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Liechtenstein/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends

For centuries, there has existed a cultural exchange between Liechtenstein and its neighbouring countries of Switzerland and Austria, extending as far as Lake Constance and southern Germany. The tiny country developed firmly embedded within the European Christian culture. On 20 December 1994, the European Economic Area (EEA) Council recognised Liechtenstein's vital interest in preserving its unique national identity. Over 300 years of Liechtenstein history have been documented. Inherited cultural assets and cultural values remain significant elements of the national identity.

The Office of Cultural Affairs within the Ministry of Cultural Affairs has been engaged since 1999 in the EEA "Working Group for Cultural Affairs". Since 1996, artists and projects have also been welcomed to the array of EU cultural programmes. Liechtenstein representatives are involved in various international organisations, public and private cultural institutions, as well as functioning in a private capacity within international or regional associations, for example in the Society for Museums and Castles in the Lake Constance Region, the European Music School Union and the International Confederation of Musical Societies. 

Liechtenstein prides itself on a vivid palette of professional freelance artists representing the fine arts, literature, music, theatre and dance. Through stipends for work and stays in artists' studios abroad, Liechtenstein artists work together with artists in foreign countries, thereby benefiting from direct access to the international art and cultural scene. The exchange with the outside world is of prime importance for the advancement of a small country's cultural life. This is emphatically stated in the government's cultural report for the year 2000. In order to project its cultural integrity to the world at large, Liechtenstein has established a cultural policy that extends beyond its borders as a result of the ever-expanding activities incorporated in its cultural foreign policy.

Already in past years, the intersections between foreign policy and cultural policy have been regularly and successfully explored. With an independent concept for cultural foreign policy, a systematic basis for activities in cultural foreign policy was created in summer 2010. The new strategy paper is also intended to help strengthen Liechtenstein's cultural foreign policy, which is intended to be implemented not only at the level of individual projects, but also on a systematic basis. This is reiterated in the 2012 report on "Priorities of Liechtenstein Foreign Policy." Culture is considered to be a means of integration and dialogue. Culture and art are congenial ambassadors of the country.

Chapter published: 12-11-2014

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