen to appear at international book fairs such as Frankfurt

or Leipzig. “By this means we are beating the drum not just for

ourselves, but also for the Principality of Liechtenstein.”

Culture tip

The Principality of Liechtenstein supports cultural creativity and

inspires hearts and minds with a large number of museums, cultural

monuments and international cultural exhibitions. Looking for a badweather

programme? Then a visit to the Museum Mile in Vaduz will

certainly put the sun back in your lives. In the field of literature, the

Liechtenstein literary house offers a platform to domestic and

international authors.

www.tourismus.li/museums, www.literaturhaus.li

49


Food/Culture

Advertorial

Alpin Resort *** with a view

The high altitude is destined to have an inspiring, calming and recreational effect on its guests

– that is the aim of JUFA Hotel Malbun – Alpin Resort***. At any rate: at the new JUFA Hotel

there is no shortage of things to do and enjoy after a day spent on vacation, a conference or an

excursion.

The Austrian JUFA Hotel Chain opened its first hotel in the

Principality of Liechtenstein in February 2016. The Alpin Resort

located at an altitude of 1,600 metres, directly adjacent to the ski

lifts, has proven popular from the outset. Following their first

winter, the team is now approaching the summer season with

élan. In addition to nature aficionados, outdoor junkies and

families, the Alpin Resort also caters for the needs of corporate

clients. The location amidst the Liechtenstein Alps offers the ideal

setting for seminars, workshops or team-building units. There are

tremendous views of the mountain peaks from the seminar rooms

of the JUFA Hotel. The high altitude means that people with

allergies can breathe easily, as the air is pollen-free. Mites also

have no chance to thrive at 1,600 metres.

In addition to two seminar rooms in the principal building, which

can be joined together to form a single large room if required,

another large room, 10 x 18 metres in size, is also available in the

form of the “JUFA Compact Sports Hall”. The Arena is ideal for

lectures or large corporate groups of 80 persons or more. All

seminar rooms are fitted with state-of-the-art conference

technology. The “Pradameestuba” team supplies refreshments for

seminar breaks as well as lunch and/or evening meals. The

Pradameestuba is the restaurant at the JUFA Hotel. All-inclusive

one-day seminar packages are available at the JUFA Hotel Malbun

– Alpin Resort*** from CHF 59.00 per person.

And if the workshop is extended? Then 66 modern hotel rooms

are available. The hotel has much to offer for the hours following

seminars: the Alpin wellness area comprises three different

saunas where guests can rest and relax. A fitness room is also

provided for those with energy to burn. Football matches can also

be played in the JUFA Arena. In the evenings, the events of the

day can be discussed at the bar of the JUFA Hotel, and informal

brainstorming can be pursued in preparation for the next

workshop day.

Facilities such as the Pradameestuba, Wellness Oasis, Restaurant,

Sports Hall or the Childplay Area can also be used by guests who

are not staying at the JUFA Hotel Malbun – Alpin Resort***.

Bedroom

Pradamestuba

www.jufa.eu/malbun

50

Seminar rooms


Advertorial

oho#3

kommod – Hotel & Restaurant

stylish, down-to-earth and special

The restaurant is the centrepiece and meeting place at “kommod”.

It offers seating for around 100 guests in the direct vicinity of the

wonderful green landscape of the Ruggeller Riet. All are warmly

welcome to meet for breakfast, or later for coffee in the kommod

Restaurant. The varied and tasty self-service buffet offers guests

– whether workers, business persons, hotel guests, seminar groups

or young and old from the municipality as well as the region – a

wide-ranging selection of fresh products. Cosy, down-to-earth and

good value.

kommod – Hotel & Restaurant

Industriering 14, Ruggell

T +423 377 37 77, www.kommod.li, info@kommod.li

Sücka – rustic mountain

guesthouse

Rustic, cosy, that is the mountain guesthouse Sücka in Steg. The

ideal venue for family events such as birthday celebrations, or

simply a place to forget the hectic pace of day-to-day life, and to

experience the pure Alpine world. Visitors here enjoy spectacular

views of Samina Valley, and can pamper themselves with fine,

mostly regional products from kitchen and cellar. Monika and

Werner Schädler are looking forward to welcoming their guests.

Berggasthaus Sücka, Triesenberg/Steg

T +423 263 25 79

www.suecka.li

info@suecka.li

The Superior Family Hotel

Turna in Malbun

At Hotel Turna, three generations attend to the needs of their guests in

summer and winter alike. With its newly-awarded ***Superior

category, the hotel offers a first-class family holiday in the middle of

the environmental protection region. Directly adjacent to the entrance,

a chairlift is available for hikers and skiers. The wellness oasis with

splendid views of the mountain landscape ensures rest and recreation.

Culinary delicacies, prepared by the hotelier in person, round off the

comprehensive range of services at this holiday paradise. Our function

room can be used by up to 120 persons for family celebrations,

corporate events, weddings etc. The entire hotel is barrier-free.

Hotel Turna, Triesenberg/Malbun

T +423 265 50 40, www.turna.li

FINE ACCOMMODATION & GASTRONOMY

51


Food/Culture

“I cook purist food

with passion”

Ruben Brunhart, you left Vienna at the age of 37 to return to your home

country. How did this come about?

Ruben Brunhart: My godmother, Erika “Ricki” Vogt, ran the Zentrum

Restaurant in Balzers for 28 years together with her husband Rudolf, who

has now sadly passed away. When they retired, they asked me if I would

like to be her successor.

Regional dishes with a Viennese

twist: the toque chef Ruben A.

Brunhart learnt his craft in

Liechtenstein, before moving to

Austria for 14 years. There he

worked in a number of

distinguished establishments.

Now he is back in his home

country. Since February 2015 he

has been in charge of the

Zentrum Restaurant in Balzers.

A discussion about the

challenge for a gourmet chef of

running a family-friendly

restaurant with a village

character. Text: Doris Büchel

How easy or difficult was the decision for you?

In fact, I took the decision relatively quickly. It had for some time been

clear to me that I would return to Liechtenstein and to my roots with my

family, sooner or later.

What is your assessment of the situation, one year on?

As I grew up here, I knew broadly what to expect (laughs). Seriously,

though: it has certainly been an advantage that people already know me.

This helped to smooth the transition from the outset. While rumours had

been circulating that there were plans to turn Zentrum into an exclusive

gourmet restaurant, these concerns quickly dissipated.

What’s wrong with being associated with an exclusive gourmet restaurant?

For me, it was important to preserve the character of the Zentrum

Restaurant. We are a superior quality restaurant, but not exclusive.

Everyone should feel comfortable visiting us. Sunday strollers who want to

enjoy a coup glacé, diners who come for a fine evening meal, businessmen

having business lunch, or regulars who drink beer and play cards. For this

reason we renovated sensitively. This means established guests will

continue to feel at home. That was important to me.

52


oho#3

Doesn’t that constrain your creativity? After all, you are an ambitious

toque-winning chef.

I grew up in the world of gastronomy, and have always worked in

restaurants. I like the mix here. In addition: a village like Balzers

needs a restaurant like Zentrum. We are not in Vienna, where

thousands of anonymous people walk past your premises every

day. We live here in the countryside, everyone knows everyone

else, and we have a much better idea about what people want.

There still is plenty of scope for creativity. Compromises need

to be made, but that is not a problem. I like the way things

are.

You are an excellent and award-winning chef.

Yes, as a master chef I have always valued further training

highly. I am a dietetically-trained chef, and also completed

courses in the fields of tourism and business. This is

important, because the business has not got easier in recent

years. Gastronomy and above all cooking is very hard work!

You have been awarded 13 Gault-Millau points. In your position,

many people would market themselves accordingly. Yet you hardly

mention the fact at all.

I am very honoured by this accolade, and I am proud of my toque. But

what is more important to me is offering my guests excellent cuisine in a

pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. Of course I cherish my awards, but

these do not necessarily have to be displayed on the restaurant façade.

The Zentrum is and will remain a village restaurant.

What characterises your cuisine?

The menu changes frequently, as the cuisine is very seasonal. The natural

world offers so many possibilities, and I want to make the most of them.

Even if use regional products as often as I can, my dishes have an

undeniable Austrian twist. Backhendl (roast chicken), for example, which

is very popular. On the other hand I eschew the typical Vienna schnitzel

– after all, that can be had anywhere. Of particular importance to me is

good value for money. I do not cook with all the bells and whistles.

Instead, I cook purist food with passion.

For you as a chef, what are the most significant differences between

Vienna and Balzers?

The culinary influence of the Austrian Empire era with a Bohemian flair

and traditionally seasoned dishes, such as for example beuschel (lights)

and gulyas (goulash), is still strongly felt in Vienna. Here, by contrast,

classic Alpine dishes find particular favour. In both locations, however, my

work is never done in eight hours. 13 or 14-hour days are the norm.

Whether in Vienna or Balzers – I stand in the kitchen most of the time

(laughs). Of course, Vienna has more varied leisure opportunities than

Balzers. But, like I say, I knew what I was getting myself into, and

enthusiastically took up the challenge.

Ruben A. Brunhart

Ruben A. Brunhart was born in Balzers in 1977. He

completed his apprenticeship as a chef at the Adler

Restaurant in Vaduz. This was followed by two

years at the legendary Hotel Real in Vaduz. The

young chef then joined Martin Sieberer’s Trofana

Royal in Ischgl. After Ischgl, Brunhart moved to

Vienna, where he spent 14 years cooking in a

number of distinguished establishments, inter alia

in his own restaurant Rubens in the Liechtenstein

Palace. While he left Vienna on one occasion, to

work for Martin Real at the Heuwiese in Weite, he

was soon drawn back to Vienna. In February 2015

the toque-winning chef Brunhart took over the

Zentrum Restaurant in Balzers from his godmother.

This features a healthy mix of traditional and

contemporary dishes. Brunhart, who was awarded

13 Gault-Millau points in 2015, particularly values

good value for money as well as a varied, seasonal

menu with a Viennese twist.

53


Food/Culture

Cheese…

glorious cheese!

For most Liechtensteiners, merely the thought of this dish triggers eager

anticipation of a delicious meal – and is simultaneously a subject for heated

discussions. Some “Käsknöpfle” are more equal than others.

Text: Michael Benvenuti · Photos: Oliver Hartmann

54

Each family has its own recipe, which is guarded like a

priceless treasure, and is passed on to the next generation.

Whereby the secret has less to do with the method of

preparing the pasta, than with the cheese mixture that is

added to the “Knöpfle”. For many decades, the mixture used

by the Biedermann family at the “Wirthschaft zum Löwen”

restaurant in Hinterschellenberg has been considered

particularly successful and tasty. For many aficionados, their

“Käsknöpfle” are quite simply the best to be found far and

wide.

The best?” Othmar Oehri laughs heartily and

shakes his head. Although his “Käsknöpfle”

are famous far beyond the national

borders, the Ruggell-born Oehri is

«Fresh regional ingredients

of the best quality: the basis

for our recipes …»

modest: “A definitive recipe does not

exist. Some like them like this. Some

like them like that.” Oehri, who

retrained as a chef after previously

working in other fields, does not like being in

the limelight. “If guests like the food so much that

they recommend us to others, then that is ample praise

for me. Satisfied guests are the best accolade you can have.”

In addition, it is not even his “Käsknöpfle” recipe, stresses

Othmar Oehri, and turns his gaze to his wife Myriam. “It

comes from her mother. And she took it on from her mother.”

The recipe has been passed down from mother to daughter

for generations. Othmar Oehri is the first man to whom the

delicious secret has been revealed. The ingredients and

method of preparation have not changed since then. The

dish was merely brought gently into line with contemporary

dining habits. “Why should I change the recipe?” asks

Othmar Oehri with a broad grin. People like the “Käsknöpfle”

dish just the way it has been prepared for

decades.” Tradition oblige, as they say. If this maxim was

not already so hackneyed, it would have to be written in

capital letters above the entrance to the “Wirthschaft zum

Löwen”, which first opened in 1847, in the picturesque

village of Hinterschellenberg. The one-time farmhouse,

which was built more than 450 years ago, was exactingly

and tastefully renovated in 1975, and has been a protected

historical building ever since. The restaurant has three cosy

parlours, with seating for a total of 75 guests, as well as two

terraces with a further 60 seats. The panoramic views from

the welcoming, spacious terrace take in the landscape of the

Ruggeller Riet and across to the Swiss side of the Rhine

Valley, and beyond to Vorarlberg. The

border area can be seen with the plain eye.

“In the summer, when the meteorological

conditions are just right, we can see all the

way to Allgäu in Germany,” explains

Othmar Oehri, indicating a point between

Oberriet, the River Rhine and Kummenberg: “Even Lake

Constance can sometimes be seen, although only as a thin,

silvery strip.” From spring to autumn the “Löwen” is a

popular stopover for hikers and cyclists.

Most guests request the original “Käsknöpfle”. Also very

popular, however, are brawn and various innards, such as

delicate, roasted veal liver. In addition to traditional fare, the

“Löwen” also offers varied, seasonal, contemporary dishes.

These are overseen by Karl-Heinz “Charly” Kirschner. Born

in Upper Austria, he spent 34 years working in some of the

world’s most distinguished establishments around the

world, before landing in Schellenberg a few years ago.

Together with Myriam and Othmar Oehri, Karl-Heinz

endeavours to bridge the gap between the tradition and

modernity. The common denominator for all dishes: fresh

regional ingredients of the very best quality.


Löwen recipe

for traditional

“Käsknöpfle”

oho#3

Ingredients for 8 portions

600 g flour

8 eggs

1 dl water

Pepper, salt and nutmeg

Appenzell cheese

Ripened sour cheese

Onions

Butter

Preparation

Make the flour, eggs, water, pepper,

nutmeg and salt into a dough, and stir

this for approx. 15 minutes.

Pass the dough through a "Knöpfle"

press into cold salt water.

Allow the "Knöpfle" to swell in the water,

and then place in a bowl together

with grated Appenzell cheese and sour

cheese, and mix thoroughly.

Fry onion rings in butter until golden

yellow, and add to the mixture.

Serve the “Käsknöpfle” with leaf salad,

potato salad or apple purée.

Tip: If the “Käsknöpfle” are too dry,

then add a little hot water before

mixing them with the cheese.

55


The Vorder Grauspitz is Liechtenstein’s

highest peak at 2,599 metres

Environment/Leisure

Natural beauty

and high-flying

adventures

From a geographical perspective one could say: Liechtenstein has its head in

the clouds. Mountains comprise about half of the country. This is what makes

the landscape so special. For the different altitudes provide space for a wide

variety of different habitats for a large number of animal and plant species.

A small photographic tour of the beauty of the country – from the lowest point

in the Ruggeller Riet (430 metres above sea level) to the highest elevation,

the Grauspitz located on the border to Grisons (2,599 metres above sea level).

A very special natural spectacle.

56


oho#3

The Liechtenstein Alps offer boundless panoramas

Ruggeller Riet natural conservation area

Hiking tip:

When one hears the evocative name “Route 66”,

one does not immediately think of mountains.

But there is in fact a connection. An officially

signposted “Route 66” that crosses a whole

country in the form of a hiking route. In three

hiking stages, and with a pair of sturdy hiking

boots, the Principality of Liechtenstein can be

traversed – from the southern mountain region

of Malbun to the most northerly municipality of

Ruggell. A priceless natural experience that

whets one’s appetite for more.

www.tourismus.li/hike66

“Route 66” passes from one end of Liechtenstein

to the other

57

Photos: Franz Josef Meier (Grauspitz), Heidi Solèr, Zoom Photoclub


Environment/Leisure

The hike over the Fürstensteig Trail

and the Drei Schwestern (Three Sisters)

is the archetypal mountain tour – an

unforgettable Alpine experience on

secure mountain paths for adventurers

with sure feet and good heads for heights.

“Where otherwise only the chamois sprang, and from

human feet did shy, today a narrow ascent doth lead, and

skilful hand hath sculpted the rocky crag.” Thus wrote

Rudolf Schädler in a guestbook after climbing the

Fürstensteig Trail for the first time in 1897. One year later,

the Fürstensteig Trail was opened for other mountaineers.

Today, it is considered one of the most beautiful hiking tours

in Liechtenstein.

Good head for heights is essential

The Fürstensteig Trail and the Drei Schwestern are seen as

bold and spectacularly realised mountain ascents. They are

linked by a beautiful ridge trail with stunning panoramas.

At 2,123 metres, the Kuhgrat (“Cow Ridge”) is the highest

point on this varied mountain trail. This offers outstanding

views of Rätikon and across to the Swiss and Vorarlberg

regions. The views down to the villages along the River

Rhine, all the way to Lake Constance, are also unforgettable,

as is the splendid mountain vegetation.

Panorama

with an

adrenalin kick

58

Hikers need to remember: The trail along the Fürstensteig

and the Drei Schwestern is demanding and should only be

attempted by adventurers with sure feet and a good head for

heights. During the actual hiking time of two to four hours,

a total of around 850 meters of altitude needs to be

overcome. Adrenalin is guaranteed. In addition to small

bridges, ladders and wooden steps, the Fürstensteig Trail

also includes a number of exposed sections that are secured

with railings and wires. This means the greatest challenge

is sometimes to keep a close eye on where one is treading,

while simultaneously enjoying the spectacular views.

The hiking route: Gaflei – Fürstensteig– Gafleisattel –

Kuhgrat – Garsellikopf – Drei Schwestern – Sarojasattel

– Gafadurahütte – Planken

Hiking tours

Liechtenstein is a genuine eldorado

for keen hikers, and has the right

tour for every level of ability. Those

who wish to discover more about

the various tours can do so here:

www.tourismus.li/hiking


oho#3

Five Castle Tour

On the trail of noble families

Cycling tip

E-bikes can be hired at the Liechtenstein Centre

located at the heart of Vaduz. They are the perfect

companion with which to make the most of the Five

Castle Tour. Thanks to the boost provided by the

electric bikes, gentle ascents can also be mastered

without effort.

www.tourismus.li/cycling

59


Environment/Leisure

Buchs

The cycling tour stages

As the name of the cycling tour suggests, the 45

kilometre route leads past five castles and fortresses in

Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The tour starts in Vaduz,

the capital of the Principality of Liechtenstein. Vaduz

Castle is the Principality’s iconic landmark, and has

stood proudly over Vaduz for about 700 years. Since

1938, it has been the Residence of the Princely Family.

From Vaduz, the route proceeds to Schaan, where the

River Rhine is crossed using the Energy Bridge, and

then the route continues to Buchs. The Castle and the

little town of Werdenberg have changed little since the

13th century. The subsequent ascent to the Castle Ruins

of Wartau can be mastered with ease using an e-bike.

The biggest ascent on the route has now been achieved.

After a short break, the route continues to Sargans

Castle. Gutenberg Fortress in Balzers can be seen

clearly from afar. This likewise dates from the 13th

century, and sits atop a 70 metre high rocky outcrop.

It is the last historical highlight of the Five Castles Tour.

From here, the route continues along easy cycling paths

back to the starting point.

Switzerland

Wartau

Rhein

Sargans

60


oho#3

Schaan

Vaduz

Liechtenstein

Balzers

Photos: Martin Walser

Tour

information

Further information about the

Five Castles Tour:

www.tourismus.li/

castlestour

61


Environment/Leisure

Caught

in a net

Between 550 and 600 species of spider have

been identified in Liechtenstein to date. The

smallest has a body only 1 millimetre long.

The largest is a more impressive 2 centimetres.

While all of them are venomous,

none is dangerous to humans.

Text: Michael Benvenuti

Photos: R. & A. Kühnis-Buchmann

ABC of spiders

Arachnophobia derives from the Ancient Greek

(arachne = spider, and phobos = fear), and means

fear of spiders.

The habitat (Latin habitat “[it] dwells”) means the

characteristic area where a certain animal or plant

species is to be found.

In relation to its weight, spider silk is four times

stronger than steel, and can be stretched to three

times its normal length, without breaking.

Spiders are not insects, but instead so-called Chelicerata,

a group of articulated animals that is closely

related to the insects, but is actually older. Almost

all of the known 45,000 species of spider produce

venom.

62


HORRID SPIDER? That is certainly not how Holger Frick responds

when he sees a spider. While the hairy eight-legged animals trigger

fear and panic in some people, they exercise a magical attraction over

the 36 year-old from Balzers. “I find it particularly fascinating that spiders

experience the world very differently than we do. While perception

for humans is mainly a visual affair, spiders achieve this through vibrations.”

He also finds it extremely appealing that relatively little is

known about spiders. Although the classic horror stories are regularly

reheated in the media, the very fascinating side of spiders is left unmentioned.

There are species, for example, where the male dances before

the female during the mating season. Others assume the scent of

female moths, in order to attract males and to capture them with lassos.

Further species have bizarrely shaped heads, reminiscent of elephant

skulls or frog heads, or have protuberances, stalks or horns.” This diversity

fascinates him.

Another aspect of his passion for spiders is scientific, explains Frick:

“Many species have yet to be discovered. The arachnid family tree is

very long, and completely unclear in certain areas.” Holger Frick has

even made a name for himself with his discoveries. In 2009 he became

something of an international celebrity when he discovered a new species

on Alp Flix in Grisons, and christened it the “Zamonic Dwarf Spider”

– named after the fictitious continent of Zamonia in the novels of

Walter Moers. There is no reason why science shouldn’t have a humorous

side, says Frick with a smile. In 2012 he described another previously

unknown species of dwarf spider (Diplocephalus guidoi) in Italy,

and named it after his deceased grandfather, “whose fascination for nature

helped to shape my own outlook.”

To date, no spider has been found that is exclusively indigenous to Liechtenstein.

But with some 550 to 600 species of spider, the small Principality

certainly has a great variety of species. This is because a huge range

of altitudes exist within Liechtenstein’s very compact territory, meaning

that a correspondingly large number of habitats are to be found. The

largest species found in Liechtenstein include the wasp spider, the

cross spider and the raft spider with a body length of around 2

centimetres. The smallest specimens are practically impossible to

see with the naked eye. The body of the dwarf spider Glyphesis

servulus, for example, measures only 1 millimetre. All domestic

spiders produce venom. “But only a small number are able to pierce

human skin. As a rule, the bites are not more dangerous then

wasp stings,” says Frick, reassuringly.

The biologist finds it impossible to imagine a world without spiders,

even if that sounds like paradise for arachnophobes. “Without spiders,

our lives would be very uncomfortable. Like wolves or eagles, they are

high up the food chain. They are amongst the most important predators

in the Northern Hemisphere.” Collectively, the spiders in Liechtenstein,

for example, eat thousands of tons of insects every year. This corresponds

to a layer that would be 10 to 20 centimetres deep,” Frick estimates.

Not a pleasant thought either. Not even for arachnophobes.

The well-known spider researcher and keen comic reader:

Holger Frick from Balzers in Liechtenstein

Yellow spider

Four-spot orb weaver

Wasp spider

Bild: Jean-Jacques Ruchti

63


Natur/Freizeit

Environment/Leisure

When Thury Meier

takes the Täli Lift to

his mountain station

early in the morning,

he enjoys the fabulous

views and the calm

before the storm.

64


oho#3

When the

mountain station calls

He is something of a character: Thury Meier. For the past 16 years

the bearded 65 year-old has worked as a lift operator at the Täli

Mountain Station in Liechtenstein’s ski region. Everyone knows

his impish grin, everyone values his sense of duty. Malbun

without Thury? Unimaginable! Text: Niki Eder · Photos: Martin Walser

The words “Hoi Thury!” ring out every few seconds – and

do so from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. A

friendly “Hoi!” is as frequently uttered in reply, coupled

with a broad, bearded grin. Thury Meier is probably the

most greeted person in Liechtenstein – at least during the

winter season. For the past 16 years the Lucerne-born lift

employee has worked at the Täli Mountain Station, and

everyone who tries their skiing luck in Malbun is familiar

with his square jaw and warm, direct manner. “Of course,

I can’t remember the names of every skier,” says the 65

year-old with a chuckle. “But I am good at remembering

faces and voices.”

Weatherproof and accustomed to the cold

Technically, Thury Meier could have retired a year ago.

But he’s not one to twiddle his thumbs. And his links to

the Täli Station are simply too strong. “Fortunately, my

colleagues at the Malbun mountain lift company have

never tried to take my job,” says Thury with a smile.

“Perhaps what keeps them at bay is the fact that the sun

takes ages to reach the Mountain Station.” Ages is meant

here in the literal sense of the word. It is only towards the

end of February that the first rays of sunlight begin to

peer over the top of the mountains. The 65 year-old knows

precisely when: “Ever since the modern six-seater

chairlift became operational in the year 2006, the sun

has appeared on 14 February. In the case of the previous

two-seater station, which was slightly lower down the

mountain, the sun appeared between 8 and 9 February.”

Thury Meier has never missed the warming rays of

sunlight, though. He doesn’t like “heat”. As far as he is

concerned, in fact, it cannot get too cold. “In the old days,

the temperatures were much more extreme,” he says.

“I would be at the lift when the temperature was minus

24 degrees, and I only had a tiny shelter in which to keep

myself warm.” No comparison with the generous cabin

that has now been placed at his disposal. But despite the

comforts, Thury still prefers to stand outside, directly by

the lift. “I simply enjoy meeting people.”

The Täli Station before the construction

of the modern six-seater chair lift.

65


«To see clear,

it often needs a change

of perspective only.»

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Landstrasse 153, 9494 Schaan

Niederlassung Unterland

Haldenstrasse 5, 9487 Bendern

www.bvd.li

66


Environment/Leisure

oho#3

It was originally intended that employees would monitor the

equipment from their place of work behind the glass panel.

But because Thury wanted to work outside, a special

outdoor cable was laid for him, and a stop button for the lift

was fitted.

An eventful life

Thury Meier is a man of many abilities. When he was

young, he first trained as a confectioner – an occupation

that he switched for that of a truck driver as soon as he had

completed his apprenticeship. In order to offset the shortage

of work in the winter, at the age of 37 he began driving

piste vehicles in Brigels, where the managers swiftly

spotted the young man’s potential. In addition to being

responsible for the pistes, he was promptly put in charge of

a snow bar at an altitude of 2,100 meters above sea level.

Throughout the next 12 winters, the order of the day was:

up into the mountains early in the morning with the piste

vehicle – and then off to manage the snow bar.

When Thury Meier read that they were looking for a new

lift operator in Malbun, he thought that the time had come

for a change. He applied, made a good impression, and took

up his new position in Liechtenstein just a few weeks later.

He has been responsible for operating the Täli Mountain

Station ever since – a task that he continues to pursue with

the same dedication. Later, he was also deployed as a piste

vehicle driver, and for around five years he actually had an

all-year job with the Malbun mountain lift company.

“Mr Fastidious”

Thury Meier is an easy-going fellow. Except where his

mountain station is concerned. That’s when he becomes

“Mr Fastidious himself”, as he likes to say. “The most

exacting lift operator ever.” In fact: “When I have a day off,

and don’t find everything just the way it should be upon my

return, I can get pretty ratty,” he concedes. And for a

moment his face darkens. “It’s just that I know precisely

how everything needs to be for the lift to operate smoothly.”

There is certainly no shortage of tasks for him to do. The

workload can be heavy, particularly when seasonal winds

blast through the mountains. This can make it difficult to

prepare the lift station exit. “With this work, I am

beginning to notice that I’m no longer as young as I used to

be,” Thury Meier admits. “In the past, I would shovel the

snow away all by myself. Today I have to call my colleagues

in the Valley Station, and ask them for help when the

snowdrifts get too high.”

It is “his” Täli station, “his” Malbun. Thury Meier loves his

place of work so much, even after 16 years, that he is even

drawn here when he is off duty – at least during the winter

months. “It is simply a beautiful place,” he says. “The ski

Thury Meier – his face is familiar to everyone

in Malbun

resort is small, clearly structured and friendly. People don’t

get lost here. Irrespective of what pistes they are on,

eventually they always find their way back to the centre.”

In the past, he was a keen skier himself. But after two hip

operations, Thury Meier has begun to take things a little

easier. “When I have time off, I take the lift to the Sareis

mountain restaurant, where I meet up with a convivial

bunch of senior citizens. We always have a whale of a time.”

And when evening approaches, when the other skiers clip

themselves into their equipment, he simply takes the lift

back down again.

And what does Thury Meier do in the summer? He certainly

doesn’t laze around. He helps out a friend who runs the

mountain farm Maiensäss. “Anyway, it’s much too warm in

the valley, so I am drawn to the heights,” he explains. “I

love the mountain air.” Above all, mountain air that smells

of snow. And when autumn approaches, he itches to get

back to his Täli mountain station – this is a mountain call

that Thury Meier has never been able to resist.

Malbun tip:

In addition to the 23 kilometres of pistes, the winter sport

resort of Malbun has a great deal more to offer. For

example, 15 kilometres of prepared cross-country trails,

romantic winter hiking routes, an ice rink as well as an

ice climbing tower wait to be explored by keen athletes

and families in search of rest and recreation. In

combination with the friendly atmosphere, this makes

Malbun the perfect place to experience a very individual

winter fairy tale.

www.tourismus.li/winterfun

67


Environment/Leisure

Tina’s sense of

snow

Born into a family of Olympic winners and world champions, now Tina

Weirather is herself a star in the international ski circus, and carries

the hopes of Liechtenstein fans for World Cup victories and medals.

Text: Michael Benvenuti

She was perhaps predestined to be a talented sportsperson. Her mother Hanni

Wenzel is a double Olympic champion, four-time World Champion, Overall World

Cup Winner of 1978 and 1980. Her father Harti Weirather secured the Downhill

Cup in 1981, and was crowned Downhill World Champion in Schladming in

1982. Tina was clever enough to pick only the best traits from both her parents,

declares mother Hanni with a laugh. “From her father she has the enthusiasm

for downhill courses as well as speed, while from me she got the sense of snow.”

Tina, whose real name is Christina, first ventured out onto the pistes at the

tender age of two and a half. “That was the “Red Devils” ski course in Kitzbühl,”

recalls Hanni Wenzel. It was the beginning of a burning passion. “Tina’s

favourite activity has always been skiing. She would keep her ski boots on at

lunch, in order not to lose time, and she was on the piste from early morning

until the lifts stopped operating at the end of the day.” In 1992 Klein-Tina

was a forerunner at the “Hanni Wenzel Cup”, two years later she

began ski racing herself, and quickly put paid to any doubts

about her exceptional talent.

68


oho#3

Photos: GEPA pictures/Harald Steiner

the Schaan Ski Club athlete suffered a serious crash and

tore cruciate ligaments in both her knees. The next

cruciate ligament injury occurred one year later, when she

crashed while training in Pitztal. In January 2010, she

suffered cruciate ligament injury number four on the

Cortina d’Ampezzo downhill run.

Risk of injury never goes away

So it comes as no great surprise, one might think, that in

the interim Tina Weirather has already won 6 World Cup

races, has secured a total of 26 podium finishes, and ended

the 2015/16 Overall World Cup a strong fourth. Yet the

development from a one-time wunderkind to an absolute

top racer has not always been smooth. Now aged 27, she

has had to overcome many setbacks on her way to the top.

For there is an ever-present risk of injuries, and she has

suffered many injuries over the years. The first major

injury occurred when she was aged just 17, shortly after

she had been crowned Junior World Downhill Champion.

While training on the World Cup ski run in Lenzerheide,

The first two serious ligament injuries did not trouble Tina

greatly. The third was tough, while the fourth was “like

the end of the world,” she once said during an interview

with the former Liechtenstein ski racer Marco Büchel. “I

had to think long and hard about whether it made sense to

go on. Eventually, I decided to give it another try.” The

decider was an internship at a life insurer. That’s when it

really became clear to her. “Skiing is simply the best thing

there is. If you have the chance to experience the training,

to be part of a team, to travel, to meet a lot of people, to be

outdoors, to test your limits every day… if you have this

chance – and perhaps only two in a hundred ever will –

then you simply have to seize it by the horns.”

69


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70

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Environment/Leisure

oho#3

So she swapped her office job and computer work for life in the

fresh outdoors, for snow and skis. This was greatly to the regret of

her father Harti Weirather, incidentally, who had been

encouraging her to retire from the sport. He still has uneasy

feelings when watching his daughter’s career. “As the father of a

daughter, you would prefer your precious child to be safely

wrapped up in cotton wool from start to finish. Or you would

prefer her to pursue cross-country skiing.”

Like mother, like daughter

For Tina Weirather, however, cross-country skiing was never going

to be an option. She originally wanted to become a journalist. Plan

A, though, had always been professional skier. Until she reached

the age of eleven, she played tennis regularly during the summer

months, trained by Melanie Molitor, the mother of the star Swiss

player Martina Hingis. But then two different sports became too

much to manage, and she decided to concentrate on skiing alone.

Her mother, Hanni Wenzel, accepted her daughter’s decision: “I

endeavoured, first and foremost, to pass my own passion for sport

on to my children.” In this she certainly succeeded. In addition,

she also eased the immense pressure on her daughter, who was

following in the huge footsteps of her parents. “From the outset, I

wanted to ensure that Tina could develop her own personality. As

the daughter of Hanni and Harti, she had been under pressure and

close observation from her earliest childhood – this was

unpleasant. For this reason, we frequently told her: “Irrespective

of who we are, you are you. Your own needs are paramount, not

ours.” Tina states that she does not feel any pressure. Quite the

contrary: “I am proud of my parents, and happy to have people

with so much experience around me.”

Even if the saying “like mother, like daughter” applies to Hanni

and Tina in many ways, they have very different natures. While

Hanni was an introverted athlete, Tina is a real team player, feels

completely at ease in a team, and has a number of close friends in

the ski circus. These include Anna Veith (formerly Fenninger) and

Lara Gut, her direct rivals when it comes to World Cup victories

and medals. But unlike Fenninger, Gut or US superstar Lindsey

Vonn, Tina Weirather is not an athlete who polarises and supplies

the media with material for sensational stories. “I am perhaps a

little boring,” she laughs. She doesn’t insult people, nor is she

envious of their successes.

Drawing up level with her father

Whereby she has no need to be envious. For Tina Weirather has

achieved a great many successes of her own. In the 2011/12

season she was the world’s second-best downhill racer, after

Lindsey Vonn. On 1 March 2013 she celebrated her first World Cup

victory at the Super G event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and was

the first daughter of a former World Cup winner to follow in the

footsteps of her mother and win a World Cup of her own. During

the following season, Weirather confirmed her top form in the

speed disciplines, and also became one of the world’s top

Her Super-G victory at the World Cup final in St. Moritz was Tina Weirather’s

sixth, causing her to draw level with her father Harti Weirather. Photo: GEPA

Pictures/Harald Steiner

performers in the giant slalom. As a reward for the triumph in the

giant slalom at Val d’Isère, she actually led the overall World Cup

rankings for a whole week. This was followed by her victory in the

downhill event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in March 2015, and her

success in the Super-G of La Thuille in February 2016. At the

World Cup final in St. Moritz in mid-March 2016, Tina Weirather

triumphed in the Super-G. This was her sixth World Cup victory,

causing her to draw level with her father Harti Weirather. At the

same time, she passed the magic 1,000 point mark by coming

fourth in the Overall World Cup, and is carrying the hopes of

many ski fans that Tina will one day secure the top prize for the

small Principality – just like her mother

Hanni Wenzel did in her own day.

Tina Weirather

Born: 24 May 1989

Place of birth: Vaduz

Club: SC Schaan

World Cup debut:

22 December 2005

World Cup victories: 6

Overall World Cup: 4 th (2015/16)

Downhill World Cup: 2 nd (2011/12)

Super-G World Cup: 2 nd (2015/16)

Other victories: RTL Giant Slalom Junior World

Champion 2006, Downhill Junior World Champion 2007

71


Environment/Leisure

National

team lodestar

Following their first competitive international match,

Liechtenstein’s national team players were delirious

with joy, hugged each other and celebrated their

triumphant achievement: a 1:4 defeat in Belfast against

the “great” Northern Ireland. But these days

are over. Expectations and standards in

the Principality have risen, the

one-time football minnow has

grown up. Text: Michael Benvenuti

Photo: Roland Korner · Bildcomposing: Büro für Gebrauchsgraphik, Vaduz

72

FL National Football Team

First international match, 9 March 1982,

in Balzers

Liechtenstein – Switzerland 0 : 1

Highest victory: 13 October 2004,

in Luxembourg

Luxembourg – Liechtenstein 0 : 4

Heaviest defeat, 9 November 1996, in Eschen

Liechtenstein – Macedonia 1 : 11

Record number of appearances: Mario Frick

(125)

Record goal scorer: Mario Frick (16)


oho#3

Nobody could describe the development of Liechtenstein’s National

Football Team better than Mario Frick. Now aged 41, Balzers-born

Frick holds the record number of appearances for the team (125),

and shot the highest number of goals (16). In 1994, he played during

Liechtenstein’s very first competitive international match, and also

played during the most recent such match in 2015. “Mario Frick is

the barometer of the National Team,” says Radio-L Sports Director

Chrisi Kindle of the current player/

trainer at FC Balzers. “No other player

so perfectly embodies the development

from simple cannon fodder to the

present-day team.”

Reeling after 60 minutes

Cannon fodder, punch-bag, points

supplier. Those were the terms most

frequently used to describe

Liechtenstein during the early days of

its international career. But this was

not entirely without justification, as

Mario Frick recalls. “We were an

amateur team, a very weak amateur

team.” There were huge differences in

the abilities of individual team

members. “At the latest 60 minutes into the game, we were reeling.”

Expectations were correspondingly rock-bottom. This sometimes

meant that even defeats were celebrated deliriously. Like the 1:4 on

20 April 1994 at Windsor Park Stadium in Belfast against Northern

Ireland. “We sat in the whirlpool and celebrated the defeat as if it had

been a triumphant victory. The very first goal scored during a

competitive match – it was fantastic.” The goal was scored by the

substituted Daniel Hasler, today Co-Trainer at FC Vaduz.

It was to be a number of years before Mario Frick scored his first goal

for Liechtenstein. In 1997, during the 1:8 wipe-out versus Romania,

the nimble striker put the ball in the net and brought the score to the

provisional total of 1:7. By the time he ended his career on 12

October 2015 after the 0:3 defeat against Austria in Vienna, Frick had

scored a further 15 times for Liechtenstein. His professional career

saw him move from Switzerland to Italy, where he even successfully

scored goals in the Serie A. Although he can still recall every detail

of all his goals, Mario Frick’s greatest moment occurred on 7

September 2010, when he marked his 36 th birthday at the legendary

Hampden Park Stadium against Scotland by putting Liechtenstein 1:0

in the lead. The goal that levelled the score at 2:2 in Freiburg against

Germany on 7 June 2000 is also unforgettable. At the end of the day,

admittedly, it was not enough. Thanks to 5 goals during the final 10

minutes of the game, Goliath swept fatigued David from the pitch

with 8:2.

Excitement versus Portugal

He didn’t always enjoy tying his shoelaces for his home country,

Mario Frick confesses. “The first few years were tough.” Particularly

The double sweeper idea

During his 22 years in the National Team, Mario

Frick experienced a great deal. Above all many

different trainers. One remains particularly fresh

in his memory: the Austrian Alfred Riedl with his

often spontaneous ideas. “One day he came to us

a few hours before the kick-off, and said: “Lads,

I’ve had an idea, today we are going to play with a

double sweeper.” Our own team, which had never

tried this formation in training before, was

probably more surprised by Riedl’s coup than the

opposition – Romania won 8:0.

for a player like Frick, for whom only two things counted: scoring

goals and winning. “I was never a fan of the Olympic spirit of “being

there is everything”. The situation improved tangibly after 2003,

under the Trainer Walter Hörmann, stresses Frick. “He modernised

our playing system.” Everything became more professional, training

opportunities, analyses, the players themselves. Under Hörmann’s

successor Martin Andermatt – a proven tactician – Liechtenstein

generated an international furore. On

9 October 2004, Liechtenstein

withstood Portugal and its superstars

Cristiano Ronaldo, Deco and Pauleta

during the qualification for the 2006

World Cup; played at home, the final

score was 2:2. This can still be said to

be the National Team’s greatest

success to date. It was the first point

earned by Liechtenstein during a

World Championship qualifier.

Four days later, in an away match, the

Liechtenstein squad swept

Luxembourg out of the competition

with a 4:0 score. This was also its

first-ever away victory. Its punchingbag

reputation was set aside for once and for all. While Liechtenstein

used to be seen as a welcome, knock-over opponent, in recent years

the team has become a dangerous outsider that has occasionally cost

trainers their jobs. “Some left voluntarily, while others were forced

out because their team failed to beat us,” recalls Frick.

Comeback as team trainer

Despite the many defeats – Mario Frick is the first player to have lost

100 international matches – he now looks back fondly on his time in

the squad. “It was a wonderful time, and helped to make me the man

I am. I learnt a great deal, and matured.” And the team learnt and

matured too.

With the European Championship qualifier on 12 October 2015 in

Vienna versus Austria (0:3), Mario Frick ended his career in the

team. Originally a striker, he had come to be deployed as an inside

defender. The end of his career? “From the current perspective, yes,”

he answers with a grin. “But never say never.” For one particular

match would certainly tempt him back: away against Italy, within the

context of the qualifications for the 2018 World Cup. Italy is Frick’s

second home, he played and lived here from 2000 to 2009.

A comeback by Mario Frick would probably not be blocked by the

resistance of the current National Team Trainer, René Pauritsch.

Quite the contrary, in fact. According to Frick, Pauritsch has on a

number of occasions offered him the opportunity to return. Whereby

a return to the Liechtenstein National Team has indeed been planned

by the friendly Balzers-born Frick: “I stated a number of years ago

that one of my major goals was to train the National Team one day.”

73


Stuttgart

270 km

Principality of

Liechtenstein

Germany

Munich

240 km

Basel

190 km

Berne

230 km

Zurich

110 km

Lake Constance

Austria

Innsbruck

170 km

Switzerland

Italy

Milan

250 km

Liechtenstein facts & figures

Surface area: 160 km 2

Number of inhabitants: 37,366

State form: constitutional hereditary monarchy based upon

democratic and parliamentary principles

Municipalities: 11, Capital: Vaduz

Topography: Lowest point Ruggeller Riet 430 metres above sea-level,

highest point Grauspitz 2,599 metres above sea-level,

Dimensions: 24.8 km long and 12.4 km wide

Employees by economic sector: 38.8 % industry, 0.8 % farming,

and 60.4 % services

Currency: The legal tender in Liechtenstein is the Swiss franc (CHF).

Euros are accepted in most areas.

National public holiday: 15 August, www.staatsfeiertag.li

Country dialling code: +423

Source: Office of Statistics, population statistics 31 Dec. 2014

Legal notice

Published by: Liechtenstein Marketing, Äulestrasse 30 • 9490 Vaduz • Concept: Liechtenstein Marketing Medienbuero Oehri

& Kaiser AG, Eschen • Editorial coordination: Liechtenstein Marketing • Graphics/layout: Medienbuero Oehri & Kaiser AG

Lithography: PREPAIR Druckvorstufen AG, Schaan • Acquisition and distribution: Allmedia AG, Schaan • Printing: BVD

Druck+Verlag Schaan • Print run: 7,000 copies (English edition) • Appearance: June 2016

Shooting: Old Rhine Bridge Vaduz-Sevelen • Photographer: Roland Korner • Models: Alexandra Lanter and Philip Skaro (title

page), Malin and Björn Willinger (pages 37 and 41)

74


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