It is impossible to quantify the share of the private sector in the total volume of cultural funding. A clue is provided by the study “Developments in cultural funding in Eastern Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein since 2008”, published in 2020 by Interface Politikstudien Forschung Beratung, Lucerne. According to the study, the share of public funding for cultural institutions is between 40 and 47 per cent and for projects between 33 and 40 per cent.
With major works of European art spanning five centuries, the collections of the Prince of Liechtenstein are among the most important private collections in the world. There is a kind of bridge between Austria and Liechtenstein with the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna, which since 2012 has been open to the public as the Palais Liechtenstein only for events and guided tours of the Princely Collections. Prince Hans Adam II had the Garden Palace renovated and presented it to the art world in March 2004 as a modern museum and baroque synthesis of the arts.
Companies in the export and financial sectors, private stakeholders, foundations and sponsors also play a significant role in Liechtenstein’s cultural sector. They frequently support projects in the municipalities, promote artists or make their own art collections accessible to the public.
For example, the Hilti family has been accumulating an extraordinary collection of classical modern art up to the present since the 1970s. But that is not all: since May 2015, the Hilti Art Foundation has displayed its internationally important art collection in a separate exhibition building in the centre of Vaduz – an extension and complement to the Liechtenstein Art Museum.
Various styles of painting from the post-war period to the present day form the focus of the VP Bank Art Foundation’s collection, which was established in the 1970s. It promotes artists at home and abroad through acquisitions. VP Bank has also taken an active role in supporting young musicians since February 2022, supporting the Ensemble Esperanza and the International Music Academy in Liechtenstein. The Ensemble Esperanza is an ensemble of young soloists, founded in 2015 by the International Music Academy in Liechtenstein, which promotes highly talented musicians between the ages of 10 and 28.
One of the main players in the cultural scene in Liechtenstein is the Theater am Kirchplatz (TAK) in Schaan (see 3.3). Since 1972, this theatre has been organised under private law as a cooperative. The TAK is a theatre for the region from Liechtenstein to Vorarlberg and Eastern Switzerland, which brings international theatre and concerts to the country, but also stages its own productions and co-productions. It receives state funding, as well as private support and money from the municipality of Schaan and Vaduz.
The Liechtenstein National Museum in Vaduz (founded around 1900) is the social memory of society, a place of identity, a park with attractions and a cultural laboratory. On display at the museum is the life of the people of Liechtenstein, shown as a journey through time that begins in the here and now. As memory is never chronological, six guiding concepts and guiding objects point to the focal points of life. This is where archaeology and folklore, history and art, popular piety and industrial history meet. Thanks to multimedia technology, the modern museum has been transformed into a database.
Branches of the National Museum are Farmhouse Museum House No. 12 in the municipality of Schellenberg, the Postal Museum and the Treasure Chamber in Vaduz. The Liechtenstein Treasure Chamber (opened in 2015) is unique in the Alpine region. The Liechtenstein Postal Museum (opened in 1930) illustrates the development of the postal system since the 15th century.
The history of the Liechtenstein National Library (1961), which is fairly recent for a national library, begins shortly after the Second World War, in a time of economic upswing and increased self-awareness (see 1.3.3). When it was renovated in 1998, the library was given a modern infrastructure. In 2021, the inventory of Liechtenstein publications comprised around 150,000 items. The National Library will have larger premises from autumn 2026, which means that all media will be under one roof.
The Liechtenstein National Archives have been a department of the Liechtenstein government since 1961 and have been part of the Office of Cultural Affairs since 2012. Opened in 2009, the new National Archives building in Vaduz is the first public administration building in the Principality of Liechtenstein to meet the “Minergie-P” standard. It is the central archive for all state agencies of the Principality of Liechtenstein, and also holds archival material from private sources, while also developing its own documentation and collections.
The knowledge that culture affects people and society at the deepest level shapes the position and profile of the Liechtenstein National Gallery. The Liechtenstein Art Museum – opened in 2000 – contains works from the collections of the Prince of Liechtenstein, among others, as well as works from the State Art Collection, which, with works of art from the 19th and 20th centuries, is chronologically linked to the collections of the Princes of Liechtenstein. The Liechtenstein State Art Collection Foundation became part of the Liechtenstein Art Museum Foundation in 2000. The complete collection of works by the thirteen Arte Povera artists is also considered a unique contribution of the Art Museum.
With 2,750 students, the Liechtenstein Music School is the largest educational institution in Liechtenstein. It is open to all age groups, actively participates in the cultural life of the region and promotes musical diversity. Musicians are trained at the Music School until they qualify for university studies.
The Liechtenstein School of Fine Arts was founded in 1993 as a school-based educational institution for children, young people and adults (see 1.3.3, 2.8 and 3.4). Since 2002, it has been an independent foundation under public law. With an open and independent understanding of art and design, the School of Fine Arts sees itself as a contemporary centre of education.
Liechtenstein also invites artists from neighbouring countries to exhibitions at the English Building Art Space. This building has been used for exhibitions of contemporary art since 2002. The Liechtenstein Cultural Foundation has been the sponsor of the Art Space since 2008.
The Institute of Architecture and Planning at the University of Liechtenstein represents the country at the architecture exhibition “La Biennale” in Venice and, as such, has been part of national and regional cultural policy since 2014 (see 1.3.3).
Since 2019, the Literature House (founded in 2009) has had its own premises in Schaan. The association intends to make literary treasures accessible to the public. It publishes texts and organises workshops for authors.
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