Liechtenstein, Princes von und zu; named after Liechtenstein castle near Mödling (Lower Austria), which remained family property until the 13th century and reverted to the family again in 1807. Hugo von L. was first mentioned in a document in 1140; the Murau branch of the family, to which the minnesinger Ulrich von Liechtenstein belonged and which died out in 1619, acquired property in Styria in the 13th century as well as Mikulov (then Nikolsburg) in Moravia in 1249, which remained in their possession until 1945. From the 13th to the 15th century, members of the L. family held offices at court (Johann I, d. 1397, was Controller at the court of Duke Albrecht III; was accused of high treason in 1394 and lost all his fiefs). At the beginning of the 16th century, the family split into 3 branches, of which only the Feldsberg branch survived. The ascendancy of the family began with the three brothers Prince Karl I Liechtenstein, Maximilian (1578-1643) and Gundackar (1580-1658; all living members of the family descend from him). In 1606, it was ruled that the family property was to be entailed, and huge territories in Moravia were acquired. In 1719, the territories at Schellenberg (acquired in 1699) and Vaduz (in 1712) were given the status of imperial principalities under Anton Florian L (1656-1721). In the 18th century, his nephew Prince Joseph Wenzel Liechtenstein made a name for himself as a diplomat and military commander; in 1772, the family received considerable property in the area around Prague. Franz Joseph I (1726-1781), his son Alois I (1759-1805) and his brother Johann I Joseph Duke Liechtenstein had important economic and cultural functions. Johannes II Duke Liechtenstein (1840-1929) supported research in the fields of art history, archaeology and history as well as charitable activities; Prince Alfred Liechtenstein and his brother Prince Aloys Liechtenstein were politically active. With the end of the monarchy, the role of the L. family changed profoundly: What remained was the principality of Liechtenstein and the administration of their fortune. The fortune lost in Czechoslovakia in 1919 and 1945 was substituted mainly by the foundation of the Bank of Liechtenstein in 1921. In Austria, the family owns woods in Styria, including tree nurseries and timber-processing plants, one of the biggest agricultural enterprises in Lower Austria (vineyards) and various houses in Vienna.
The Majoratshaus in the first district of Vienna (Bankgasse 9) is the Viennese residence of the prince. The four-winged, four-storeyed house was built according to plans by D. Martinelli. In 1694 it was bought by the family, who renovated the ballrooms and the salons on the second floor in 1836-1847. Today the building accommodates offices and flats. The summer palace in Rossau in the ninth district of Vienna (Fürstengasse no. 1) was begun according to plans by D. E. Rossi from 1691-1694 and continued from 1700 with alterations by D. Martinelli, the outer buildings were finished by 1711; the fresco on the hall ceiling was painted by A. Pozzo ("Apotheosis of Hercules", 1704-1708); 1979-2000 the building has housed the Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation.
In 1938, Prince Franz Josef II (1906-1989) came into power and moved to Vaduz; his son Prince Hans Adam II (b. 1945) continues his father's tradition (Liechtenstein - Austria).
Literature: J. von Falke, Geschichte des fürstlichen Hauses L., 3 vols., 1984; E. Oberhammer, Der ganzen Welt ein Lob und Spiegel, Das Fürstenhaus L. in der frühen Neuzeit, 1990; G. Schöpfer, Klar und fest - Geschichte des Hauses Liechtenstein, 21996; F. Smola, Die fürstlich Liechtenstein´sche Kunstsammlung, doctoral thesis, 2 vols., Vienna 1998; NDB.
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