Building bridges connecting the past with the present is of great importance for the identity of a small country such as Liechtenstein and is thus a central element in its cultural policy. Documents and data are secured in various archives for research and information purposes: in the family archives of the Reigning Prince of Liechtenstein, church archives, community archives, the Josef Rheinberger Archives and in the National Archives.
The National Archives in Vaduz is the centralised archive for all the Principality of Liechtenstein State Offices. It also holds private archive materials for safekeeping and augments its own documentation and collections. All Liechtenstein Law Gazettes can be downloaded from a database at the Liechtenstein National Public Administration website. A total of approximately 5 500 linear meters of archive materials, which represent a major part of the Liechtenstein cultural heritage are administered by the National Archives. The Archives Act of October 1997 defines the corresponding duties and goals. In October 2009, the National Archives moved into a modern new building.
The National Museum is the social memory of society, the location of its identity, a park featuring attractions and a culture laboratory. The museum portrays the life of Liechtenstein’s citizens as a journey back through time. Because memories never duplicate chronology, six main topics and main objects introduce key aspects of life. Collecting, maintaining and displaying Liechtenstein’s cultural assets as well as promoting the understanding of civilisation, culture and history is carried out by the museum. An encounter between archaeology and culture, history and art, popular piety and industrial history takes place here. Multimedia technology turns the modern museum into a database. In 2003, the museum relocated to a unique architectural ensemble consisting of the 500-year-old National Museum edifice, the 400-year-old former Governor’s House and one additional newly constructed modern building.
Historical buildings and archaeological sites are witnesses to history. Scientific investigation of them and responsible further development are key elements of integral historic preservation and archaeology. Liechtenstein looks back on a long archaeological tradition. The beginnings of extensive archaeological investigations go back to the time of the 1849 village fire in Schaan, when a “Roman station” was discovered. Over the past 20 years, the country has committed itself through its ratification of the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (1976, revised 1997) to scientifically research, document, publish and maintain archaeological finds and findings.
Since 1993, Liechtenstein has taken part in the European Heritage Days. In 2005, for instance, Minnesang in the inner courtyard of the medieval Gutenberg Castle in Blazers was included on the programme. Integral historic preservation has become an indispensable element in the history and cultural landscape of Europe. Historic buildings were unfortunately not widely preserved in Liechtenstein during the course of economic modernisation following the Second World War. Under the heading “The Art Monuments of Liechtenstein”, two volumes appeared on the art monuments in the Liechtenstein Upper and Lower Country in 2007 and 2013, respectively. This defining textbook on history and art makes a significant contribution to cultural memory and the country’s understanding of its identity.