Tradition is not just a word it is a cultural asset of which Liechtensteiners are proud. This means fond traditions and customs, such as National Day, the First Sunday of Lent as well as Fasnacht (Carnival) are actively practised. The fact that in addition to venerable traditions, modernity also finds space to develop in the form of contemporary art exhibitions is one of the things that makes the Principality so attractive.
While active and varied associations are the driving force behind Liechtenstein's cultural life, cultural educational institutions, museums and theatres also belong to the country's cultural icons and serve as the cornerstones of its national identity. In addition, creativity in all its forms and facets is an impressive expression of the intellectual freedom that characterises the country. It reflects social diversity, addresses topical issues and highlights the past, dovetails seamlessly and raises attention. Yet the numerous museums are only part of the country's diverse cultural scene.
Museums are places where treasures are kept and put on display. Sometimes it is "love at first sight", sometimes a treasure becomes apparent only at second glance and sometimes never. But that is precisely the appeal of treasure-hunting in a museum. And in Liechtenstein there are a great many small and large treasures to discover.
The capital Vaduz, with its six museums, may indeed be considered the cultural centre of the country. Yet it is not merely the contemporary art exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum and at the Hilti Art Foundation as well as the "Liechtenstein Treasure Chamber", which houses unique treasures of the Princely Collections that are admired far beyond the country's borders. A lively art, music and theatre scene also exists in the country's other 10 municipalities. Summer cultural highlights include summer festivals and concerts such as the International Master Classes, the Liechtenstein Guitar Festival, the "Jazz & Blues" as well as the Liechtenstein Festival, where visitors can also enjoy dancing.
In fact, there are always good reasons to play music in Liechtenstein. Certainly not piped music instead: hand-crafted, live music, played and sung by musical associations, ensembles, bands and choirs. Liechtenstein's musical landscape is also correspondingly varied: Within its 160 km2 territory are around 2600 pupils of music (7% of the population), 60 bands (from metal to singer-songwriter), 26 choirs (1000 active members), 10 brass music associations and youth music groups (1000 active members), 3 orchestras, 2 musical stages, 2 operetta stages and 1 opera stage.
The term "tradition" sounds a little antiquated. New life is breathed into tradition only when a society actively nurtures it. And this is precisely the case in Liechtenstein. The Principality has a wealth of customs that derive largely from Catholic holidays and rituals. These include, for example, the Alpabfahrt, the tradition of bringing colourfully-decorated cows down from their high alpine pastures at the end of summer, which attracts many spectators. It also includes the traditions of the carnival season, which is enthusiastically celebrated as the fifth season of the year. Winter is then ceremoniously driven out with the burning of a pyre on Invocavit Sunday, the first Sunday of Lent. And the highlight of the year, since 1940, is Liechtenstein National Day, 15 August, which is celebrated with a major folk festival.