Saturday, November 15, 2014

Princely Family at the Movies

Photo: Daniel Schwendener / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
Yesterday, a sneak preview of 1818 - Die Liechtenstein Saga, a film about the history of the Principality, took place in Balzers. Among those to see the film before its official premiere today were no other than the Prince Hans-Adam II, the Princess Marie, the Hereditary Prince Alois and the Hereditary Princess Sophie. (Pictures of it at Vaterland and Volksblatt.)

The film, that is narrated by Austrian actor Friedrich von Thun (a.k.a. Count Friedrich of Thun and Hohenstein), broadly covers Liechtenstein's history starting even before the name Liechtenstein was associated with the country. Being a poor state of farmers, what is today known as Liechtenstein fought famines, plague and Rhine floods troughout much of the 16th century. At the time, Vaduz was known as one of the world's centres of witch burnings. Not much of it changed when in 1699 the House of Liechtenstein bought the demesne of Schellenberg from the Counts of Hohenems. The Principality continued to be a peasant state until the end of the Second World War when it started its rise to the rank of one of the richest countries in the world.

The documentary also covers other important aspects of Liechtenstein's past and present including the alliance with Napoleon, the threat of annexation by Hitler, the selling of citizenship to Jews in World War II, how the Princely Family lives at Schloss Vaduz, the world’s first Whistleblowers Klaus Lins and Heinrich Kieber, the relaxation of banking secrecy and what it means for the Principality. The film includes interviews with Prince Hans-Adam, his brother Prince Philipp and possibly another few members of the Princely Family.

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