Brides for Liechtenstein

The Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung ran an article about a Bride Import company created to supply wives to the men of Liechtenstein. The small principality was losing women, the magazine said, because they were all going to neighboring Switzerland and Austria to find work. As a result, the gender ratio of the country was becoming seriously unbalanced - to such an extent that the government had decided to import brides to prevent depopulation. Suitable women were found in cities and towns throughout Europe and were then transported to Liechtenstein in freight cars, where they were sold in marriage markets. When news of this article reached Liechtenstein it provoked outrage. The men of Liechtenstein were particularly offended by a photo that showed the supposed brides being carried out of a freight car. This was felt to be insulting to the beauty of the actual women of Liechtenstein. Government officials denounced the article and photo as an example of tasteless German humor. News of this international row was then picked up by the press and reported worldwide, which had the effect of circulating the offending photo even more widely than it originally had been.