30 Shades of Grey (and Yellow and White…)

This post is part of an archived series of blogs called The LeVine Line, written by former Ambassador Suzan G. LeVine during her time at U.S. Embassy Bern.

14 June 2014

On my recent visit to Liechtenstein, I had the opportunity to visit 2 companies, meet with students at the University of Liechtenstein, and sit down with various government officials and local leaders. I gained even more appreciation for the phrase Klein aber Fein! For a country of approximately 38,000 people, the impact that they have on the world is enormous!

In your everyday life, I suspect you interact with or experience products either made or designed in Liechtenstein with some frequency. You might even have some of them with you right now. For example – part of my visit was to Ivoclar-Vivadent. This company is a world leader in aesthetic dentistry – so if you have a filling or a fake tooth, there’s a high likelihood that they produced it. To the right is a picture of their color palette for teeth. It’s amazing to me in how many shades of white, yellow and, yes, grey, teeth can come! And they have quite the US nexus. Their headquarters are in Shaan, Liechtenstein and they have facilities in both Amherst, New York and Somerset, New Jersey.

Have you ever been to a concert or watched a movie or television? If so – the microphones and video cables used were probably connected to the amplification and or recording device using Neutrik connectors. The CEO, Werner Bachmann, showed me where all of their products are currently produced and it was very impressive (and expanding)! The United States is their biggest market and they have a robust sales & distribution office in the US.

My stop at the University further illustrated that this country engages deeply in the world and is working hard to ensure its citizens keep up on the latest trends. We sat with several entrepreneurs who shared their experiences and dreams, met with a woman in the architecture design school applying her skills to facilities in Africa, and were wowed by a new technology called FluidGlass that, if it scales, could provide an innovative way for buildings to reduce energy costs and increase efficiency. I even got to meet with some of their International students who each made a dessert from their home country. I believe that’s the only time in my life that I’ve eaten 10 or more desserts in a row!

Overall – it was a tremendous visit and I look forward to more collaboration in the future!

Here are more pictures from the visit.