oho #4 - The magazine of the Principality of Liechtenstein

liechtenstein.marketing

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

#4 2017/18

State/Princely House

Business/Education

Food/Culture

Environment/Leisure

Achieving further

improvements is important

Taking on the pioneering

role of excellence

2000 years of good taste

The joy of pristine nature


“Hoi metanand”

It’s never too late to learn

Dear reader, you are holding in your hands the fourth

issue of oho magazine. As in the first three issues, we

have chosen a central issue on which we wish to base

the magazine. This time around, we’ve focused our attention

on one of the most important matters a country

can have – education. For Liechtenstein, education is a

particularly important issue, especially because the

Principality has no natural resources. And it is precisely

for this reason that Liechtenstein has repeatedly been a

pioneer in the field of education. It’s worth pointing out,

for example, that Liechtenstein was the first country to

provide a general compulsory education system regulated

by law. Furthermore, the country has repeatedly

managed to achieve top rankings in the PISA study and

obtain gold medals at the vocational WorldSkills championships.

This issue of our magazine offers you the

opportunity to get to know Lukas Beck, 2016 gold medallist

in Rio. In other interviews and background stories we

also present the unique features which make Liechtenstein’s

school system so special as well as the challenges

which still await us in the future. I hope you gain many

new and thrilling insights into the Principality of Liechtenstein

and enjoy reading oho#4.

Christian Wolf

Chairman of the Board of Directors

Liechtenstein Marketing

Getting to grips with challenges – together!

In my capacity as the new Minister of Education, I am

especially pleased that Liechtenstein Marketing has made

education a key issue this year. Investment in education

also means an investment in the future of Liechtenstein.

The Principality has an excellent and highly differentiated

education system. It is no longer the case that young

people must choose between vocational or academic education.

Liechtenstein is very good at linking theory to

practice through the dual education system. Apprenticeships,

for example, can be linked to the Vocational Baccalaureate.

On the other hand, and as an alternative to going

down the vocational education route, young people can

also choose to graduate from grammar school with the

Matura examination before embarking on a course of

studies in tertiary education. “Nothing in the world is

more constant than change.” With these words, the English

naturalist Charles Darwin came up with a timeless

quotation. Quite simply, our education system also needs

continuously to evolve in line with today’s rapid developments

in society, if only to meet both the challenges of today

and those of tomorrow. In addition to simply imparting

knowledge, I also believe that high priority must be

given to promoting personal, social and methodological

skills. After all, and for me at least, learning is always a

combination of setting challenges and nurturing talent,

both at the same time.

I look forward to dealing with current and future

challenges in the field of education, together with all

the stakeholders involved.

Dominique Gantenbein

Minister of Education

3


oho#4

State/Princely House

Business/Education

Achieving further improvements is important 6

Law and nothing but 14

Learning L2 like L1 17

Getting the best out of the one raw material 22

“I didn't want to take part in at first” 26

Education 4.0: MINT subjects in the spotlight 30

Sovereignty as a recipe for success 34

Hi-tech is also a girl thing 40

Back from the future 42

4


Culture/Taste

Environment/Leisure

A sip of Liechtenstein 48

Bringing smiles to people’s faces 50

Culture in Liechtenstein 53

“I never really wanted to write my own book” 56

Event highlights 2017/2018 60

A lifelong apprentice 62

Made in Liechtenstein 64

Long days, short nights 68

The skis he makes mean the world to him 72

Liechtenstein from a bird's eye view 74

In and around Liechtenstein by bike 78

5


Staat/Fürstenhaus

6


oho#4

State/Princely House

Achieving further

improvements is

important

7


State/Princely House

In this oho interview, HSH Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein talks

about the importance of education in Liechtenstein and recalls his own

schooldays. For the future of education he believes it is particularly important

to make Liechtenstein’s education system more attractive for

teachers and to ensure it keeps up with the rapid pace of technological

development.

Text: Joël Grandchamp · Photos: Roland Korner

Your Highness, every schoolchild has their favourite

subjects as well as subjects they’d prefer to see

banned from the curriculum during their time at

school. What were yours and why?

HSH Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein:

My favourite subjects were history and sport. I suppose

my interest in History as a subject was due to

my own particular family history. I'd enjoyed sports

already before I went to school. Music lessons were

a bit of a drag, mainly because I’m not very gifted

in this regard.

What are the biggest changes which have taken

place between the education system as you knew

it from your own school days and the one today –

which you probably know, for example, from listening

to your children?

The biggest change I noticed came as a result of

computerisation and, in part, the much greater emphasis

placed on the English language. Another major

change is the individualisation of school lessons,

which is probably also due to the fact that students

have become more mixed and diverse in general.

What do you think about this form of individualisation?

Is it positive or negative?

I think that provided the necessary discipline is

ensured, increased individualisation in teaching is

definitely a positive development, because the way a

child learns best can be different from one child to

the other. Today, we definitely know more about this

than ever, and this new knowledge is also applied in

the classroom.

You began your education in Liechtenstein. What do

you still remember about your experiences at the time

and what insights did you gain from your own education

which help you to carry out your role today?

I have good memories of my school days in Liechtenstein.

I am grateful today that we were able to enjoy a very broad

education in grammar school. Given that I deal with a wide

variety of issues in my role, a good all-round education and

general knowledge are very useful for my work. Useful

was also to learn how to deal with many subjects and be

disciplined in your approach to work.

No course of study exists to prepare you for your tasks

as a future head of state. How have you been preparing

yourself for this role?

On the one hand, by choosing law I embarked on a course

of studies which have definitely helped me in my current

duties. On the other, I spoke, especially with my father,

and sometimes even with my grandfather, time and again

about their work and did my best to learn from their example.

In addition, my father frequently took me along

to meetings and official events. I learned a lot from that.

Would you have preferred to study something else in

other circumstances?

Although I’ve always had an interest in history, I think

I would probably still have opted for a degree in law or

business studies.

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oho#4

The biggest change

I noticed was the

emergence of IT.

9


Hyacinthe Rigaud, detail from “Portrait of Prince Joseph Wenzel I von Liechtenstein”, 1740

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oho#4

You completed a training course to become an

officer at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

in England. Will your son Joseph Wenzel also be

going to Sandhurst and how did you benefit from

this course?

My son is still in the middle of his studies, but he

might decide to go to Sandhurst at a later date. Personally

speaking, I think one of the things I gained

from my experience at the Royal Military Academy

was that I had to take responsibility for other people

at a very young age. Of course it’s a valuable experience

if you have the opportunity to get to know foreign

cultures or the way people live in other situations,

whether it’s through military training or

comparable experiences, as a young person, and

to be obliged to assume responsibility early on in

life. These are important schools for life, I think.

A few years have already passed since the last education

reform. Can Liechtenstein afford to remain

stuck with the status quo in view of rapid technological

and social developments?

Although Liechtenstein has a very good education

system and achieves top marks in international comparison

tests, the rapid pace of technological and

social developments means that we need to keep improving

our education system. With targeted reforms

we should design our education system in such a

way that it becomes even more attractive for teachers,

responds even better to the needs of pupils and

can therefore react faster and more flexible to all

kinds of developments.

Both you and your father, Prince Hans-Adam II,

have previously proposed the introduction of socalled

education vouchers. To what extent is this

still an important issue which needs to be addressed

in your opinion?

I am convinced that the sensible way to finance

schools would, in principle, be for state funds to follow

the students, not the other way around. Education

vouchers are not absolutely necessary in this

case. It might even be better for the compulsory

school sector if all schools accredited by the state

would also receive certain fixed amounts in addition

to a funding scheme based on the number of pupils.

Is there a school system which already works

in this way?

Unfortunately, there are virtually no useful examples out

there which we can use in this regard. However, there

are states in which partial elements of our approach have

been introduced – the closest perhaps is the Dutch education

model. But to my knowledge, the model I have in

mind hasn’t been introduced yet by any state.

So might there be a chance that Liechtenstein

once again takes over a pioneering role in regard

to education?

Given the importance of education for our future, our

ambition should be that we have not just a good, but the

best education system. Obviously, our education system

should always be understood in its regional context –

especially when it comes to further education in the tertiary

sector. Here, we are dependent on our neighbours

in Austria and Switzerland offering attractive universities.

Fortunately, we find ourselves in an extremely good

neighbourhood with outstanding universities in the immediate

vicinity.

Given the mass immigration initiative which Switzerland

has undertaken, the issue of lack of skilled workers

comes up again and again. What significance does

education in Liechtenstein have for the national economy

and Liechtenstein as an attractive location for

doing business?

Liechtenstein’s national economy has many highly specialised

companies that require skilled workers. Consequently,

the importance of a good education system in

Liechtenstein – and in the region – for the success of

Liechtenstein’s companies and its economic location is

considerable.

Do you think that educational opportunities in the

region are sufficient to offset a possible shortage of

skilled workers which might result from the mass

immigration initiative?

In addition to compulsory education and excellent universities,

we also benefit from our sophisticated dual education

system. If young people choose not to go down the

academic route after their compulsory school education,

they can always opt for a superb professional alternative

with apprenticeships, a vocational baccalaureate and a

11


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oho#4

University of Applied Sciences enabling them even to

attain a university-level degree in Liechtenstein. Nevertheless

we should also think more about reforms,

also in the field of adult education. People in the middle

of their working lives require excellent training

opportunities more than ever, especially in view of

the rapid pace of technological development.

What is the position of the University of Liechtenstein

in this regard?

Of course the University of Liechtenstein should

above all also educate the skilled workers which

Liechtenstein’s businesses need. It has already been

very active in this regard for several years. It would

certainly make sense that both the University and

Liechtenstein’s companies take a close look as to how

forms of cooperation in training qualified personnel

can be optimised still further to their mutual benefit.

Culture plays an enormous role in Liechtenstein.

How important is cultural education in the

Principality?

With its music school and school of art, Liechtenstein

offers extremely good opportunities for young

people to enjoy cultural education. I should also add

that the Liechtenstein Gymnasium (grammar school)

provides a broad cultural education. As a result, culture

and cultural education are highly important in

Liechtenstein.

What insights or tips would you pass on to children

on the basis of your personal experiences with

regard to education?

Most pupils at school would prefer to focus on their

favourite subjects – I was no exception in this regard.

But as an adult, you notice that it is extremely useful

to enjoy a broad, general education for as long as possible.

In addition to accumulating knowledgeduring your

time at school is important that you learn to work in a

disciplined and efficient way and that you acquire also

skills which are not necessarily graded or evaluated in

the form of examinations.

HSH Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein

What did you want to be when you were a child?

As far as I can remember, I never really had any special career

aspirations. Perhaps that was because I was already aware at

an early stage of what my profession would ultimately be.

What were the most important stages in your

educational career?

In addition to my school education in Liechtenstein, law studies

in Austria as well as my officer training course in the

UK, it was the years I spent working at an accounting firm in

London and my subsequent work for many different areas of

the Princely Family’s assets.

What do you still appreciate the most from your time

in education?

A wealth of general knowledge, learning how to work in a

disciplined way and taking on responsibility for others at an

early stage.

13


State/Princely House

LAW AND

NOTHING

BUT

Liechtenstein maintained close ties to Austria up to 1919, Switzerland

has been considered the principal ally and partner of the

Principality since 1924. The two neighbouring states have left

their indelible marks on Liechtenstein’s legal and judicial system.

Quite a challenge for the Liechtenstein lawyers.

Text: Michael Benvenuti

Liechtenstein is a country of crossborder commuters.

Some 20,000 people commute every day from Switzerland,

Austria and Germany to work in the Principality.

In a slightly different sense, border crossers also

consist of the lawyers, attorneys and judges who work

in Liechtenstein: for historical reasons, they commute

between Austrian and Swiss law and also deal with

Liechtenstein’s own legal idiosyncrasies. Hence the

General Civil Code (ABGB) comes from Austria, and

property and employment contract law have their

roots in Switzerland, as does the Persons and Companies

Act (PGR), large parts of which also derive from

original Liechtenstein and even AngloSaxon law.

Studying law abroad

Since Liechtenstein does not have a law faculty of its

own, prospective lawyers are obliged to study abroad

– which they generally do in Austria and Switzerland.

Although jurisprudence in both countries is marked

by its origins in Roman law and follows a legal tradition

influenced by shared European values, the differences

should not be underestimated says Michael Jehle,

judge and spokesman at the Princely Court of

Justice in Vaduz. “That’s why anyone who wishes to

work in Liechtenstein as a lawyer, attorney or judge

first has to obtain an overview of the applicable legislation

and competent jurisdiction”. For this reason,

comparative law is particularly important in the Principality.

What happens in the case of interfaces, how

should legal norms adapted from abroad be interpreted?

“Resolving such issues is what makes the work of

lawyers in Liechtenstein so thrilling” believes Jehle.

Compared to Austria or Switzerland, it seems to be

easier to leave one’s mark in Liechtenstein’s jurisdiction.

“What’s more, as a judge you are far more deeply

integrated in the legislative process”.

The 2003 constitutional reform

The start of Liechtenstein's modern judicial system

can be traced back to 1809. At that time the Landammann

Constitution was replaced by two legal instances:

the “Obergericht” in Vaduz (government) and the

“Fürstliche Hofkanzlei” in Vienna (court of appeal).

One of the conditions of joining the German Federation

in 1815 was the introduction of a third legal instance,

the “Oberlandesgericht” in Innsbruck. The

1921 Constitution brought all legal instances to Liechtenstein.

The State Court as set out in the 1921 Constitution

was created in 1925. The amendment to the

Constitution carried out in 2003 also resulted in

14


oho#4

changes to the judicial system. During the revision of the

Constitution, judges’ duties and the appointment procedure

for judges were combined and now apply to all

courts. Today’s judicial system is made up of ordinary

courts, the Administrative Court and the State Court. But

how is a judge appointed in Liechtenstein? What are the

conditions for obtaining the qualification for the office of

judge? The requirement for the one to three years of

training is a course of legal studies completed in Austria

or Switzerland as well as a bar exam taken and recognised

in Liechtenstein, or an existing professional qualification

obtained in Switzerland or in Austria.

Well, he shouldn’t tend

towards tyranny.

And what personality traits should a judge have? “Well,

he shouldn’t tend towards tyranny”, Jehle grins. An “ideal

legal figure” is needed instead, says Jehle, before listing

a judge’s required attributes. He should be rooted in

Liechtenstein’s legal tradition, committed to substantive

truth, robust enough not to be guided by emotions and

blessed with the grace of objectively applying a law even

when the result intended by the legislature contradicts

one’s own personal sense of justice.

Did you know that …

. . . the death penalty was only abolished in

Liechtenstein in 1988?

. . . among other cases, legal actions included 492

new contentious civil proceedings, 96 contested

divorces, 319 contested inheritances, 6119 requests

for execution orders, 470 criminal investigations,

390 criminal judicial assistance procedures

and 342 criminal proceedings in 2016?

. . . a total of 14 national judges and 2 judicial

officers work at the Liechtenstein

Court of Justice?

. . . the Liechtenstein Court of

Justice moved to a structurally

restricted “interim domicile”

in 2007?

. . . the courts issue judgments

“in the name of the Prince and

the people”?

. . . interns at the Liechtenstein

Court of Justice can issue

simple legal information?

15


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16


State/Princely House

oho#4

HALLO

Hi!

Learning

L2 like L1

Learning a foreign language to the extent that you can read a newspaper

within just four weeks – what sounds like a barely feasible undertaking

is what Liechtenstein Languages makes possible. In this interview, HSH

Prince Stefan, former Ambassador of Liechtenstein to Germany, explains how

Liechtenstein of all places has assumed an important role in teaching

the German language to refugees.

Text: Joël Grandchamp · Photos ZVG

Every schoolchild has their favourite subjects

as well as subjects they’d prefer to see banned

from the curriculum during their time at school.

What were yours and why?

HSH Prince Stefan of Liechtenstein:

I had my problems with Latin, but was always

fascinated by the subject. Since I was extremely

interested in history, I knew how important

Latin is, but I had something of a fight over this

with my teacher at school. Learning vocabulary

by rote wasn’t really my thing. What came quite

easily to me was mathematics, the natural

sciences and history. And what helped the most

in later life was history – knowing where we

and the European cultures come from and all

the things which have happened in the history

of mankind. That’s something which has always

fascinated me, and that’s remained so right up

to today.

Liechtenstein Languages” is well known as

being a highly successful language learning

programme. How did it come about?

The actual language learning programme consists

of the “New Learning” method which arrived in

Liechtenstein about 30 years ago. It was also accompanied

by field trials in Liechtenstein during

the mid-1990s. The results were very good, so that

New Learning has actually been used for about

20 years in Basic English classes and was also exported

to Peru and Costa Rica by way of the Liechtenstein

Development Service (LED). A relevant

talk was held at the Embassy in Berlin towards the

end of 2014. Dr Peter Ritter was present and representatives

of different religious communities and

the German Government also attended the event.

I asked Dr Ritter to talk about New Learning and

his words immediately fell on open ears. We then

considered how the method could be applied for

refugees. To make the initiative understandable in

an international context we decided to christen the

17


State/Princely House

Prince Stefan (on the left) and Walter Noser (second from left) from the Neues Lernen

association present the LieLa project to Daniela Schadt, domestic partner of Germany’s

Ex-President Joachim Gauck, in November 2016.

project “Liechtenstein Languages”. Since only foreign languages

had been taught in Liechtenstein up to that point, we

had to begin by developing language learning materials for

German lessons. This happened with a focus on the needs of

refugees. The first course for refugees was held in Vaduz in

December 2015, after which “Liechtenstein Languages” was

launched in Germany in February 2016. Austria followed in

April and Switzerland in February 2017.

How did you manage to implement the programme so quickly?

After two weeks, new language teachers and tutors can use

our teaching method on their own – even without prior teacher

training. From the third day of the training course, the

trainee language teachers and tutors are included in the lessons

and starting from the second week they teach lessons

by themselves under the supervision of the Liechtenstein

team. We’ve already trained 150 teachers and tutors to use

our method in the 13 months during which the scheme has

been running. They have introduced at least 3,000 refugees

to the German language over this period. We then also encourage

the qualified teachers to act as teacher trainers for

others in their own educational institutions. As a result, the

ability to work with “Liechtenstein Languages” continues to

spread and multiply. For this reason we don’t precisely know

how many people are currently working with our method.

How does “Liechtenstein Languages” differ from other

language courses?

Basically, you teach a second language in the same way you

learned to speak your native language. It’s a different kind

of learning if you hold an apple in your hand, take a bite

and fix the word in your brain than if you see the word

“apple” on a blackboard together with all its correct grammatical

forms. Consequently, the method is aimed more at

speaking and understanding rather than at grammar and

writing. Learners also start to pick up these aspects, at

least to a certain extent. If you grasp the sounds of a language

relatively quickly and are able to express yourself

in a new language, then it’s much easier to take the next

step – learning to read and write – than going straight

into grammar. But it’s neither a priority, nor is it evaluated

through tests or exams. The point is to give people the courage

to speak. Hence the method is also perfectly suited to

cater for the needs of illiterate people or for people who

write in a different script. What’s more, learners do not

require any prior knowledge; from the very first minute

they speak in the language they learn. We teach about 600

to 800 items of vocabulary in the first four weeks through

facial expressions, gestures, pantomime and games. I'm

always a bit cheeky when I say, ah well, at least you can

read the “Bild-Zeitung” (laughs).

18


oho#4

To what degree is “Liechtenstein Languages” present in

the world and are there any plans to expand it at the current

time?

We are well represented in all three neighbouring countries.

It’s deeply satisfying to notice the dedication with

which people work together with refugees and the impact

this has. And it’s not just the German language which is

taught: we also impart a lot of information about our lifestyle

and our culture. Before we can start to consider how

we might extend the scheme, there first has to be a demand

out there for us to do so. And just to be quite clear, this is

not a product we want to sell. We’re offering it because of

the state of emergency which exists to a certain extent.

Even so, we’ve been through very good and motivating

experiences with the scheme, and we’ve seen that this

method successfully enables us to motivate young people.

Anyone working together with young people knows

that there are tens of thousands of pupils who have problems

with various subjects, pupils in whose cases the proverbial

spark has failed to flash. That said, currently we

wish to expand our initial work with the original target

group. To this end, we’re in the process of developing a

follow-up course in which literacy would be a vital component.

The two courses would pursue the aim of enabling

learners to pass the exams required to obtain a certificate.

How can “Liechtenstein Languages” help the refugee

situation through the way it teaches languages?

Part of the course is to convey European culture, particularly

our values in our dealings with each other: dealings between

men and women, between the young and old, so that nobody

is excluded. We’ve experienced a number of amazing things

over the last 12 months. Husbands, for example, who did not

want their wives to participate in the course. The organisers

made it clear to these people at a meeting that a woman has

every right to take part in the course. Afterwards, it was

wonderful to see these women in the lessons. Their eyes were

shining because they had never been in a teaching situation

before. The joy we get from this acts as a great source of encouragement

for us to continue the project. But this is only

one introductory course to the German language. Further

courses in the pipeline should also be accompanied by normal

integration work.

What was the feedback you received from course

participants?

We had a lot of positive feedback. Part of it confirmed that

the participants would very much like to receive a recognised

certificate after the course. This explains our interest in developing

a follow-up course, at the end of which participants

can pass an exam and receive a certificate.

HSH Prince Stefan of Liechtenstein

ADIÓS

What did you want to be when you were a child?

A chef in a kitchen and later on a general, I suppose. As a

student, and based on my apparent behaviour, some friends

called me “the diplomat”. So I’m in the right job, it seems

(laughs).

What were the most important stages in your educational

career?

My time at school in Carinthia, at the University of Innsbruck

and then learning on the job as an investment banker

and managing director of a tourism project. Right up to

today, I’ve spent my whole life learning. At the same time,

I feel I’ve learned more from life than from my time at school.

What do you still appreciate the most from your time in

education?

The intention that I should start learning sooner rather than

later. Although I pursued this goal the whole time I was at

school, during my time at university, I’m afraid to say I fell

woefully short of these ideals. I was never much of a success

(laughs). At university, we learned to deal spontaneously with

problems, to discuss and present them. Such presentations,

with minimal preparation times, have been of great help to

me later on in life.

19


Wirtschaft/Bildung

20


oho#4

Business/Education

Taking on the

pioneering

role of excellence

Liechtenstein is well known for being particularly

business-friendly. This is also reflected in the fact

that many companies in Liechtenstein have taken

on a pioneering role throughout the world. Yet all

this is only possible if the education and training

of employees meets similarly high standards.

Photo: Roland Korner

21


Business/Education

Getting the best out of

the one raw material

22


oho#4

Despite its small size, Liechtenstein offers

its residents an efficient school system and

manifold education and training opportunities.

This is vital for the national economy:

for Liechtenstein’s sole raw materials

are knowledge and research.

Text: Stefan Lenherr

A quick look back: compared to other countries, education

in Liechtenstein was only enshrined in law at a

relatively late stage. On 18 September 1805, the Fürstliche

Hofkanzlei (Princely Court Office) issued a decree

which, inter alia, envisioned the provision of a suitable

school teacher in each municipality as well as compulsory

education. Liechtenstein historian Georg Malin says:

“This date can be said to mark the birth of Liechtenstein’s

school system”. Over 200 years later, a wide range of educational

opportunities is available to Liechtenstein’s general

public despite the small size of the country. Upon

completion of their compulsory schooling, young people

can choose to take the Matura (“A-levels”) at the grammar

school in Vaduz or do an apprenticeship which can

be supplemented with the Vocational Baccalaureate, providing

they perform well enough at school. By obtaining

the Matura, school leavers gain access to the University

in Liechtenstein, but also to universities in Switzerland

and Austria. In basic education, vocational education and

training in Liechtenstein relies on the dual system, with

training given at the apprenticeship site and at the vocational

training college.

Werner Kranz, head of the Office for Vocational Training

and Vocational Guidance, explains that about 70 per cent

of young people from secondary schools choose to go

down the dual vocational training route. During their

apprenticeship, academically gifted pupils can also take

the Vocational Baccalaureate examination which enables

them to study at a University of Applied Sciences or, providing

they meet additional requirements, to embark on

BROAD EDUCATIONAL

OPPORTUNITIES

Due to its small size, Liechtenstein is not able to

offer a complete range of educational opportunities

within the borders of the country. Instead,

the population can use educational institutions

abroad.

For example, educational establishments belonging

to the University of Applied Sciences of

Eastern Switzerland (FHO), such as the Interstate

University of Applied Sciences of Technology

Buchs (NTB) offer courses in various disciplines.

The International School Rheintal in Buchs

also offers a range of services that complement

Liechtenstein’s education system. In this particular

case, the school teaches students in English

from kindergarten age right through to completion

of the international baccalaureate (IB). It receives

funding from the Principality and local

companies.

2004 witnessed the launch of Liechtenstein

Sports School. The school aims to prepare young

people for a career in competitive or top-level

sport. In addition, the Formatio is a state-approved

private all-day school. The Institute in Triesen

now offers a primary school and a secondary

school, and, as a grammar school, prepares

young people for the Matura.

23


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


oho#4

a university course of studies. Moreover there is also the

possibility for those who have passed the Matura at grammar

school and who also meet additional requirements in the

practical field to study for a University of Applied Sciences

degree. “This high permeability as well as the large number

of possible routes through education is a pivotal strength and

hence an advantage of the Liechtenstein education system”,

says Kranz.

A model for success

Under the dual vocational education and training system,

theory is linked directly to practice right from the start. This

results in skilled professionals with good career prospects.

Thanks to the excellent permeability of the Liechtenstein education

system, young adults who have completed a vocational

apprenticeship have every opportunity for further professional

development or, if necessary, to switch their career path, says

Kranz. “Hence the dual vocational education and training system

– both today and in the future – is a mainstay of the Liechtenstein

education system”. The low youth unemployment rate

in Liechtenstein of around three per cent can be attributed,

inter alia, to the high quality of professional training.

Werner Kranz

What did you want to be

when you were a child?

A professional football player.

What do you like best about

your job?

Dealing with people, leading my team and the honour

of contributing to the development of education in the

Principality.

What do you still appreciate the most from your time

in education?

The notion of lifelong learning

Liechtenstein’s own university

Those with the Matura in their pocket go on to tertiary

education, usually abroad in neighbouring countries such

as Austria or Switzerland. A number of established universities

are located within an hour’s drive, such as the

University of St. Gallen. However, Liechtenstein has operated

its own small university in the capital of Vaduz since

2011. The University offers courses in entrepreneurship,

business information technology, banking and financial

management, business administration and architecture.

Further education institutions include the Private University

in the Principality of Liechtenstein and the International

Academy of Philosophy. In matters of education, the

Liechtenstein population benefits from Liechtenstein’s

membership of the European Economic Area (EEA). Consequently,

the country participates in EU vocational training

programmes, which offer graduates of training programmes

the opportunity to gain international

experience.

@

Interview

with Werner Kranz

25

www.liechtenstein.li/

eduinterview


Business/Education

“I didn’t want to

take part at first”

Lukas Beck won the Gold Medal in the occupational group of plasterers at the

WorldSkills championships in São Paulo in 2015. In this interview, he describes

how he prepared for the competition and what effect the result has had on his

further career.

Text: Joël Grandchamp · Photos: Eddy Risch

Every schoolchild has their favourite subjects as well as

subjects they’d prefer to see banned from the curriculum

during their time at school. What were yours and why?

Lukas Beck: I always really liked sport and crafts, especially

at primary school. Later on, I liked subjects in which you

could be physically active and use your hands. I also developed

an interest in chemistry and even did a trial apprenticeship

as a chemical laboratory assistant, but ultimately I opted

for an apprenticeship as a plasterer: after all, it also involves

chemistry. I was less thrilled by languages.

How exactly does chemistry still matter in your day-today

work?

My knowledge of chemistry is certainly useful in my

everyday work. It gives me a much greater understanding

of how materials react to and with each other. We work a

lot with chemical processes. I know, for example, how

binders react with different materials, and make fewer

errors as a result.

You work for your family’s company. Was it clear to you

from the outset that you wanted to work there?

Once I had decided to do an apprenticeship as a plasterer,

it was assumed that I would take over the business at some

stage. But I can’t say today whether that’s how things will

actually turn out in future. Even so, when I’m in Liechtenstein,

I work in the family business. My brother also did his

apprenticeship here and will be taking part in WorldSkills

this summer. So at the moment it looks as if the two of us

will probably take over the business in the future.

In other words, your brother is more or less following in

your footsteps. How have his results been until now?

Right, he goes to Abu Dhabi this summer. You have to complete

the apprenticeship with a better grade than 5, and he

managed to do that. So he was able to join the Liechtenstein

team and came second in the Swiss championships. Later on,

he also took part in the Austrian championships – not in

order to win, but as a rehearsal for the real thing.

What gave you yourself the motivation to apply for the

WorldSkills competition?

I didn’t want to take part at first and wasn’t at all enthusiastic

about the idea. Both the Liechtenstein team and the Swiss

training centre were very persistent and tried to persuade

me. I then participated in the Swiss championships and that

went well enough to convince even me that I could participate

without having the feeling that it would turn out to be

an utter disaster. That’s probably the reason why I wasn’t so

nervous.

How did you prepare yourself for the WorldSkills?

Well, you don’t enter WorldSkills as a sole competitor but as

part of the Liechtenstein team. They work out how you should

26


oho#4

prepare for the competition. You get a trainer assigned to

you and work with them to create a training plan. The more

time you have, the more you train. We were able to use the

premises of the Swiss Painters and Plasterers Association,

but we also trained here in Liechtenstein. I was also able to

work for three months in Biel at my mentor’s company. All

this was accompanied by sports and mental training sessions

together with the team. And, after work, there was

still a lot of theory to learn, for example, regulations or tool

lists. The exams from previous years were also available,

so we could begin practising with the old plans right from

the start. Three months before the competitions we then

received the current plans. About one third of them were

swapped at the competition so that you couldn’t just memorise

everything.

What was the exam at WorldSkills like?

For the past nine years the exam has consisted of completing

a drywall – you have to mount gypsum boards on metal

stands. In Brazil that was like a small house with four walls

that had window and door cut-outs. One was in the form of

the Jesus you see standing on the mountain in Rio de Janeiro.

The task in the first module was to set up this drywall in

10 hours. The second module was the plastering itself – the

typical work of a plasterer. In the third module you had to

create stucco work. In our case we had entered the timed

competition at the same time, so our work was assessed both

for its speed and accuracy. Then we had to complete the

fourth module, which was freestyle. You had two hours to do

whatever you liked. The more complex and harder the work,

and the better the finished product, the more points you got

for it. I made a jungle tree out of stucco – a tree, because it

can always be regenerated, which is also true of plaster.

How have you been able to benefit from WorldSkills –

before, during and after the event?

During the preparations we noticed how we were continually

making progress. In any case, you definitely become more

self-confident; you improve the way you come across in public

and your work techniques – despite the odd minor setback.

Everyone is really pleased after the competition is

over, no matter how well they did. It’s also a way of advertising

for your business and yourself, and it opens up many

opportunities. Most of the former participants are doing

something different today than what they were at the time

of the competition, be it a change of employer, training, or

work abroad. I’ve been living for a year in Venice now, and

my valuable experience at WorldSkills together with the

corresponding certificate definitely helped me get this job.

What exactly are you doing in Venice?

I work for the Unione Stuccatori Veneziani, a stucco work and

restoration company. We make wall decorations out of traditional

wall plastering. After all, in Venice there are, in princi­

27


Business/Education

ple, no new buildings, meaning that all of them are

historical. The kind of permission we get depends on

the preservation order. Assuming that we can get the

permission, we sometimes do new stuff, but mostly

we restore what’s already there. Even in the case of

modern projects, we always stick to the traditional

working techniques that are set out by the conservation

authority. I intend to keep working in Venice at

least until August or September. Then I think I’ll

probably continue my training in Switzerland. I'd like

to pass the master craftsman qualification or do a

course at the Haus der Farbe College in Zurich, where

they train you up on design in construction or in

architecture.

So your work in Venice came right after

WorldSkills?

Yes, basically. I began with six months of practical

training at the Unione Stuccatori first and managed

to extend this by four months. Then I was in the city

of Vicenza, which also has a restoration school. There

I did a course for craftsmen in historic preservation.

That was the last school I completed until now.

Would you recommend others to take part in

WorldSkills?

Absolutely! We’ve already convinced my brother. He

hasn’t needed quite as much preparation as I did, be­

cause he already knows the ropes. If at all possible,

I’ll be going there to support him. I’ll probably be

more nervous than I was when I took part (laughs).

Lukas Beck

What did you want to be when you were a child?

A geologist or inventor. For a while, I was interested

in becoming a goldsmith.

What were the most important stages in your

educational career?

Completing the plastering apprenticeship was certainly the

most important one. Here you learn all the basics of how to

use your hands. The monument school was a great help, too.

What do you still appreciate the most from your time in

education?

Just how brilliant our hands are. They’re a perfect tool.

You can do so many things with them. You’d certainly need

loads of inventions to do the same things otherwise. Practical

work can be great, you know, and even though it’s demanding,

it can also be very relaxing.

28


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Business/Education

Education 4.0: MINT

subjects in the spotlight

Economy 4.0, virtual worlds, interdisciplinary networking: digitisation

increasingly permeates society and economy and has dramatically

changed parts of them. Qualifications in the disciplines of mathematics,

IT, the natural sciences and technology – the so-called MINT subjects –

provide the key skills of the future. Liechtenstein’s education system

has taken up this challenge.

Text: Michael Benvenuti · Photo: ZVG

Which digital qualifications and skills must be taught at

school, university and training college? What staff need

Economy 4.0 in order to keep up with the international competition?

The discussion on the opportunities and risks of

digitisation has now reached the gates of education policymakers

in Liechtenstein. In response to the digital challenge,

the Government in Vaduz teamed up with representatives of

the business and manufacturing industry community to found

theLiechtenstein MINT Initiative” charitable foundation. It

aims to promote enthusiasm for mathematics, IT, the natural

sciences and technology in schools and to increase awareness

of the technical professions.

The “pepper-MINT” experimental laboratory was instigated

as the first project. Here, nursery school children and pupils

can discover and experience the fascination of science and

technology outside the classroom as of summer 2017. “The

MINT lab creates ideal conditions for collecting experimental

experiences at an early stage in order to assist children in

their school education”, emphasises Prof Lothar Ritter, Rector

of the Interstate University of Applied Sciences of Technology

Buchs (NTB).

Don’t just talk, do something about it

A further important component of Education 4.0 is the ETH

“Programming with logo” project in which fourth and fifth

graders start to acquire a basic knowledge of information

technology in a playful way. Juraj Hromkovic, Professor of

Information Technology and Training at ETH Zurich is

convinced that programming skills will be essential in the

future IT-based knowledge society in order for people to live

useful lives, not only as consumers, but also as creative and

constructive contributors. The present school system, he

says, no longer meets the requirements of the future. Schools

are now called on to offer more than mere explanations of

finished products of science, such as facts and methods. “The

focus should be more on experimentation and discovery, and

getting children to test and validate their own hypotheses”,

demands Hromkovic. Ritter completely agrees: “In the case

of IT initiatives it’s particularly important that emphasis is

placed not on talking about the subject but on individual

work and on the opportunity to develop hands-on skills”.

Ritter also sees the growing gap between the demands of

society, economy and politics on the one hand and the biological

hardware of people on the other as the biggest challenge

30


oho#4

facing education and training. Dr. Heinz Bachmann at the

Zurich University of Teacher Education gets right to the heart

of the matter in a guest article for the Lilienberg Business

Forum: demands placed on the individual are set to rise in

the world of tomorrow. At the same time, however, people’s

biological foundations are the same as they were centuries

ago in regard to learning. The way we organise our lives and

work and the degree of complexity with which we surround

ourselves, basically requires ever more powerful and smarter

people. But the day still consists of 24 hours and our brain

still functions very much in the same way as it always has

done for centuries.

Positive influence of digitisation

Performing this balancing act as well as possible must not

only be the objective of education policy, says Ritter: “In the

4.0 world of work, business and society shall need skilled

workers who, in addition to the classic professional skills of

today, also have a basic understanding of how IT will be integrated

as a tool in their daily work and in their private lives,

and of all the things that IT can do for their future field of

work”. Although sceptics mainly see risks and dangers in

digital change, Ritter has a bold, positive view of the future:

“I personally believe that closer interaction between physical

and digital technologies and hence the merging of our real

world with its virtual image can have a positive influence

on human thinking, learning and work”.

Lothar Ritter

What did you want to be when

you were a child?

An inventor.

What were the most important stages in

your educational career?

The grammar school Matura and my mathematics

studies at ETH Zurich.

What do you still appreciate the most from your

time in education?

Systematic thinking and keeping my mind on the

bigger picture.

31


Business/Education

Advertorial

RhySearch

RhySearch is the joint research and innovation centre of the Canton of St. Gallen and the

Principality of Liechtenstein. Since its launch in 2013, RhySearch has seen itself as a

sparring partner for the high-tech industry.

Photo: Oliver Hartmann

The CTI (Swiss Federal Commission for Technology and Innovation)

accredited research and innovation facility based at the NTB

links business with academic research and conducts applied research

and development in order to strengthen competitiveness

particularly on the part of SMEs. Here, the focus is on the areas of

optical coatings and precision manufacturing which have firm

roots in the region. RhySearch currently has by now: nine members

of staff on the payroll and also employs PhD students. One

goal is to improve the transfer of knowledge between the research

and practice communities. From autumn 2017, RhySearch and the

University of Liechtenstein shall jointly be planning a new certificate

course: “Industry 4.0 Manager”. In this case, participants can

implement their own practical project in the field of “Industry 4.0”

under the supervision of a coach. With the support of its two funding

providers, RhySearch aims to further expand its technical infrastructure

in the next few years.

RhySearch. The Research and Innovation Centre, Buchs

Tel. +41 81 755 49 50 www.rhysearch.ch

University of Liechtenstein

The University of Liechtenstein offers some 800 students a personal working environment. Direct contact to the

teaching staff is one of the University’s major strengths. The student-teacher ratio speaks for itself: for every 12

students there is one faculty member. Study takes place in small groups with the emphasis placed on practical

usefulness. Here the benefits of a private university meet the manageable tuition fees of a state run university.

INNOVATIVE TEACHING

Knowledge is transferred here dynamically in accordance

with Swiss quality standards. The four institutes of Architecture

and Planning, Entrepreneurship, Financial Services and

Information Systems offer a creative and performance-oriented

environment. This opens up attractive career opportunities for

graduates.

CAMPUS OF THE NATIONS

Students from over 38 countries meet up at the campus. They benefit

from the University’s excellent network in the form of exchange programmes

with 80 partner universities in 38 countries. This ensures

personal and professional development at an international level.

AN ATHLETIC TRADITION

The campus for pioneering thinkers scores top marks with its location

set in front of an impressive mountain backdrop.Snowboarding,

mountain biking, hiking – the Alps are a paradise for outdoor

sports enthusiasts. UniSport provides students with the opportunity

to pursue their preferred sport alongside their studies. In cooperation

with the University of St. Gallen, local associations, clubs,

sports centres, gyms and the Liechtenstein University Sports Club

(LHSV), UniSport offers a wide range of sports activities. So there

are many ways to offset the pressures of academic work.

University of Liechtenstein, Vaduz

Tel. +423 265 11 11 www.uni.li

32


Advertorial

oho#4

Higher education teaching and research

Frequently, the NTB is also called the “Technical University of Liechtenstein”. And not

without reason. On the one hand, every year young people from Liechtenstein decide to

attend engineering courses at the NTB; on the other, Liechtenstein’s industry has used the

attractive opportunities offered by the NTB as a provider of applied research and development

for decades.

The NTB is a university of applied

sciences which emerged over four decades

ago from the needs of regional

companies. It offers a choice of six

fields of study: mechanical engineering,

photonics, electronics and control

engineering, computer engineering,

microtechnology as well as information

and communication systems. In

the field of bachelor degrees, the university

focuses on systems engineering

as an interdisciplinary study programme.

The NTB is characterised by its practical engineering

education, an attractive pool of professionals, and the

promotion of innovation through applied research and

development with industrial companies.

Focused and needs-oriented

The digitisation and networking of

autonomous and automated machines,

robots, systems and resources is set to

open up undreamt of possibilities in the

fields of work and leisure. With its interdisciplinary

model of study and its

research and development activities,

the NTB offers optimum conditions

under which students can prepare

themselves vocationally for, and even

help shape, the digital future. Graduates

of the engineering studies programme

leading to the “Bachelor of Science

FHO in Systems Engineering”

degree are also perfectly prepared to

master complex systems and processes

– as used, for example, in the “Industry

4.0” production concept. A wide range

of Master’s programmes in technology

and continuing education courses offer

engineers with practical experience

the chance to broaden their knowledge

and skills base in specific areas of

the engineering sciences in an application-oriented

way. Consistent modularisation

of each training course, the choice

between full-time and part-time forms

of study, and the close proximity to the

student’s home and place of work

thanks to the three places of study

in Buchs, Chur and St. Gallen, add

welcome flexibility to the range of

tertiary education courses.

The experience of technology transfer

NTB institutes are not only partners of

the industrial enterprises, but also employ

the majority of the teaching staff.

• Institute of Mechatronic Systems Development EMS

• Institute of Electronics, Sensors and Actuators ESA

• Institute of Computational Engineering ICE

• Institute of Energy Systems IES

• Institute of Information Technology in

Engineering INF

• Institute of Micro- and Nanotechnology MNT

• Institute of Production Metrology, Materials

and Optics PWO

Last but not least, the “Interstaatliche

Hochschule für Technik Buchs NTB”

enables manufacturing industry to

benefit from access to CTI-funded projects

(Swiss Federal Commission for

Technology and Inno vation).

The NTB was awarded the EFQM certificate

“Recognised for Excellence (R4E)” in 2017.

Facts & figures

Interstaatliche Hochschule für Technik

Buchs NTB

• Opened: 1970

• Funded by the Cantons of St. Gallen, Graubünden

and the Principality of Liechtenstein

• Motto: Tech your future

• Students: approx. 445

• Staff: approx. 220

• Networks: FHO, IBH

NTB Campus, Buchs

Tel. +41 81 755 33 11 www.ntb.li

33


Business/Education

Sovereignty as a

recipe for success

Liechtenstein has leaped from being a poor rural state to becoming a

flourishing economy in record time. After all, Liechtenstein’s economic

miracle was only made possible through the clever utilisation of state

sovereignty.

Text: Stefan Lenherr · Photo: ZVG

Inventions

1919

Jenny Spörri:

Manufacturing company in the

textile sector (mid-19th century)

1923

Scana Schaan:

Goulash soup, canned food factory

(1936)

1935

Milestones

Before becoming part of

the Swiss customs territory,

Liechtenstein had formed a

customs and currency union

with Austria. The Austria­

Liechtenstein customs treaty

was terminated in 1919,

however, because of economic

difficulties.

Ivoclar Vivadent AG

was founded in Zurich in

1923. Today the company

operates from its headquarters

in Liechtenstein’s

Schaan and has risen to

become one of the world’s

leading dental companies.

Scana Konservenfabrik

AG was founded in 1935.

The company launched its

first frozen products in

1961. Hilcona was the first

company in Switzerland and

Liechtenstein to industrially

produce fresh pasta in 1984.

This opened up a completely

new market.

34


oho#4

At the beginning of the 19th century, prospects for an economic upturn in Liechtenstein

were still unimaginably poor. After the First World War, the country was

on its knees. Its customs and currency partner Austria-Hungary had been defeated

and the lights went out in the few textile factories that existed at that time. But

then began a miraculous development which would result in Liechtenstein having

the highest GDP per capita in the world today. The country is now right among the

leaders in the league of industrialised countries and can offer even more jobs within

its borders than the country itself has inhabitants.

In his book “Wirtschaftswunder Liechtenstein”, the historian Christoph Maria

Merki thoroughly explores the question of how the meteoric rise of the microstate

in the heart of Europe can best be explained. He summarises his findings by

stating: “Liechtenstein has built up a locational advantage from the circumstance

that it is a sovereign state. This is what I call the commercialisation of sovereignty”.

In concrete terms, this is expressed, for example, in the fact that Liechtenstein

was able to sell the rights of citizenship to wealthy foreigners and thereby generate

revenue in the 1930s. Better known, however, is probably the global trade in Liechtenstein

stamps. But even more important for its positive development was the fact

that the state created ideal conditions for it to become an international financial

1936

1941

Contina AG:

Abacus Curta (1948)

Carena AG:

Film camera (1960)

Today’s Hoval AG was

founded in 1936. At the beginning,

the company produced

simple cooking stoves

and the first central heating

cooker which was connected

via pipes to radiators. Heating

and air conditioning systems

from Hoval are currently

exported to over 50

countries. Buckingham Palace,

for example, is heated

with Hoval systems.

Press- und Stanzwerk

AG was founded in Eschen

in 1941. Today the company

is called Thyssen Krupp

Presta. It is Liechtenstein's

largest employer with

around 2,200 employees.

Every fourth car in the

world is equipped with a

Presta steering system.

1941 also marks the year

when the mechanical engineering

company Hilti OHG

was founded. Today, Hilti AG

is global market leader in

the field of professional fastening

technology.

35


Business/Education

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New training laboratory in Vaduz

In order to create more space and opportunities for traineeships, education and training,

the labormedizinisches zentrum now has a special training laboratory.

With the full launch and completion of final work at the new

site in Wuhrstrasse in Vaduz, the training laboratory was

able to begin operating in late May. Each year, the family

business offers pupils and students the opportunity to experience

work in a medical laboratory, for example in the framework

of the annually held FITNA Days (“Promotion of Interest

in Technology and the Natural Sciences”) and taster days.

At the same time, the company offers ideal conditions for

making regular training courses and workshops more interactive

and practical. The new sites in Vaduz and Buchs will

be formally inaugurated and open to the general public in

the autumn of 2017.

“We look forward to the new possibilities and are grateful

that we can offer our employees the excellent infrastructure

required for your further education”.

(Martin Risch, CEO)

labormedizinisches zentrum Dr Risch, Vaduz

Tel. 058 523 30 00 www.risch.ch

36


oho#4

hub. In combination with the now discontinued banking

secrecy system, tens of billions of Swiss francs flowed to

Liechtenstein over the decades. The financial sector was an

all but inexhaustible source of money for the State until just

a few years ago.

State outsourcing

What further favoured the economic boom was the outsourcing

of government services, says historian Merki: “Liechtenstein

is a very small state and is unable to carry out all the

tasks that a state is supposed to fulfil by itself”. Since the

country does not have to maintain an army and uses the

Swiss franc instead of having its own currency, and since

it doesn’t have an airport or even an autobahn, the Liechtenstein

State saves a lot of money. Instead, the Principality

buys in these services at low cost from neighbouring Switzerland.

And so in the field of higher education it also relies on

foreign partners. Although Vaduz hosts a small university,

the range of courses it offers is limited. This is why most people

from Liechtenstein who wish to study go abroad. “These

two special reasons – the commercialisation of sovereignty

and the outsourcing of government services – explain why

Liechtenstein has grown so remarkably”, summarises Merki.

Mainstays of the economy

In the wake of international developments, the financial centre

of Liechtenstein has come under serious pressure. Today,

far less money flows into the State Treasury than even ten

years ago. Nevertheless, Liechtenstein benefits from the fact

that it hosts a series of innovative industries. “In reality, manufacturing

industry has created more jobs than the financial

sector”, says Merki, “Today, these are the companies which

are helping Liechtenstein get through the difficult times

which its financial services industry is currently experiencing”.

The most important players in industry today include

the Ivoclar Vivadent dental technology group, the food manu­

Malbuner “Prince’s Ham” (1967)

1967

Ospelt Herbert Anstalt:

1975

Neutrik AG:

Audio connectors (1975/76)

World Pac AG:

Sun Spice flat films and casings

(1993)

1995

Intamin AG was founded in

1967. Today, the company

headquartered in Liechtenstein

is the worldwide number

1 in building roller

coasters.

In 1975 the Neutrik

company was founded in

Schaan – with the idea of

developing innovative products

that would connect the

interface between mechanics

and electronics. Today,

the professional entertainment

industry is impossible

to imagine without the innovative

plug-in connectors

and connection systems of

Neutrik AG.

Liechtenstein joined the

European Economic Area

(EEA) on 1 May 1995. Since

then, Swiss customs law or

EEA law can be applied in

parallel on the territory of

the Principality of Liechtenstein.

37


TR ADITION

Give value to receive value

David Vogt Holding Anstalt

www.vogt.li


oho#4

facturer Hilcona, the construction technology company Hilti,

the automotive supplier ThyssenKrupp Presta and the coating

specialist Oerlikon Balzers. In total, over 14,000 people

are employed at industrial enterprises based in Liechtenstein.

Looking below the major enterprises, many smaller industrial

companies have emerged in recent years. They usually employ

fewer than 50 people. Despite their small size, they are

often among the technology leaders in their specialised niche

markets. Because companies in Liechtenstein have never

been able to rely on the country’s internal market, which is

far too small, they were always forced to seek their fortune in

exports. In order for them to compete successfully on the international

stage, innovation has always been a major part of

their business activities. Hence many inventions which went

on to achieve commercial success have their origins in Liechtenstein.

Christoph Merki

What did you want to be

when you were a child?

An astronaut.

What do you like best

about your job?

Freedom.

What does education mean

for you?

Opportunities.

Wine Cellars of the Prince of

Liechtenstein:

Pinot Noir Herawingert (1997)

Hoval AG:

BioLyt pellet boiler (1999)

Hilti AG:

Combined hammer TE 70-ATC (2008)

ThyssenKrupp Presta AG:

EPAS steering system (2010)

OC Oerlikon Balzers AG:

Ingenia coating plant (2011)

2015

2015 was the year when

Liechtenstein had the lo west

unemployment rate in Europe

at just 2.4 per cent.

2015 marked the first time

that with 19,652 commuters,

more workers with residence

abroad were employed in

Liechtenstein than the number

of people with residence

in the Principality.

@

Interview

with Christoph Maria Merki

39

www.liechtenstein-business.li/

merki-interview


Business/Education

Hi-tech is also

a girl thing

So boys get to play with technology while girls are

left with dolls? No way, José! As a child, Roelene

Botha always wanted to play with her brother’s toy

cars much more than with Barbie dolls and little

girl’s playthings. Today, the 36-year old South

African is project manager at the RhySearch

research centre in Buchs. Her goal is to create

an “Optics Valley” in the Rhine Valley.

Text: Michael Benvenuti · Photo: Oliver Hartmann

“Pink was never my favourite colour”, Roelene Botha smiles

almost apologetically as if she had to justify the fact that she

has successfully gone her way as a woman in a still maledominated

world. Botha, who grew up in Krugersdorp, a suburb

of Johannesburg, has been a senior research engineer at

the University of Applied Sciences of Technology Buchs (NTB)

and project manager at the Research Centre RhySearch since

2014. The 36-year-old South African’s declared goal at Rhy­

Search is to create an “Optics Valley”, a kind of Silicon Valley

in the Rhine Valley. Even as a little girl, Botha was magically

attracted to technology and natural sciences.

“I found my older brother's toy vehicles much more interesting

than Barbie dolls or other such playthings”. The holder of

a PhD in Physics remembers how her father, himself an engineer,

supported her on her way and gave her the necessary

backing: “He was always in favour of equal treatment and

never gave me the feeling that certain subjects and areas are

off-limits to women”.

Being free as a woman in Europe

First, the interest in toy cars, then the natural sciences,

applied mathematics, information technology and engineering:

Botha’s development from being a curious girl to becoming

a student of electronics and information technology

at the University of Johannesburg was completely consistent.

But what was it specifically that made her move from

the Cape of Good Hope on the Old Continent to Paris? “I received

an offer to complete my doctorate at the École Polytechnique

and was delighted to accept it”, she recalls. Yet it

was also because Botha had originally only planned to come

to Europe for a short stay and fully intended to return to her

native country. But then she began to appreciate and enjoy

the freedoms: “The great thing about Europe is that unlike

South Africa, you can live freely, independently and on your

own as a woman”.

There she was entrusted with tasks that still challenge and

tantalise her: “It's always amazing to get the chance to work

40


oho#4

on something new and build up projects. The feeling

that you’re making an important contribution is deeply

satisfying”. Botha is well aware that women are still not

always entrusted with leadership roles – but her response

to this is surprisingly measured: “Such companies

choose to go without well-educated employees.

That’s their own fault!”

Another course of education in the pipeline

Despite her successful career, the smart South African,

who regularly played piano and cello up to the

age of 18, still hasn’t arrived at her final destination

when it comes to education. Her thirst for knowledge

has not been quenched, not by a long way, she says,

laughing: “I’d still very much like to do another further

education course”. What would tantalise her is

something she does not reveal, however. But it seems

highly likely that this course of study will have nothing

to do with Barbie dolls or girls’ playthings.

Roelene Botha

What did you want to be when you were a child?

A musician or scientist.

What were the most important stages in your

educational career?

Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Bachelor of

Sciences in Computer Science from the University of

Johannesburg, Master of Engineering in Electronics at

the University of Johannesburg, PhD in Physics at the

École Polytechnique LPICM.

What do you still appreciate the most from your

time in education?

Change and diversion.

41


Business/Education

Back from the

future

She predicts that human and artificial intelligence will soon merge and that the 3D printer

will lead to a new world order. She talks of optimised BioKinder products, networked underwear

and robots that can change nappies. For over 25 years, Karin Frick, head of research at

the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute (GDI) in Rüschlikon on the shore of Lake Zurich, has

analysed trends in society, consumption and business.

42

Text: Michael Benvenuti · Photo: Oliver Hartmann

Foto: iStock


oho#4

When Karin Frick speaks of the future, there’s no “might”

or “possibly” which resonates in her words. In fact there’s

no doubt at all. She describes developments, revolutions

and new forms of life as if she’d seen them with her own

eyes or had experienced them – as if she’d already travelled

back and forth into the future. Where does she get

this certainty from? “Provocative statements are a stylistic

device that guard against blindness to the future, the

point is to stretch the bounds of the imagination. We develop

scenarios, meaning images and stories about possible

futures, which are intended to open up new perspectives

and identify risks and opportunities at an early

stage”, says the 56-year-old, adding that she picks out

parts from a wide range of different sciences and immediately

inserts them into her unique jigsaw puzzle. Incidentally,

Frick does not regard herself as a scientist in the

strict sense of the word, but rather as a border crosser

between disciplines.

Driven by curiosity

This curiosity and the need to explore limits had already

driven her as a child, says the woman from Schaan. She

had always questioned what others believed to be unchangeable

and been searching for new ways. Nevertheless,

in her choice of studies, she went down the quite

usual path for a Liechtenstein holder of the Matura by opting

for Economics at the University of St. Gallen. But she

would no longer do that today, she says. “Instead I'd study

computer science, or combine the natural sciences with

technology”. Nothing has changed in terms of her dream

job, however, laughs the mother of two sons: “I’d choose

futurological research again”.

Particularly striking in the interview with Karin Frick is

her optimism when she speaks of the future. She seems to

see only the positive in the new and often unknown, only

possibilities and opportunities. It is no coincidence that

she travels once a year to Silicon Valley in her search

for inspiration. Representatives of the Singularity University

there believe that technology will one day solve

all the world's problems. The well-known US-American

futurologist Raymond Kurzweil is even convinced that

the dream of immortality might be fulfilled in the next

10 to 20 years. Artificial intelligence and biotechnology

will overcome death, which Kurzweil calls an “engineering

problem”.

Of course, trend research in the United States often

strikes Europeans as being naïve and not particularly

well thought through, says Frick. Even so, she definitely

feels a much closer affinity to the enthusiasm expressed

across the pond than the pessimism of her German-speaking

colleagues, who often seem only to see a threat in the

new and unknown. “If we can’t envision a better world than it is

today, then why on earth bother getting up in the morning?” she

asks. Remaining stuck in the present situation and not moving

forward is not an option for her at least, she stresses. Here, it’s

well worth bearing in mind that she’s been running marathons

for years and has a best time of 3:46:51.

No hankering for nostalgia

Consequently, the economist will never subscribe to the point of

view that everything was somehow better in the past. For that

would be a much too nostalgic and romanticised way of looking

at things. “I'd rather live in the here and now of today than that

of 100 years ago”. Frick leaves no doubt about this and instantly

backs up her statement with a reason: “Because we have more

options, because it’s clear that more opportunities are open to

us”. 100 years ago, she would have been the mother of ten children

and would have had to feed them all before going to work

in the cowshed, doing the washing and taking care of the

garden. So in Karin Frick’s mind, there’s no reason at all to

demonise progress.

Karin Frick

What did you want to be when you were a child?

A boss with my own secretary.

What were the most important stages in your

educational career?

The degree in Business Economics from the University

of St. Gallen.

What do you still appreciate the most from your time

in education?

The fact that I’ve never finished learning.

43


Business/Education

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44


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45


Kultur/Genuss

Culture/Taste

2000 YEARS OF

GOOD TASTE

Wine has been grown in the Principality of Liechtenstein for 2,000 years.

Wine-growing areas mainly attract connoisseurs who, in turn, are also interested

in art. No wonder, then, that culture and good taste are written large in Liechtenstein

– and are frequently found side by side to each other, not just on paper.

Photo: Roland Korner

46


oho#4

47


Culture/Taste

A sip of

Liechtenstein

Wine was already grown in Liechtenstein at the start of the Christian era.

The tradition of wine-growing is alive to this day in the country’s municipalities.

What’s more, top tipples from Liechtenstein also include specialty beers and

high-quality spirits.

Text: Stefan Lenherr · Photo: ZVG

Wine has been grown in the area of present-day Liechtenstein

for about 2000 years. In early times it was the Romans

who introduced the systematic cultivation of vines to the

region. Yet they were forced to abandon their vines from the

south of the Empire. Instead, they cultivated the local, wild

varieties which cope best with the local climatic conditions.

The white Elbling, which was the preferred grape variety at

the outset of Liechtenstein’s winemaking tradition, disappeared

from local vineyards in the 1940s, however. Over

100 winegrowers in Liechtenstein today cultivate about twenty

different varieties. One of them stands out: for some 350

years the Blauburgunder, or Pinot noir, has been considered

the type of wine which is best suited to Liechtenstein’s climate.

As a result, it is still regarded as the most typical

Liechtenstein wine today.

@

Video interview

with Marcel Telser

48

www.tourismus.li/

telsington

The vines are cultivated from Eschnerberg in the north of

the country to Gutenberg hill at the southern tip of Liechtenstein.

Nevertheless, the capital Vaduz is the country’s winegrowing

centre par excellence. South-facing and sheltered

slopes as well as ideal climatic conditions first enabled the

largest vineyards to emerge here in the Middle Ages. Vaduz

is also home to the Prince of Liechtenstein Winery. It offers

both a good overview of the range of Liechtenstein wines as

well as rarities which can be tasted and purchased. Princess

Marie of Liechtenstein, who is a qualified sommelière and

responsible for marketing and distribution in

the Winery, says: “We offer different wines

which have different characters depending

on the grape variety, on its selection

and its stage of development. But what

underpins all our products is the endeavour

to produce the highest quality. Here, we make no

compromises, and this quality strategy pays off. In addition

to the Prince of Liechtenstein Winery in Vaduz, special Liechtenstein

wines can be tasted at the Castellum wine-growing

estate in Eschen and at the Harry Zech Vineyard Cantina in

Schaanwald. Last but not least, what keeps wine culture alive

are the many wine growers who cultivate small areas as a

supplementary source of income or for their personal use,

and who make their own wines.

Resurrection of a beer culture

Connoisseurs who prefer the art of brewing are also well

catered for in Liechtenstein. Although the inhabitants of

the Principality had to wait almost 100 years for a domestic

beer after an earlier brewery closed its gates during the

First World War, Liechtenstein Brauhaus AG finally filled

this gap ten years ago. With craftsmanship, the finest ingredients

and a selection of special beers, such as “Malbu­

Bock”, which was inspired by the winter sports resort of

Malbun, it has now established itself on a beer market

previously dominated solely by Swiss breweries. The

re-emergence of a Liechtenstein beer culture is enriched

by a micro­ brewery from the south of the country. In recent

years, the Prinzenbräu brewery from Balzers has delighted

its growing fan base with naturally cloudy ales.

Liechtenstein’s first whisky

Tradition and innovation are now combined at the Telser distillery

in Triesen. The familyrun business has been distilling

a range of fine spirits for over 130 years and hit the headlines

a few years ago with Liechtenstein’s first whisky. International

experts rate Telsington Whisky as one of the best European


oho#4

whiskeys. “As the name suggests, whisky is the water of

life. It’s up to each producer to find his own unique style”,

says Marcel Telser, owner and master distiller of the Telser

distillery, “That was the great task which cost me about 15

years of preparatory work”.

As the world renowned wine expert Hugh Johnson once

said: “In a world of tough competition – and this is certainly

the world of wine today – distinctive features are important”.

In Liechtenstein this also holds true not only for its

wines, but for all beverages “made in Liechtenstein”.

Three questions

to Princess Marie

How important is wine to you?

First and foremost, and for me at least, wine is a delicious

product which I very much enjoy on various occasions

and as a drink to accompany meals. I also associate wine

very much with conviviality, a good meal with friends or

a family celebration. In moderation, wine can help to

create a good mood and be a perfect way to round off an

evening. In addition, wine is an incredibly multifaceted

natural product which is influenced by various environmental

factors, so it’s always good for a pleasant surprise.

How has your view of wine and its production changed

since you became a qualified sommelière?

My training course helped me to become much more

aware of just how diverse wine can be. Each wine is a

product of meticulous craftsmanship, both in the vineyard

and in the cellar.

How often are you personally out and about in the

vineyards of the Prince of Liechtenstein Winery?

All too rarely, unfortunately, but if I find the time, I enjoy

the beauty of the landscape and try to learn a lot from Mr

Weinmeyer, our oenologist and managing director. He’s

been with us at the Winery for almost 35 years and knows

every vineyard and vine there is.

A personal snapshot

Princess Marie of Liechtenstein has supported the Prince

of Liechtenstein Winery in the field of marketing and sales

since 2013. She has also been a qualified sommelière since

the start of 2014.

Princess Marie

What did you want to be when you were a child?

As a child I always thought pharmacies were wonderful, they

were so clean and had such a nice smell, so I wanted to work

in a pharmacy.

What do you like best about your job?

The opportunity I have to always discover something new,

and getting to know different people.

What does education mean for you?

Education is extremely important and essential for the development

of any society. We therefore try to provide our children

with a good education and further training, and give

them helpful support whenever possible.

49


Culture/Taste

Bringing smiles to

people’s faces

She is a drama teacher, wife and mother. In her capacity as managing

director of junges THEATER liechtenstein, she is also called on to be

an entrepreneur, writer, director, actress, lighting technician and

engineer … doing voluntary work is a matter of course for her:

Beatrice Brunhart-Risch on her quite normal daily life.

Text: Doris Büchel · Photo: Roland Korner

50


oho#4

You almost forget to register what she’s saying – because simply

the way she says it is captivating: Beatrice Brunhart-Risch

truly pulls out all the stops. She tells her story over the drinks

counter slowly and deliberately, almost as if she were singing;

all the time she moves her body back and forth, walks to and

fro, and underscores her words deliberately with pointed

gestures. At the start of the meeting in the foyer of junges

THEATER liechtenstein, directly on the Hauptstrasse in

Schaan, she says she would prefer to stand during the interview

– as if she wants to give her temperament the space it

requires. Beatrice is a busy woman. There’s hardly anything

she doesn’t put her hands to – though more out of necessity

than as a virtue: In the junges THEATER liechtenstein, her

second home, life revolves around productions. And whenever

there’s a production coming up, you’ll find her busy working

in her hands-on way. That’s why one minute you’ll find her up

on a ladder, adjusting spotlights so that they are pointed just

right, but before you know it she’s sitting behind the computer

drafting requests and proposals, or forging business plans.

On rare occasions she also appears as an actress in the spotlight.

But what she most enjoys doing, she does every day:

telling stories and bringing smiles to people’s faces.

Recognising one’s own resources

“You don’t have to teach a small child how to act. It’s a basic

human desire, it happens automatically”, she says. Even so,

not everyone is capable of sharing the stage with other people.

This is the precise point which marks the origin of the

junges THEATER. Here – in this wonderfully dark atmosphere

of the theatre which has just enough of everything, but

never too much – people with and without mental disabilities

from the age of 3 to 90 learn to develop their own personalities.

They learn how to appear confidently in front of others,

to use language effectively, and to better understand their

own body language. They also learn how to give themselves

and the people they are interacting with the required space

to do this in a group. The door is always open to anyone interested

in theatre. “On the one hand, yes, we support gifted

people, but we don’t measure anyone on the basis of their

shortcomings. That’s an extremely important aspect of teaching

drama. Everyone can be sure to discover their strengths

at our theatre”.

You don’t have to teach a

small child how to act.

Theatre education as an art form

The independent association junges THEATER liechtenstein

was founded in 2001. It promotes theatre education as a holistic

education and training programme and as a recognised art

form in Liechtenstein. At the heart of the work is the notion

that “amateurs (can always) put on an act”. All the plays, written

and produced by the junges THEATER specialists themselves,

are based on sound theatre education principles according

to the official mission statement. Or as Beatrice puts it:

“We view the child not as a consumer but above all as an actor”.

Consequently, the idea behind “junges THEATER” is not

that young people act in front of a young audience. Rather, it is

the declaration of a method in which each group, irrespective

of age, develops a new product. “We all arrive at a sequence of

scenes through a process of improvisation, go from there to a

play and then arrive at a dialogue or text, though only at the

very end. So the spoken word only comes at the very end”.

“Every child gets the chance to act”

A question which has exercised Beatrice, the tireless doer,

for many years is how schools can improve on the ways they

teach drama. Or more specifically, how they can get children

to act. For years she found herself “knocking on doors and

pitching three productions from one kindergarten to the

next”. This resulted in the setting up of the Theatre Education

Centre (TPZ). Her tireless dedication has paid off: today,

the non-profit organisation officially collaborates with the

Liechtenstein School Board, carries out as many as sixty

school theatre projects a year and regularly stages all-day

school theatre events. “That’s absolutely wonderful, because

we can now reach each and every child. It doesn’t matter

whether education plays an important part in their homes or

not – every child gets the chance to act”. And so Beatrice

does what she likes doing best: telling stories and bringing

smiles to people’s faces.

51


Culture/Taste

Advertorial

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What Huber Fine Watches & Jewellery offers in Vaduz is an absolute gem –

in both senses of the word. Text + Photo: Huber Uhren & Schmuck

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way. Inside the cube, Huber presents watches and select

jewellery in a pleasantly subtle setting. Precious items

are clearly put in perspective with meticulous attention

to detail. The focus is always on the visitor – who might

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all the major Swiss luxury watch brands in this shop-inshop

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52

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www.huber.li


oho#4

LIVING CULTURE

The Principality of

Liechtenstein

Tradition is more than just a word – it is a cultural

asset which Liechtensteiners are proud of. This explains

why deeply cherished customs and traditions

such as the national public holiday and “Fasnacht”

(Carnival) are still very much a part of the local

cultural fabric. Alongside tradition, modernity has

stepped up to take its place in the form of contemporary

art exhibitions, which accounts for one of the

Principality’s most attractive features.

Text: Joël Grandchamp · Photo: Roland Korner

Museums are places, where treasures are kept and put on

display. Sometimes it's “love at first sight”, sometimes the

charms of a treasure are only revealed during a second,

closer look – and sometimes not at all. But that is precisely

the allure of a treasure hunt in a museum. And many treasures,

large and small, beg to be discovered in Liechtenstein.

Specifically, the capital Vaduz can easily be regarded as the

cultural centre of the country by virtue of its six museums.

Yet it is not only the exhibitions of contemporary art in the

Liechtenstein Museum of Fine Arts and the Hilti Art Foundation,

or theLiechtenstein Treasure Chamber”, which is home

to a Fabergé egg, real Moon rock and the unique treasures of

the Princely Collections, that have gained recognition far beyond

the country's borders. What also attracts international

attention is the cooperation with the Bad RagARTz festival

which is held every three years. After all, many statues and

sculptures are on display all year round and have become

part and parcel of the pedestrian zone in Vaduz. Architectural

masterpieces ultimately turn the town’s Städtle into a synthesis

of the arts. Although it is not signposted, the

Culture Trail which is depicted on the following

page as a recommendation for a walk, brings together

sculptures, architectural sites and museums

on a leisurely stroll through Vaduz.

@

For further details

please visit

53

www.tourismus.li/

culturetrail


Culture/Taste

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with just one pass at an absolute

bargain price.

City-Train

Enjoy Vaduz in 35 minutes

on a relaxing train ride.

54

www.fahrspass.li

www.erlebnispass.li

www.citytrain.li

Tips


CULTURE TRAIL

1 3

Rathaus Vaduz

Reclining Woman

Built according to plans This sculpture by Fernando Botero shows

by Franz Roeckle in 1932, a reposing female nude as a symbol of the

the town hall is modelled dormant soul.

on a medieval public work.

Standing right in front of it

is Nag Arnoldi’s expressive

bronze “Tre Cavalli”, which

displays influences by

Marino Marini as well as Pablo Picasso.

oho#4

8Government District

Taken together, the Government Building,

which dates back to 1905, the Parliament Building

and the National Archives by architect Hansjörg

Göritz have formed the redesigned Government

District on the striking Peter-Kaiser-Platz

since 2008.

8

2Salmann Building

The Salmann Investment Management AG

building features striking modern architecture,

making a walk through the Beckagässli more than

rewarding. Designed by the Cuban and French architect

Ricardo Porro, the building is framed by a

wind chime which is currently deactivated, though

only for reasons of noise protection.

9

10

4Museum of Fine Arts

Designed by the team of architects Meinrad

Morger, Heinrich Degelo and Christian Kerez,

the distinctive black cube has been complemented

since 2015 by the Hilti Art Foundation building,

which was created by the Basel architects

Morger and Dettli.

5 Engländerbau

The English Building was built in 1933 by

the Schaan architect Erwin Hinderer. It was the

first building in the country to be constructed

with structural steel framing. Today, it houses

the Liechtenstein Treasure Chamber, the Postage

Stamp Museum and the Art Space.

9Prince Franz

Josef II and

Princess Gina

To commemorate the

70th wedding anniversary

of the late

Prince and Princess,

the two busts created

by Berlin artist

Bertrand Freisleben were unveiled in the autumn

of 2013.

Cathedral of St. Florin

10This neo-Gothic three-nave church was

built between 1869 and 1873. The cathedral also

contains the crypt of the Princely Family of

Liechtenstein.

11

11

6African King

Artist Gunther

Stilling devotes a

major part of his

work to the human

head.

7 Z-Cube

This letter structure by Liechtenstein artist

Georg Malin depicts the letter Z, which appears

back-to-front when viewed from the outside.

11 Marxerhäuser

Designed by star architect Hans Hollein,

the asymmetrical building connects directly

to a building by architects Anton Falkeis and

Cornelia Falkeis-Senn which is modelled on a

ship. The latter, in turn, opens up on its eastern

side to a well-tended garden.

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Kultur/Genuss

“I never really

wanted to write

my own book”

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oho#4

Two years ago, Sabrina Vogt published a book about Liechtenstein

legends. For the young author from Triesenberg, what

mattered was not so much the emphasis on local language,

but the challenge of setting down narrative elements in writing.

Text: Joël Grandchamp · Photo: Roland Korner

Every schoolchild has their favourite subjects

as well as subjects they’d prefer to see banned

from the curriculum during their time at

school. What were yours and why?

Sabrina Vogt: I pretty much liked every subject

in primary school. What I most liked was reading

adventure stories and taking part in workshops

on various topics. In high school, I found that I

was useless at science, so maths never managed

to be my favourite subject. I’ve always enjoyed

history, economics and biology – and languages,

too, though I must admit I lacked a certain

amount of self-discipline at times.

Where did you get the idea of writing your

own book?

I never really wanted to write my own book – but

I always wanted to design one (laughs). I guess I

want to breathe a bit of life into our culture of storytelling

with my book. I come from a design background

and so, for me, it seemed obvious that I

should use design concepts to make this understandable

to the reader. The book evolved from my

attempt to solve this problem creatively in terms of

design. Of course I had to write texts for my book,

but these aren’t what the book is mainly about. The

texts convey the story, but it is the design aspect

which breathes life into the whole thing. So writing

for me was more a means to an end.

OK, but why did you specifically choose the

culture of storytelling?

Well, when I was young I didn’t get that many

things read out loud to me. Instead, a lot of stories

were told by mouth in the family. My grandparents

were very good storytellers and I always

enjoyed listening to them. Then, as I got older, I

noticed that storytelling no longer had any great

importance – especially the stories of legends

which were told by mouth. Of course there are

people who are good at reading stories out loud,

but their efforts often fall flat, for me at least,

because gestures and facial expressions are frequently

lost in the process. So I thought it was

really important to show that you can still tell

stories to people. Come on, let’s be honest, what

could be more exciting than a mystical legend

told in an original, traditional dialect?

Why then did you choose a book of legends

for your project? Surely some other form

would have been able to advance the culture

of storytelling.

Legends are incredibly important for our storytelling

culture. In earlier times, many people in

Liechtenstein were unable to read or write, so

they told stories instead. Legends provided a

certain, comforting mainstay in life and showed

which rules were important in society. And

there’s another thing, too. It’s not just that I like

listening to stories, it’s also that I enjoy being

halfway scared to death! Legends usually have

some sort of villain or frightening creature capable

of scaring the life out of you for nights on

end. Although I was raised in what we call modern

times, legends have always fascinated me. I

always had in mind: “Well, that’s like in the story

of the night people, maybe I shouldn’t go down

that route”. I could never understand when people

asked me who the night people were. I immediately

had to tell them who they were. So for me,

this project lay close to my heart – also because I

felt sad that nobody seems to know these stories

anymore. That said, the point wasn’t just that the

legends are fading, but that they can perhaps

even live on and continue to evolve.

How did you solve the dilemma of ensuring

that the legends remain alive, so to speak,

in your book?

Storytelling draws its lifeblood from being spontaneous,

from adapting and incorporating new

aspects in the best possible way to reach the

audience. Stories remain interesting when they

are told. If they are written down, they lose their

magic and become nothing more than letters on

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oho#4

sheets of paper. I analysed what makes storytelling so exciting.

Contributory factors include the pitch of the voice, facial

expressions and gestures; things that you can’t really express

on paper. In other words, the dilemma I faced was to solve the

shortcomings of what had been written down with a creative

design approach that would still retain the narrative aspect.

The question was whether it is possible to transfer all the thrilling

aspects of storytelling to a written medium. I tried to solve

this through the book design, which explains why it was so

colourful and sophisticated in its choice of typography. I’m not

bothered whether everything is retold 1:1. What interests me

is that a story lives from the way it is interpreted. That alone

should provide food for thought.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in writing the book?

Given that the project was so incredibly close to my heart,

everything more or less went automatically. I often asked

myself whether the book was good enough for me to get it

published. Obviously, you want it to be perfect, but at some

stage you just have to say: OK, that's enough. So my biggest

challenge was to stop working on the book. The more personal

a project is, the more personally you also take the critique

which it inevitably attracts. So one of the best and most amazing

things which ever happened to me was when I won the

Book Prize for Liechtenstein’s best book.

What was the response to your book?

The feedback was incredibly good. The first edition has almost

sold out in the meantime. Personally, I had the idea of presenting

the book after it had been published, but I wasn’t really prepared

for requests to take part in special reading events, to appear at

special functions or even to become involved in new projects. The

demand is still there; I even received e-mails from people living

in North Germany who had bought the book and liked it. I think

it’s great that my book has become well known beyond international

borders.

Have you completely adapted or simply summarised

the legends?

I’ve adapted and reinterpreted, or embellished, the legends a

bit. Guilty as charged, your Honour! (laughs). I've tried to incorporate

things which I heard and were told to me at an early

stage in life. For me, that makes the stories more lively and,

in any case, they always changed when they were passed on

mouth to mouth. Apart from that, my stories are based on the

last written records by the people from Liechtenstein.

Do you think that local legends should also be included

in the school curriculum?

I think it’s important that pupils learn something about

Liechtenstein legends. Who knows, perhaps they could even be

taught as part of history lessons. After all, they provide an insight

into our culture. They help us gain an idea of what was

once on people’s minds and how all of us from Liechtenstein

have evolved. Just because things are better for us today than

they were in the past doesn't necessarily mean that we can’t

learn anything from the past. My book has been deposited at

the teaching materials media centre. As a result, kindergarten

teachers and other educationists have come across the book

and actively integrate it into the classroom. Even so, it is not

a prescribed text in the Liechtenstein educational curriculum.

Are the legends only from Liechtenstein or are they from

the region?

All of them comprise legends from Liechtenstein and most

of their settings are also located in Liechtenstein. The Killers’

Castle, for example, is actually located on the other side of the

border. But I included it in the book, mainly because it plays a

major role in the stories that surround Balzers. Such legends

have always struck a strong chord among people in Liechtenstein

and have been instrumental in shaping their character.

What is your favourite legend?

As someone from Balzers, I more or less have to say it’s the

legend of the Balzers Dragon (laughs). Partly, that’s because

I know the area very well and can pretty much relate to

everything there. I actually attended kindergarten at Mariahilf

in Balzers, so I could see the dragon on the chapel and,

in any case, the “dragon’s dens” were never too far away. I

also like the legend of Sücka Keres, because my grandfather

can tell it particularly well. Keres is an interesting character

because he was a bit rude but also likeable at the same time:

it’s easy even to feel a little sorry for him. He was actually a

decent man, but he’d run up debts to the devil, which isn’t

exactly the way to go. So he started turning to crooked

things. Although he was rescued, he still comes off as being

a tragic figure because he’s condemned to keep haunting

places up there on the mountainside.

Sabrina Vogt

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I always wanted to be a zoologist. I seem to remember

always lugging around some bulky volume written by

a wildlife expert with me.

What were the most important stages in your

educational career?

The Matura at the Vaduz grammar school, the course I took

in Innsbruck to become a graphics designer and my studies

in Konstanz, where I graduated in Communications Design.

What do you still appreciate the most from your time

in education?

I can well remember that I accomplished many things through

sheer willpower and a healthy dose of stubbornness. I managed

to achieve goals which I thought were all but impossible at

the outset. Above all, I had to learn not to be put off by others,

even though that wasn’t always so easy at times.

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Kultur/Genuss

Culture/Taste

Event highlights

2017/2018

For people young or old and for those veering towards the unconventional or the

traditional – boredom is not an option in Liechtenstein. After all, a wide range

of events in each municipality throughout the year provides highly diversified

entertainment. Visitors can enjoy regional and international theatre productions,

be whisked away to new worlds of ideas during reading events or at the Vaduz

film festival, or simply dance their socks off at music festivals. In the following we

present to you a small selection of events in Liechtenstein. The entire list of current

events can be found at www.tourismus.li/events.

Rock around Malbun

1 – 2 July 2017, Malbun

www.rockaroundmalbun.li

Fascination Pyramids

6 July 2017 – 14 January 2018

www.landesmuseum.li

FL1 Life Festival

7 – 8 July 2017, Schaan

SAL Saal am Lindenplatz

www.fl1.life

25. ligita Liechtensteiner Gitarrentage

8 – 15 July 2017

Liechtensteiner Unterland

www.ligita.li

Vaduz Soundz

27 – 29 July 2017, Vaduz

www.vaduzsoundz.li

2017 CEV Beach Volleyball

1 – 13 August 2017

Vaduz Rathausplatz

www.beachvolley.li

Vaduz Film Festival

3 – 27 August 2017, Vaduz

Peter-Kaiser-Platz,

www.filmfest.li

Donkey Festival in Malbun

5 August 2017, Malbun

Liftstation Täli

www.eselfest.li

Liechtenstein national public holiday

15 August 2017, Vaduz

www.staatsfeiertag.li

Vaduz Classic

24 – 27 August 2017, Vaduz

www.vaduzclassic.li

The Princely Liechtenstein Tattoo

31 August – 2 September 2017

Schellenberg, castle ruins

www.princely-tattoo.li

Kimsooja Exhibition

22 September 2017 – 14 January 2018

www.kunstmuseum.li

Alpabtrieb–Bringing down the cattle

from mountain pastures

September, depending on the weather.

Triesenberg, Steg

www.vbo.li

Triesenberg Weeks

typical local dishes

13 October – 19 November 2017

Triesenberg

www.triesenberger-wochen.li

Vaduz on Ice

11 November 2017 – 8 January 2018

www.vaduz-on-ice.li

Vaduz Christmas market

9 – 10 Dezember 2017

Vaduz Städtle

www.erlebevaduz.li

Start of the skiing season in Malbun

December 2017, depending on the

weather, Malbun

www.bergbahnen.li

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oho#4

Fasnacht – Carnival

8 – 13 February 2018, Liechtenstein

www.fasnacht.li

SlowUp Werdenberg-Liechtenstein

May 2018, Liechtenstein/Werdenberg

www.slowup-werdenberg-liechtenstein.ch

18. LGT Alpine Marathon

16 June 2018, from Bendern to Malbun

www.lgt-alpin-marathon.li

Liechtenstein national public holiday

15 August 2018, Vaduz

www.staatsfeiertag.li

300 musicians assembled in front of the Schellenberg castle 61 ruins during

The Princely Liechtenstein Tattoo”.


Culture/Taste

A lifelong

apprentice

His works are represented in international collections; he worked for ten years

on the “Apocalypse according to St. John”; his second large cycle of graphics

“Vähtreb- Viehtrieb” (Cattle Drive) eventually appeared after more than eight years

in the making. Despite his reputation, says today’s 83-year-old Martin Frommelt,

who is one of Liechtenstein’s most important artists, “as long as you're alive, you're

always an apprentice”.

Text: Doris Büchel · Photos: Roland Korner

Martin Frommelt is waiting in the

doorway. He still seems a little undecided

as to whether he should welcome

the visit or not. And that’s hardly surprising,

as it soon turns out. After all,

his stable, which has been converted

into an atelier, workshop and storeroom

in the village centre of Schaan, is a wonderful

place to work away and hold one’s

tongue. But once your interviewer has

stepped over the threshold, the supposed

scepticism starts to disappear.

The conversation immediately begins

on a guided tour of his impressive

studio. Before long we find ourselves

chatting about his father – a carpenter,

master joiner and architect – from

Martin Frommelt

What did you want to be when

you were a child?

A wood carver.

What were the most important

stages in your educational

career?

Elementary school, the Marianum,

my apprenticeship under Pastor Frommelt,

the Ecole des beaux arts in Paris.

What do you appreciate most from your time in education?

Persistence and keeping at it.

whom he acquired his understanding

and appreciation of different forms;

about the uncle on his mother’s side,

a farmer with whom he used to make

models together, and about a seminal

experience: “My uncle and I would go

as far as buying books on anatomy in

Feldkirch so that we could faithfully

reproduce our model busts”, remembers

Frommelt. He proudly presented

the finished work to his uncle on his

father’s side. The latter was Anton

Frommelt, a priest, politician and artist.

Anton scrutinised the work carefully

before smashing it into pieces with

a piece of wood. “In just half an hour he

had destroyed what we

had been working

on every Sunday

morning for a

year. I stood

in the corner

and cried”.

Without education,

you’re

lost

In hindsight he realised

of course what kind

of nonsense they’d been

up to, says Frommelt and

laughs. A four year old child does simple

things and acts intuitively, he explains.

At the age of ten or twelve, young people

see things and think that they have to

do them in exactly the same way. The

more a child learns, the more it forgets

to listen to its natural intuition. “You

need a lifetime to get back to where you

were as a four year old and to gain the

freedom to be yourself. You remain an

apprentice your whole life long”. Martin

Frommelt, 83 years old, a modest,

friendly and clever man, likes remembering

things, and remembers them

well. He speaks carefully and uses his

words deliberately, just like his brush

strokes. Often the pursuit of freedom,

of a certain genius, comes too early, he

thinks. “That’s ridiculous”, he says mildly.

Youngsters frequently have a misconception

of life as an artist and immediately

want to be great artists. Sometimes

there may be the odd person who actually

realises this goal early on in life; yes,

there are such exceptions. Yet that’s not

what usually happens. “Anyone can photograph

things with today’s cameras.

Then, maybe, he or she’s a modern photographer.

But an artist?” People who

want to express or state something with

their art need a certain experience of

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oho#4

life. They have to have gone through a

few setbacks at some stage, he reckons.

“Without learning, you’re lost. Because

without a certain education you can’t

transfer your inner vision to the outside

world”.

An expedition to an unknown

destination

He himself learned graphic design from

his uncle Anton for three years. Then,

in 1952, he moved to Paris, where he

devoted himself to the study of art at

the École national des beaux arts. But it

wasn’t the vibrant city which captivated

the young man. Instead, the aspiring

artist immersed himself – in a city far

from home – in one of the most important

works of his life. It took ten years

for the “Apocalypse according to St.

John” to appear: this print cycle, a huge

sequence of coloured woodcuts consisting

of 132 sheets, eventually saw the

light of day in 1970. “The work totally

devoured me”, he says, speaking into

the silence, while outside the dull

sounds of the drums in a carnival band

pass by. Is it still possible for a young

artist at the present time to devote

himself for years in this way to a

single work? On the artist’s website it

says that dealing with a theme over a

period of several years constitutes the

biggest challenge of them all. It’s like an

ex pedition with an unknown destination

and an unknown outcome. Anyone who

embarks on such works, on such a monumental

scale, faces severe financial

problems. Frommelt paraphrases this

in his words: “Years pass until you finally

reach the stage where you can come

out with your work. All the time you still

don't know whether it will be successful.

You have to survive this, somehow”.

He himself didn’t own a car in Paris and

could only dream of a room with a bathroom.

“I was fortunate that my brothers

were slightly older than me, so at least

I didn’t have to buy any clothes”. He

laughs. Decades later – after Frommelt

had already returned to Liechtenstein

and become a recognised artist – he

fetched countless specimen prints of the

Apocalypse project from his archive and

instilled new life into them. New panels

representing a further development of

the Apocalypse were created and prominently

displayed in Feldkirch’s St. John’s

Church in 2015. And his life’s work is

not finished yet: A comprehensive book

on the subject is in the pipeline, and the

accompanying preparations will probably

keep Frommelt busy for a long time

to come.

“Intellect is required”

During this insight into his creative

oeuvre, one thing strikes me: many of

his works are monumental, extensive,

huge: the powerful paintings, the impressive

cycles, his intense work with

enamel, meaning paintings burnt on

copper, the lavish artistic designs in

public spaces, which he still works on

today. The expressive graphic narrative

“Vähtreb-Viehtrieb” is also an

impressive piece of work. It was eight

years in the making and, on 135 pages,

depicts the bleak life of livestock

herders in the Alps in a pictorial

style that also manages to be abstract

at the same time. His “Apocalypse”,

“Vähtreb” and “Creation – Five Constellations

of Genesis” merge to form

a trilogy and a significant part of his

work. Just like his works, the biography

of the Liechtenstein artist also

comprises different corners and edges.

“My life was never linear”, says Frommelt,

who only “found the light” when

he discovered art and its different

forms and colours at school. He has

had plenty of luck, he says. Because he

recognised his talent, was understood

by his parents and encouraged by his

uncle and because he went his own

way. Which was always ahead and

has remained that way right up to today.

Today – in the midst of this hotchpotch

of pictures, books, paints and

prints – the man who taught specialist

painting classes says: “Yes, you need

academic certificates and degrees.

But too much schooling leads nowhere.

You shouldn’t have to spend any longer

than three years at an academy. The

people there live in some kind of ivory

tower. Everything revolves around art,

everyone is interested solely in art”.

Out there, in the real world, life is different,

he thinks. The idea that the life

of an artist is filled only with fun and

fancy, he says, is a delusion. “Art is

a language which you have to settle

into. Intellect is not enough for me,

personally speaking. But intellect is

required”.

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Kultur/Genuss

Culture/Taste

Made in

Liechtenstein

The idea of becoming a farmer at some stage had constantly been on Norman

Hasler’s mind right from his childhood days. In 1977, his father established the

Bangshof farm in Ruggell which Hasler successfully manages today together with

his wife Isabel. The range of produce available at the Bangshof is remarkably large –

and the ready market it finds is confined not only to the region.

Text: Joël Grandchamp · Photos: Eddy Risch

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oho#4

In Ruggell, everyone knows the Mother's Day breakfast at

the Bangshof. What is known as a local event now attracts

visitors from near and far to the Ruggell farm. “It’s already

got to the stage that we can only accept guests with reservations.

Quite simply, we’re running out of space for everyone”,

is how Hasler comments on his success. In general, the

“Buurazmorga” breakfast which he offers between May and

late August in fine weather is in huge demand. In this case,

the breakfast consists of produce which is mainly produced

at the Bangshof itself. “We have to buy in a few products,

such as some of the bread, because we can’t produce the

quantity we need by ourselves”, says Hasler. For such products

he also makes sure that he works with local partners.

Breakfast can also be served in a large functions room all

year round, but only by request and subject to reservation.

Because the area can accommodate almost 200 people, it can

also be hired for weddings and birthday parties. “We’ve observed

a slight increase in our product sales over the past

few years. But we’ve managed to more or less double the

number of events we hold each year”, says Hasler. Although

he’s toyed with the idea of expanding the farm so that it can

accommodate further events, he’s rejected this possibility

until now. “First come, first served!” he believes.

At such events, Hasler attaches great importance to using

his own produce. Cheese and dairy products, salads, strawberries,

potatoes and other produce from the farm are lovingly

arranged into dished plates or transformed into hearty

meals. Those wishing to buy his products don’t have to go

out of their way by taking a pilgrimage to the Ruggeller Riet,

however. “I supply many retailers and the Migros stores in

Liechtenstein with my products”, says Hasler.

Interview with Mr Raschle, Alpine cheesemaker

on Alp Guschg

What requirements must a cheese meet in order to

qualify as Alpine cheese?

The milk used for the cheese must originate from the particular

Alp. Usually, each Alp does this by itself. We have

thirty cows on Alp Guschg. For our cheese we use a combination

of both evening and morning milk.

How many kinds of cheese does the Alp Guschg make?

Five. We have a sour cheese and a normal cheese. And then

there’s a soft cheese we call “mutschli”. We have different

varieties of this cheese, for example with pepper or herbs.

How much cheese is made each year on the Guschg Alp?

We produce about two-and-a-half tons of cheese in the

summer. It’s usually sold out by the end of the year.

How many people are needed to make the cheese?

There are two of us. I’ve been taken on to do this together

with my girlfriend. In addition, we also take care of the cows

and the other animals. Our workload easily enables us to do

this. Preparations for the work gradually start in April. That’s

when the first preparatory work takes place. The Alpine season

itself lasts about three months, but altogether we work a

good half of the year on the Alp; for the rest of the time we

both do other jobs.

How did you come to be an Alpine cheesemaker?

I originally studied farming and went on to attend courses

leading to a recognised cheese maker qualification. But

there are also Alpine cheese makers who first gained a

dairy technologist certificate. Everyone else does alpine

dairy courses in order to work as a cheese maker. What’s

more, my girlfriend also has a background in farming.

65


Natur/Freizeit

66


oho#4

Environment/Leisure

THE JOY OF

PRISTINE NATURE

The Principality of Liechtenstein is appreciated

by many visitors because of its pristine mountain

and natural landscapes. Fewer and fewer places

on Earth enable you to experience such an unspoiled

and intact environment – with all this

reaching up to 2,599 metres above sea level.

Photo: Heinz Staffelbach

67


Natur/Freizeit

Environment/Leisure

Long days,

short nights

This year already marks the 16 th time that Elfriede Beck

will be packing up her belongings in Triesenberg and

moving to her quarters in the Pfälzerhütte.

Text: Joël Grandchamp · Photos: Mario Hübner/Roland Korner

68


oho#4

She will already have everything perfectly prepared when the

first hikers reach the Pfälzerhütte at 2,108 m above sea level in

June. Some of the guests will move into their night quarters

upstairs, others will stop for something to eat before they continue

on their hike – maybe up to the Naafkopf or across the

Liechtenstein Trail to the Mannheimer Hütte, maybe back to

Malbun and then down into the valley – back to everyday

life. Either way, Elfriede Beck will be spending 14, 15 or even

16 hours a day cooking, cleaning, organising, coordinating and

enthusiastically taking care of her guests as she always does

from June to October. Although she always has an open ear for

any question or query, she sometimes has to put her foot down

if, for example, someone persists in being noisy and disturbing

others from getting a good night’s sleep or has had that famous

one too many schnapps. Usually, however, she will go to bed,

tired but happy, after her work is over.

Cooking for fifteen nations

So you might think that what she likes most are the quiet

hours. The moments when she can look at the sunset and

ponder about life in peace and quiet. Just as people like to

do as tourists, before they start blissfully and tipsily drowning

themselves in the sea of romanticism. Elfriede dismisses

the idea with a laugh. Yes, the sunset on the Pfälzerhütte is

fantastically beautiful, a genuine feast for the eyes, she

says. And the simple beauty hut itself, built in 1928 by the

German architect Ernst Sommerlad who lived in Liechtenstein

during the 1920s and 1930s, is a wonderful place for

dreaming and relaxing. But what she likes most, she says,

is when the lounge and terrace are choc-a-bloc with all seats

taken, when she’s hurrying and scurrying around and is up

to her neck in work. Then she’s in her element, she says.

She works seven days a week throughout the season, ensures

that breakfast is served promptly at 7 in the morning and

guarantees everyone that they can enjoy a tasty and sumptuous

evening meal. She is supported by three, sometimes four

employees. Most of her guests come from Germany, followed by

hikers from Switzerland, and of course the locals, the regulars

from Liechtenstein. She gets about 2,000 overnight bookings

each season. Elfriede is especially fond of remembering one

particular evening when she had the pleasure of cooking for

guests from 15 nations, all of them from a globally established

Liechtenstein company, and all at the same time. “For some it

was please no pork, for others please no alcohol, some came in

a suit and loafers, well, that was pretty unusual and challenging”,

she says and laughs.

Pfälzerhütte

Situated 2,108 metres above sea level, the

Pfälzerhütte is always open with a full service

from around mid-June to around mid-October or

the end of October. The hut is closed during the

winter months with the exception of the adjacent

“Adler” shelter. The cosy restaurant offers 50

seats and the panoramic terrace is a wonderful

spot to while away the hours.

The Pfälzerhütte has 11 beds, 51 dormitory

mattresses and a further 20 makeshift beds in

the outbuilding as well as a common room for

20-25 people. It is located on the Bettlerjoch,

north of the Naafkopf, at the border to Austria

and Switzerland, and on Liechtenstein territory.

It is an ideal starting point for the Naafkopf

(2,571 m) and for the Liechtenstein Trail, along

which it is easy to reach the Brander Ferner, the

Mannheimer Hütte (2,679 m) and the Schesaplana

(2,965 m). Above the hut, on the way to

the Naafkopf, there is a small climbing area,

the routes of which feature levels of difficulty

ranging from 4 to 7.

(Source: www.tourismus.li)

Sunsets compensate for everything

But today – on this mild day in March – she is quite relaxed

when we meet her at her home in Triesenberg. Since granddaughter

Elena was born in February 2016, she has watched

over her during the week, while daughter Silke runs the

69


Environment/Leisure

· Sareiserjoch 2000 m. a. s. l.

· Four-seater chairlift Malbun – Sareis

· Panoramic restaurant with a large sun terrace

· View over 3 countries

· Starting point for several hiking tours

www.bergbahnen.li

Current offers

www.allmedia.li

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9494 Schaan

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online

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70


oho#4

Sareis mountain guesthouse in the Liechtenstein resort

of Malbun. The smell of freshly baked cakes wafts into the

house, the first butterflies are flittering about outside and

there are toys in the garden. She enjoys her new role as

grandmother. Almost 40 years have passed since 16-yearold

Elfriede from South Tyrol first arrived in Liechtenstein.

Here she married and raised two children. As a young girl,

Elfriede – one of seven siblings and someone who lost her

father early on in life – learned to cook, to get things done

and to lend a hand on her parent’s farm in the Vinschgau

Valley. Over coffee and cake, she talks about her first job at

Café Sele and about her time as a waitress in Splügen. For

21 years she ran the Schneeflucht restaurant in Malbun,

and from 1982 onwards she also helped out from time to

time in the Pfälzerhütte. Eventually, the opportunity arose

for her to take over the business as a leaseholder in 2002.

Since then she has spent every summer in this special mountain

hut at the very top in the Naaftal Valley, on the border to

Austria and Switzerland. She says she rarely goes down to

the valley during this period. Anyone thinking of unalloyed

romanticism is mistaken. “Being the landlady of a mountain

hut is no picnic”, she says bluntly. “You have to be physically

fit, you have to take a hands-on approach and you have to be

able to improvise. But at the same time you need tact and a

sure instinct if you’re going to deal with everything and

everyone”. That’s no problem for Elfriede. She has mastered

more than a few impossible situations. Six-metre high snow

walls, frozen water pipes, or the 15 Czech tourists who once

set up camp in the dining room after a storm and hung up

just about everything possible to dry. “You couldn’t imagine

the smell”. She laughs. Those were the exceptions, she reckons.

Just like herself, her guests feel relaxed in the mountains

and “much happier than down in the valley”. Why is

that? “Well, it’s the fresh mountain air, of course”, says

Elfriede knowingly. Anyone coming to the hut has put in

quite a bit of physical effort, so they’ve already truly earned

their glass of must or the legendary Mountaineer’s Fry-Up

– one of her specialities.

Doesn’t she ever feel there’s simply too much work for her to

handle? Does she miss her lady friends down in the valley

when she spends weeks at a time up at the hut? Yes, it’s a bit

of a shame, she says. Some social contacts gradually recede

into the background or disappear over time. “But you have to

take things as they are”. And when, against all the odds, she

finds the time for a walk or for enjoying the sunset in peace

and quiet, well, the world is perfectly OK anyway.

Elfriede Beck

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I can no longer remember.

What do you still appreciate the most from your

time in education?

My first experiences in the hospitality industry as

a young girl in Merano.

What would you like to learn again?

I’m happy with things just the way they are.

71


Environment/Leisure

The skis he

makes mean the

world to him

As a child, he wanted to be an inventor. As a teenager he “tweaked” Töffli* and took

radios and tape recorders apart. Later, he convincingly won a Skiing World Cup event

and impressed others, mainly as a sought-after test skier and gifted inventor. With his

company “SKIBAUart AG”, Achim Vogt now produces exclusive skis for demanding

individualists.

Text: Michael Benvenuti · Photos: Oliver Hartmann

“It's really like cooking. You have your ingredients and

your recipe, which you continually try to improve. You fiddle

about and experiment”, says Achim Vogt. For his ingredients

he uses different wood cores, edgings, fibreglass, adhesives,

films, Titanal inlays and rubber. The 46-year-old has to carry

out a total of 52 work steps at his small factory in the industrial

area of Schaan before the work is finished: the skis

he makes mean the world to him. Vogt’s skis are handmade,

unique and of the highest quality. This was not always the

case. “For the first ten pairs of skis, I stood at the press

until the morning hours. It wasn’t until the fine grinding

stage that I noticed that something had gone wrong”. The

skis ended up in the dustbin. “These moments were very

hard”, says the man from Balzers when he remembers back

to his beginnings as a self-employed ski producer in 2011.

72

Overcoming setbacks

But Vogt got over the setbacks during his time as a young

entrepreneur, just as he had done when as an active racer

he was repeatedly plagued by injuries. Before long the first

sports shops started having their proprietorial brands produced

in the workshop of the Liechtensteiner who, in 1994,

had managed to celebrate a World Cup victory in Tignes. “We

sold around 250 pairs of skis in the first season, significantly

more than we’d expected”. But clearly it wasn’t enough to ensure

a livelihood. Although Vogt was steadily able to build up

sales to about 500 pairs a year, his efforts simply did not pay

off – at least, not in the financial sense. High-quality and expensive

materials and dealers’ margins had their price. Ultimately

it was too high a price to pay. So the passionate inventor

started from scratch again in 2016.

*small mopeds


oho#4

Since then, Vogt, who had learned his craft as a ski developer

at Swiss company Stöckli, has been selling his exclusive

skis directly, without the need for expensive middlemen.

Customers can choose from 21 ski shapes in four

models, each of them customisable in their construction

and design. “The word impossible doesn’t feature in my

vocabulary”, he laughs. After all, he says, his aim is to

make skis that are tailor-made for each customer.

His son Lorenz got the ball rolling

Obviously it’s extremely difficult to plan a career as a

self-employed ski producer. Even so, Vogt’s current job

can still be regarded as a logical consequence of talent

and passion coupled with a little bit of luck. During his

time as an active skier – Vogt wore the national colours

of Liechtenstein in the Alpine Ski World Cup and represented

the country at four Olympic Games from 1989 to

2004 – the giant slalom specialist was considered a gifted

inventor and soon became a sought-after test skier.

This was perfectly OK on his part given his many injuries.

“I’d never have been able to make a living solely

from the prize money, you see”, grins Vogt.

In 2016, Vogt was rewarded for his courage to challenge the

existing business model and to embark on new paths for the

relaunch of the company “SKIBAUart AG” by winning the

Liechtenstein Rhine Valley’s 12th Business Plan Competition.

When under contract with Stöckli towards the end of his

career, he was already racing on skis which he had designed

himself. In 2004, Vogt hung up his skis on the

nail one last time and moved directly to the developer

team of the Swiss company. But after six years he had

had enough of living out of a suitcase. The ultimate reason

for his professional reorientation, however, was a

little one: his son Lorenz, who was born in 2010. “When

my wife became pregnant, everything was quite clear:

she was running a business, I wanted to go back to

Liechtenstein anyway, so I gave up the job at Stöckli

and became a househusband and father”. Although he

sees this phase as the best and most enjoyable time of

his life until now, the urge to be an inventor again, and

preferably sooner rather than later, began stirring within

him. The thought of making his own skis increasingly

assumed concrete dimensions. In June 2011, Vogt

was finally able to enter “SKIBAUart AG” in the commercial

register.

Achim Vogt

What did you want to be when you were a child?

An inventor, and later on a physics lab technician.

What was the most important stage in your educational

career?

The sports commercial school in Buchs.

What do you still appreciate the most from your time

in education?

Languages (English and French) and accounting.

It takes 52 work steps and a total of seven

days for Vogt to produce a pair of skis. The

working time alone amounts to six hours.

@

Further details

are available at

www.tourismus.li/

skibuilder

73


Natur/Freizeit

Environment/Leisure

Liechtenstein from

a bird’s eye view

Toni Mähr is completely in his element when he’s in the air.

For decades, the man from Liechtenstein has been a passionate

hang-glider pilot and now reveals how he sees Liechtenstein in

this photographic report.

Text: Stefan Lenherr · Photos: Toni Mähr

You could easily listen to Toni Mähr go on telling his stories for hours. He has

been flying through the air underneath his hang-glider for 44 years. Once he

ended up after a cross-country flight in Morocco with a group of Bedouin tribesmen.

He stayed with them overnight in the Sahara before another adventure led

him to the roof of the world, where he circled far above the world’s highest mountains

and set down again a couple of hours later in the Nepalese jungle. Mähr

has already seen 24 countries on each and every continent from a bird's eye

view. What’s also true is that the Rhine Valley has its own, unique appeal: “We

live here in an aviator’s paradise”, he says. “Wind conditions on our side of the

Rhine may not be conducive to flying, but they could easily be so on the Swiss

side. In this photographic report, he reveals how Liechtenstein looks through the

eyes of an eagle.

A wooden footbridge near

the Sareis mountain station

in Malbun offers convenient

conditions for take-off.

Despite all his experience,

Mähr is highly concentrated

before the flight begins.

This is not 74the time or place

to make any mistakes.

Thanks to the 11-metre span

of his hang-glider, Mähr can

use the available thermals

and quickly gain altitude.


oho#4

View of the Alp Lawena with

the Rhine Valley behind.

Two worlds: on the left,

unsullied nature; on the

right, densely populated 75

Liechtenstein.


Natur/Freizeit

@

Mähr aims for the landing

area at the sports ground in

Triesen and gently sets down.

But he won’t be on the ground

for long.

Gallery

www.tourismus.li/

paraglide

What is the fascination of flying for you?

The dream of flying has always interested me and never

really left me in peace. To take off, to rise into the air, to be a

little closer to the clouds, to leave the earthly vale of tears behind

me ... In short, I’m fascinated by the ability to fly like an

eagle.

What kind of feeling do you get when you’re flying with

your hang-glider?

It’s the feeling of overcoming gravity, not leaping into the

abyss, but floating in the sky with the gentle support of a

thermal. The feeling of moving about free as a bird in the

air, of using my skills and under my own power, of escaping

gravity: yes, that has always been my dream. My thoughts

run free when I fly. I look at the Earth from a different perspective.

The many things I think are so important when

I’m on the ground become “smaller” and, well, not quite so

important.

What have been your most impressive experiences during

your hang-gliding career?

The high mountains in Nepal, floating above wild animals in

southern Africa, above the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru,

above the Grand Canyon in the USA, above the outback in

Australia, above the Dolomites in Italy… the list just goes on

and on …

What is the most beautiful view for you high above

Liechtenstein?

The panoramic vista high above the

Drei Schwestern (The Three Sisters)

mountain.

Toni Mähr

What did you want to be

when you were a child?

I always wanted to be up there in

the air. My dream as a child was to

be some kind of pilot.

What do you like best about your job?

As a construction manager, I’m always on the move.

The work also offers plenty of variety and opportunities

to meet people.

What does education mean for you?

Progress.

76


oho#4

«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

77


Environment/Leisure

LAKE CONSTANCE

SWITZERLAND

Ruggell Family Route

The approximately 19-kilometre round trip

through the Ruggeller Riet is ideal for families

and invites cyclists to stop off at various

spots on the way. Particularly beautiful

views can be enjoyed when the iris flower

comes into blossom. The tour ends at the

“Grossabünt” bathing lake and playground

in Gamprin.

RHEIN

Length: 20 km

Ascent: 22 m

Duration: 1,5 h

Highest point: 449 m ü.d.M.

RUGGELL

FELDKIRCH

The Five Castle Tour

This 45 kilometre-long bicycle

tour leads past five castles and

fortresses in Liechtenstein

and Switzerland.

GAMPRIN

Length: 45 km

Ascent: 72 m

Duration: 3.00 h

Highest point: 619 m ü.d.M.

Buchs

Vaduz

Wartau

LIECHTENSTEIN

RHEIN

Balzers

@

Sargans

Bicycle tour

Lake Constance to Vaduz

78

www.tourismus.li/

tourlakeconstance


BREGENZ

oho#4

AUSTRIA

LUSTENAU

In and around

Liechtenstein by bike

Liechtenstein can easily be reached by bike from

Lake Constance along 60 km of signposted cycle

trails. Although it is located in the middle of the

mountains, there are not only mountain bike tours,

but also nice and easy rides for families and pleasureseekers,

making it ideal for an outing from Lake Constance.

Illustration: Oliver Hartmann

Specialities Route

There’s a lot to see and enjoy on this

trail through the Liechtenstein lowlands.

From Balzers to Ruggell there are

plenty of hostelries and restaurants where

you can sample regional specialities.

Length: 32 km

Elevation: 200 m

Duration: 2,5 h

Highest point: 512 m ü.d.M.

The Three Nations Tour

The approximately 60 kilometre-long

Three Nation Tour takes you between

the Rhine Valley and mountain peaks

of Vaduz to the medieval setting of

Feldkirch, and through Switzerland

back to Liechtenstein.

Length: 59 km

Elevation: 99 m

Duration: 4.00 h

Highest point: 465 m ü.d.M.

79


Environment/Leisure

DREAM AND ENJOY

The Princely

Liechtenstein

Tattoo

2017 already marks the sixth time that

The Princely Liechtenstein Tattoo” will

be held in the historic ruins of Schellenberg

in Liechtenstein. The mystical

atmosphere of the castle ruins, which

are perched on the hill overlooking the

surrounding forest, the intriguing and

breathtaking shows, and the interaction

between participants and spectators

delight around 5,500 spectators every

year. You, too, will be amazed at the

sight of some 300 musicians, dancers

and guards from Estonia, the Netherlands,

Italy, the UK, Ireland, Germany,

Switzerland and Liechtenstein. So be

there when the ruins once again open

their gates to the public!

We would be delighted to have the

honour of welcoming you to one of

our shows at the historic castle ruins

of Schellenberg from 31 August to

2 September 2017.

www.princely-tattoo.li

www.facebook.com/PrincelyTattoo

Handcrafted

Natural Soaps

from Liechtenstein

Unique, soothing, caring – the natural

soaps from liechtenkind.li are lovingly

created in Liechtenstein and made with

great care using only the best ingredients

– such as real brewery beer, exquisite

Demmel coffee, organic milk and honey

from Liechtenstein or Telser whisky and

gin. Connoisseurs’ noses are pampered

with fine scents while the skin is nourished

and becomes exceptionally soft to

touch. Each of these works of art is a fragrant

piece of Liechtenstein which you

can choose to give as a gift to others or

simply enjoy by yourself!

Alternatively, surprise your customers

and business partners with your own

logo: natural soap with an individual design,

fragrance, colour and creative packaging.

Always made with lots of love ...

Weitere Informationen

T +423 373 93 03

www.liechtenkind.li or

www.b2b.liechtenkind.com

Your Alpine Coach

In many places, stress and the mad rush

to get things done are part and parcel of

everyday life nowadays. The demand for

ways to relax is on the up and up. Rosaria

M. Heeb has recognised this need: she

helps people find their inner peace

through outdoor exercise and offers

them individual coaching. She calls

her guidance package “Alpencoach”.

Step by step to emotional harmony

“Whoever exercises in the outdoors is

able to strike an inner balance. This

gift is something that many of my customers

have lost in the hustle and bustle

of everyday life”, explains Rosaria.

“As an Alpencoach, I pursue a holistic

approach which includes the body,

mind and soul, because people can

draw on new energy when these three

elements are in harmony with each other”.

Rosaria M. Heeb is a fully trained hiking

guide with a “Federal Swiss Specialist

Certificate” and has an MSc in Entrepreneurship.

Rosaria M. Heeb

www.alpencoach.li

80


oho#4

Kommod

"The Kommod, based in Ruggell, offers

an extraordinary all-round service to

the business world in the unique business

location in Liechtenstein. Situated

close to the highway, Kommod has an

excellent access right next to sports

facilities and the beautiful local nature

reserve Ruggeller Riet.

It lacks for nothing when it comes to

infrastructure: from individual sized

business offices to a modern business

and data center, a high service copying

center, seminar rooms, hotel rooms, a

restaurant, a trendy bar and for exclusive

requirements and car lovers the

one and only Parklusiv.

The Kommod exudes an inspiring atmosphere

which forms a significant and

unique springboard for successful companies.

Sharing energies, experiencing

innovation and building success: Yes,

that is what definies Kommod.

kommod

office & commercial building, Ruggell

Tel. +423 377 37 77 www.kommod.li

www.parklusiv.li

Family Holidays

At Their Best

A holiday is always the best time of the

year. All family members should be able

to enjoy a well-earned break to the fullest.

By staying with us you can discover

something new every day, be thrilled by

exciting experiences or simply while

away the day.

We love just as much as cool kids and

teens. Hotel Gorfion offers lots of variety

as well as that extra special touch for

everyone. By knowing what children

really want, we are able to balance their

wishes against those of their parents.

A schedule for children and grown-ups,

a few hours’ break for the adults and allday

child care are included, as well as a

sumptuous buffet breakfast, a light

lunch and an evening meal.

What’s more, this spring we’ve been

busy giving ourselves a new makeover

for the summer – we’ve been renovating

in a big way. So prepare to be surprised!

Hotel Gorfion, Malbun

Tel. +423 265 90 00 www.gorfion.li

With the most

beautiful view over

Liechtenstein

Hubertus Real’s beautiful panoramic

restaurant “Marée” offers not only very

special and award-wining cuisine – as

we all know – but also and most definitely

the sunniest view of the magnificently

scenic backdrop to our country. The

landscape is frequently bathed in a

magical light – especially the majestic

“Adler nest” (Eagle's nest), which appears

to float in the trees.

A place that you not only want to, but

absolutely must show your guests; an

ideal rendezvous for a dinner with

friends, visitors or business partners

whom you’d like to pamper and impress.

In any case, it’s the perfect place for a

romantic candle-light dinner, for a family

celebration or for a wedding which is

sure to result in a memorable and successful

occasion.

Park Hotel Sonnenhof, Vaduz

Tel. +423 239 02 02 www.sonnenhof.li

81


Stuttgart

270 km

Fürstentum

Liechtenstein

Deutschland

München

240 km

Basel

190 km

Bern

230 km

Zürich

110 km

Bodensee

Österreich

Innsbruck

170 km

Schweiz

Italien

Mailand

250 km

Liechtenstein facts & figures

Surface area: 160 km 2

Number of inhabitants: 37,686

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: 38.4 % industry, 0.8 % farming,

and 60.9 % 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: Bureau of Statistics, population statistics 2016

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•

Translation: Interlingua Anstalt, Vaduz • Acquisition and distribution: Allmedia AG, Schaan •

Printing: BVD Druck+Verlag, Schaan • Print run: 7,000 copies (English edition) • Appearance: July 2017

Cover photoshoot: Sagenweg Triesenberg • Photographer: Roland Korner • Model: Sabrina Vogt

82


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