In 2019 the Principality of Liechtenstein will celebrate its 300th birthday. A series of events will be held throughout the year to mark this major milestone and incorporate the local population into the jubilee festivities.
"The countdown starts now," declared Dr Aurelia Frick, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Justice and Culture in the Principality of Liechtenstein, at a press conference on 29 March marking 300 days to go until the start of the anniversary year. She added that her ministry has received many ideas on how to celebrate this milestone, but one letter in particular has stuck in her mind. It was sent by ten-year-old Sofia and contained a list of ideas. This letter, said Frick, stands as an example of the many ideas submitted to her and the team at Liechtenstein Marketing. “Liechtenstein Marketing collected and reviewed each idea. Different aspects were taken into account and in many cases they looked for possibilities to pursue good ideas in other ways," added Frick. Sofia’s idea was among those chosen.
"With the experiences of yesterday into a shared future’ is the motto behind all the celebrations," says Michelle Kranz, head of Liechtenstein Marketing. This represents the idea that as well as celebrating the history of the Principality of Liechtenstein, the anniversary should also serve as a chance to take a critical look at what Liechtenstein stands for today and think about possible paths into the future. This motto will be brought to life by the Liechtenstein Trail connecting all the municipalities in Liechtenstein and inviting locals and international visitors to embark on an exciting journey through the Principality. The trail gives walkers the chance not only to learn about and celebrate the history of Liechtenstein but also to experience the Principality in the past, present and future.
A year of celebrations will begin on 23 January 2019 with a spectacular birthday party symbolising the unification of the Principality’s two regions, the Oberland and the Unterland, together with international guests and the local population. "The Oberland and the Unterland will meet at the "Scheidgraben", a ditch which still exists today and remains a symbol of the meeting point between the two regions that make up the country," explains Kranz. To mark this historic occasion there will also be a special cake. "After all," adds Kranz, "no birthday party would be complete without a proper birthday cake!"
An exhibition on display at the Liechtenstein National Museum from 28 February 2019 will give visitors a detailed insight into the birth of the Principality of Liechtenstein 300 years ago. The exhibition will be supported by a research project run by the local history society Historischer Verein Liechtenstein. "The years around 1719 still pose many questions. This project aims to provide answers," explains Kranz. Another chance to look back at the Principality‘s history, albeit from a somewhat different perspective, is the weekend event History 3.0 taking place on 25/26 May 2019. The event will also be used as an opportunity to launch the app LIstory (Liechtenstein History). "Using state-of-the-art technology and augmented reality this app presents information on places of historical interest along the Liechtenstein Trail," says Kranz. This walking trail taking in all eleven municipalities in Liechtenstein invites visitors to discover the history of the Principality on foot while at the same time enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings. From this weekend on the LIstory app will be permanently available free of charge.
A country comes together A further highlight of the anniversary year will be the 300th edition of Liechtenstein’s national day on 15 August 2019. "Building on the established concept of the traditional national day, the population will be able for the first time to celebrate an anniversary together with all other Liechtensteiners in one place and feel what unites us as a people," says Fabian Reuteler, head of the project 300 Years Principality of Liechtenstein. A series of activities will be held with the aim of strengthening the shared Liechtenstein identity and underlining the evening’s motto "Part of a Whole".
"The exhibition at the Liechtenstein Museum of Fine Arts opening on 19 September 2019 will have an international appeal," adds Reuteler. It will present a juxtaposition of works sourced from the Princely Collections, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Hilti Art Foundation. For example, works created by the Old Masters will be cast in a new light alongside contemporary art.
Looking to the future “The project "My Liechtenstein 2039" will be an opportunity to work together to develop ideas for the future of Liechtenstein and start straight away on putting these into practice," explains Fabian Reuteler. "Together with the local population we want to identify core issues which are important to the people and where they want to make a difference together with us," he adds. Workshops will be held on 23/24 November 2019 to talk about where the population of Liechtenstein sees the Principality in 20 years’ time and what needs to be done in order to get there.
At the same time, the project 300 Years Principality of Liechtenstein will also be used as an opportunity to promote Liechtenstein and its many facets abroad. "To mark the 300th anniversary we will be telling the stories which have shaped Liechtenstein in the past and made the Principality what it is today," says Kranz, adding that these stories have already aroused a high level of interest in other countries.
Birthday wishes Kranz adds that these events are just some of the many activities going on throughout the year 2019 to mark the 300th anniversary of the Principality of Liechtenstein. Additional partners, known as Label Partners, will also contribute to what promises to be a memorable year. "So far we have managed to secure four Label Partners: the Liechtensteiner Brauhaus brewery, Philately Liechtenstein, the Junges Theater Liechtenstein and the Princely Tattoo Liechtenstein. They will also make their own unique contribution to the celebrations. Further Label Partners will be announced in due course," says Kranz. These contributions will take the form of events or special products marking the 300-year anniversary, explains Kranz, adding that additional Label Partnerships are still possible. "All in all we can say that the projects for the anniversary year are coming along well and we are on schedule."
As the kick-off press conference drew to a close, Minister Aurelia Frick took the opportunity to add her personal wishes. "I think we are entitled to have a few of our own wishes on our 300th birthday," she said with a smile, adding that her personal wish is for 2019 to be a year full of unforgettable moments. "In 50 years time I want our children to stand on the Liechtenstein Trail and remember that in 2019 they – together with us – explored the history of the country on foot along the Liechtenstein Trail."
Anniversary celebrations at a glance
For all events and further information visit www.300.li.