Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Liechtenstein State Visit to Switzerland - Day 1

This week marks a very special event in the history of Luxarazzi: While it's been six years to the month that we added the Princely Family of Liechtenstein to over coverage, we now have our very first Liechtenstein state visit on our hands as Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie are currently in Switzerland at the invitation of the Swiss Federal Council. As the Principality is such a small country and doesn't have very close diplomatic ties with very many other nations, don't hold your breath for this to become a regular occurrence though. Even state visits to Liechtenstein's closest ally, Switzerland, are few and far in between: In 1970, Prince Franz Josef II and Princess Gina paid a state visit, as did Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie in 1990.
Photo: Eddy Risch / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
The state visit kicked off earlier this morning, when Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie were met by Swiss President Ueli Maurer and his wife at the train station in Sargans, a small Swiss town of the border to Liechtenstein. The Hereditary Princely Couple is accompanied on the state visit by Prime Minister Adrian Hasler, Deputy Prime Minister Daniel Risch, basically the whole government, the President and members of Parliament. Together they boarded a train to head to Bern, the capital of Switzerland. While on the train, the Liechtenstein delegation and their Swiss hosts had luncheon together. 
After the arrival at the train station Bern, the Hereditary Prince and Hereditary Princess were greeted by local dignitaries and a children's choir before making their way to the city centre to sign to golden book of the Swiss Federal Council. At 3pm, the official welcome, including military honours, national anthems, a review of troops and a presentation of the respective delegations, took place at the Münsterplatz. The Hereditary Princely Couple and the President and his wife then braved the stormy weather and took the chance to chat with some bystanders.
Photo: Screenshot SRF
Next up on the day's agenda were speeches by Hereditary Prince Alois and President Maurer at the town hall in Bern. Both of them spoke of the close ties between the two nations as this year actually marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of diplomatic relations between Liechtenstein and Switzerland. In 1919, the Principality established the first diplomatic mission in Bern. For 100 years now, it has also been Switzerland that has represented Liechtenstein diplomatically in all countries where the Principality does not have its own ambassador (so practically everywhere but Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium and the United States).
Photo: IKR
Afterwards, bilateral talks were held between the Liechtenstein and Swiss delegations. The afternoon events were rounded off by a press conference held by the Hereditary Prince and President Maurer where both of them, once again, spoke of the close ties between the two nations, the easy cooperation and how both countries can keep learning from each other. Meanwhile, Hereditary Princess Sophie paid a visit to the 'House of Religions' in Bern.

As of the publication of this post, the gala dinner in honour of the Hereditary Prince and Hereditary Princess is taking place. No pictures or information as of yet, whether there will be a tiara. Personally, I'm not holding my breath but let's wait and see - we will keep you posted in the hours to come! In the meantime, more information, photos and videos of the day can be found at Vaterland #1, Vaterland #2 and Volksblatt. Swiss TV SRF also has a lengthy special about the day with several news clips.

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