This article belongs to the lore of Astyria.

Nidwalden

Grand Duchy of Nidwalden

Großherzogtum Nidwalden (Nidwaldeser)
Flag
Flag
Coat Of Arms of Nidwalden
Coat Of Arms
Motto: "Wir wollen bleiben, was wir sind" (Nidwaldeser)
"We want to remain what we are"
Anthem: Unserer Heimatland (Nidwaldeser)
"Our Homeland"
Nidwalden map.png
Location of  Nidwalden  (dark green)

– in Lorecia  (green & dark grey)
– in Lorecian Community  (green)

CapitalCologne
LargestSaint Moritz
Official languagesNidwaldeser
Recognised regional languagesNoordenstaater and Scanonian a
Demonym(s)Nidwaldeser
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Wilhelm II of Nidwalden
Charlotte Mann
Independence from Noordenstaat-Scanonia
c. 1200
c. 1300
• Union
4 August 1371
12 April 1718
1 July 1718
24 July 1815
• Water (%)
4.5
Population
• 2019 estimate
5,350,000
• 2017 census
5,323,933
• Density
202/km2 (523.2/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2016 estimate
• Total
$377.100 billion
• Per capita
$66,578
GDP (nominal)2016 estimate
• Total
$391.959 billion
• Per capita
$67,890
Gini (2015)23.5
low
HDI (2015)Steady 0.935
very high
CurrencyNidwaldeser Krone (NWK)
Driving sideright
Calling code+77
ISO 3166 codeNW
Internet TLD.nw
a Although not officially recognised, these languages are widely spoken and understood.

Nidwalden, officially the Grand Duchy of Nidwalden (Nidwaldeser: Großherzogtum Nidwalden) is a landlocked mountainous country located in Lorecia bordering Noordenstaat to the west, Fyngaria to the north and Scanonia to the south and east. Cologne is the seat of the Nidwaldeser crown and Government, as well as a major financial centre for the country. The population is equally distributed in the complex mountainous territory of Nidwalden, the country has an area of 41,285 km2 that is home to 5,323,933 inhabitants, that make it the smallest and third less inhabited country of the Lorecian Community.

The territory of Nidwalden has been inhabited since at least 2000 BC by the Arlethic peoples, which coexisted and mixed throughout centuries with several Viking tribes from Scanonia. Christianisation took place during the 8th century with the arrival of missionaries from other areas of Lorecia; however, the process is documented to have taken longer due to the difficulty of the terrain. The formation of centres of power created, during most of the early history of Nidwalden, a situation of fragmentation that remained during centuries until the formation of the Crown of Grevenmacher around 1200 that consolidated a formal structure of duchies and principalities in most of the Nidwaldeser territory. Grevenmacher remained the seat of the crown and under the reign of Friedhelm IV of Grevenmacher, the territory achieved cohesion. In 1371, the territories were integrated in a personal union with the reigning monarchs of Scanonia and Noordenstaat, which formed the Nassau Union. Internal conflicts remained occasional between the three entities until an uprising in the city of Cologne pushed the Nidwaldeser withdrawal that became effective in 1718. During the 16th century, Nidwalden was converted to the Protestantism with the foundation of the Church of Nidwalden and in 1718, the first Basic Laws of Nidwalden were signed, turning the Grand Duchy into one of the first parliamentary constitutional monarchies of Lorecia.

With the end of the absolute monarchy in Nidwalden, the country advanced on several socially progressive changes. In 1815, the country codified the Constitution and granted universal suffrage, including with women's suffrage that same year. During most of the 19th century, the country experienced an important industrialisation rooted in the protectionist ideals of early Rechte governments, that helped the economy be paired with those of the continent. During the early 20th century, the Rechte consolidated its domination over the politics of the country; in 1904, Ludwig Mann was invested Prime Minister and inaugurated an era of important changes, his administration introduced the Nidwaldeser welfare state and completed the separation between church and state. During most of the Great Astyrian War, Nidwalden remained neutral and without an active participation on the conflict, this helped the country to advance later on an important post-war prosperity based on Ludwigist ideals. Economic downturns pushed governments during the 1970s to introduce several reforms on the system and towards the 1980s, Nidwalden set itself as a great advocate for regional integration, signing in 1991 the Bruningen Accord and becoming a founder member of the Lorecian Community.

Nidwalden is a Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, it counts with a social market high-income and very developed economy. The country counts with a very large welfare state that provides universal healthcare and tertiary education to its citizens. Nidwalden stands out in several regional metrics, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitivness and educative quality. Nidwalden is a founder member of the Lorecian Community, it is represented in the E10 Council of Nations and the World Assembly.

History

Early settlements

Crown of Grevenmacher (1200-1371)

Nassau Union (1371-1718)

Enlightenment and social advances (1718-19th century)

First industrialisation period (19th century)

Early 20th century (1900-1920)

Great Astyrian War and post-war prosperity (1920-1945)

Economic downturn and reforms (1970-1980s)

Recent history

Geography

Climate

Politics and Government

Nidwalden is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, whose Head of State is the Grand Duke of Nidwalden, currently Wilhelm II, and the Head of Government is the Prime Minister. Nidwalden is considered a "full democracy", it usually ranks high on transparency and accountability levels and the political world holds an enormous respect for institutionalism. The Constitution of Monsa was signed on the 24th of July, 1815 and since then, the power has been divided in three branches (Legislative, Executive and Judiciary); the Constitution of 1815 was notable also for recognises Human Rights, freedom of speech and expression and freedom of religion.

Interior of the Parliament of Nidwalden, in Cologne.

The government of Nidwalden is presided by the Grand Duke Wilhelm II, although his position is argely ceremonial and often restricted to sign bills after they are passed by the legislature. The monarch presides the Council of State, a privy council formed together with all ministers. The executive is, in practice, led by the Prime Minister of Nidwalden, who is elected through universal suffrage to later be appointed by the Head of State to command the confidence of the Parliament of Nidwalden during an investiture session. Terms of the Prime Ministers are not fixed by any legal document although by tradition, these last four years. Terms can end earlier if the monarch is advised by the PM to formally dissolve the legislature and call for snap elections, or if a parliamentary majority decides to held a motion of confidence to remove the Head of Government. The legislative power is vested on the Parliament of Nidwalden, a unicameral legislature composed by 169 members responsible of resenting, discussing and passing laws, approving cabinets, granting confidence and declaring war on other nations, among other things. Members of the Parliament are voted during general elections together with the Prime Minister and serve as long as the legislature is not dissolved; MPs can also use the principle of parliamentary control and held sessions with the government that will questioned regarding specific or general policy or national matters. The judicial system is led by the Supreme Court, followed by High Courts and on the first instance, County Courts; judges are directly appointed by the monarch on advise of the cabinet and the branch is considered to be highly independent and transparent.

During most of the early 20th century, politics have been dominated by the Rechte and the Nationalist Party; however, the realignment of most of the left under the Social Democratic Party and the rise of Die Demokraten have produced a more fluent transition between different political parties. Politics in Nidwalden have a tradition of political consensus, egalitarianism and respect for democratic institutions and state of law; since 1920, the country has consolidated its welfare state and politics thorugh the Sankt Moritz Agreement, a pact between all political parties that has trascended over the decades.

Foreign relations

Therese von Hönigswald, Minister of Foreign Affairs during early 2000s and General Secretary of the Lorecian Community between 2010 and 2015.

Despite being a landlocked nation of medium size, Nidwalden has achieved an important international recognition through its diplomacy. The country maintains extensive cultural, diplomatic and economic ties with most nations of Astyria; however, its most important allies are Noordenstaat and Scanonia that surround the country and with which have proactively sought regional integration through the Bruningen Accords that established the Lorecian Community. Most aspects of the Nidwaldeser foreign policy are usually co-ordianted with that of the LC, which holds several of its institutions spread in Cologne, and the country has been a traditional backer of regional integration and welfare since at least the 1920s with Hildegard Mann as PM; the membership of the country in the organisation and its status in the region are considered to be the most important axis on the draw of foreign policy. Besides of the LC, the country is full member or observer of several other organisations and has been considered an important voice in other organisations like the E10 Council of Nations, where Nidwalden is represented by several economists and the LC delegation.

For decades, foreign policy in Nidwalden has been considered an important part of the state and thus the representation of the Grand Duchy has been far from the politicisation and kept as a consensus among political actors to remain in the path of diplomatic efforts to reach dialogue and avoid conflicts. Outside the Lorecian Community, the country finds Aquitayne, Caledonia and Aswick as strategic partners and outside the Lorecian continent, Nidwalden keeps fluent relations with nations like Nikolia, Hindia Belanda and Cadenza; however, relations with EATA, and in specifically the Blackhelm Confederacy, have been fraught. Nonetheless, the two countries have joined efforts to maintain peace and stability in the north of Lorecia.

Administrative divisions

Military

Two Nikolian-made GBT-65 Lav during exercises on the snow.

The Nidwaldeser Armed ForcesNidwaldeser Streitkräfte— are composed by the Nidwaldeser Army (Heer), Air Force (Luftwaffe) and Home Guard (Heimwehr). The three forces are subordinated to the Commander-in-chief, the Grand Duke of Nidwalden, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence are considered the next military authorities in line, together with those Chief of Staff of the three forces. The armed forces do not enforce conscription since 1903 and numbered, as of 2019, 18,983 personnel including civilians. Due to its location in central Lorecia, Nidwalden does not count with a seafront and thus has no Navy; however, it operates several small units of the police on lakes and the Air Force has participated in joint exercises with other Lorecian navies. Although primary mission of the Armed Forces is described as to safeguard internal stability and the defence of Nidwaldeser sovereignty, the three forces have actively participated in several other missions with other Lorecian allied forces; currently, Nidwalden maintains peacekeepers in Caranad and Artoszka, where it also participated in a joint defence against Belkan aggressions.

The Nidwaldeser armed forces hold an important intelligence network of stations spread across the country that has facilitated Lorecian cooperation on the defence area, the system has been controversial in the country as it is aimed to intercept civil and military communications. During the 1970s, Nidwalden experienced an important pacifist movement and the existence of popular anti-militarist groups that pushed to the reform and abolishment of the armed forces and in 1973 and 1974, the country held two referendums to decide the future of its armed forces.

Economy

Saint Moritz skyline, the city is the financial heart of the country and one of the most important business centres of the LC.

Nidwalden is considered a high-income social market developed economy. It ranks as the second highest GDP per capita in Astyria at $67,890 nominal and $66,578 PPP; in the context of the Lorecian Community, Nidwalden is first on the Gini index and second, after Scanonia, on the Human Development Index. The Nidwaldeser economy is often referred to as mixed and of social market, due to an important state participation through several state-owned companies and an extensive welfare net providing quality services to its citizens; in addition, the country is also noted for a high adherence to trade unions and the several instruments of mediation between employers and unions to adhere to minimum wages and a high standard of labour conditions. In 2020, unemployment was reported to be standing at 5.1%, one of the lowest numbers in decades.

Breuer factory in the city of Lech, home of the modern automobile.

The economy of Nidwalden is driven, in its majority, by the tertiary sector, which comprises 75.2% of the total GDP and has as its core the financial industry, transport and communications, with large contributions from tourism and retail, where the country has positioned itself as a renowned brand of design in Astyria. The country enjoys a favourable position due to its highly skilled labour force as the country holds one of the highest percentages of population holding a tertiary degree, which has resulted in an expansion of the industries of innovation and technology. The industrial sector of the economy continues being a driving force for Nidwalden and currently comprises 30% of the Nidwaldeser output; it is led by the automotive sector, which includes Breuer and Forscher, and has important contributions from non-polluting products related to chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Although small, agriculture remains important for the Nidwaldeser economy and over the years the country has specialised its dairy, meat and vegetables production to cover organic and conscious markets. Family ownership characterises most Nidwaldeser industries and has been noted a high participation or conversion to other cooperative forms.

During most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Nidwaldeser economy was heavily protected from foreign produce with tariffs and a protectionist logic that prevailed in most of the political establishment. The country developed one of the highest standards of living in the region during the early years of the twentieth century and later during the post-war period, which was heavily affected by the neutrality policy of the country during the conflict; however, an economic stagnation approaching the 1960s and later recession during the 1970s forced governments to liberalise and deregulate the market through the use of a policy of "flexicurity". In 1991, Nidwalden signed the Treaty of Kijmáfórs together with Fyngaria, Noordenstaat and Scanonia, consolidating the Lorecian Economic Area. Since then, the Nidwaldeser economy has been heavily integrated with those of the region. The Nidwaldeser Central Bank follows the guidelines of the Lorecian Central Bank, which is headquartered in Saint Moritz.

Sovereign wealth fund

Headquarters of the Nidwaldeser Pension Fund in central Cologne.

Founded in 1991, the Nidwaldeser Pension Fund is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds of Astyria. The fund was created under the State Insurance Act and is composed by approximately NWK 27 billions in assets, which range from real-estate portfolios to shares in several Nidwaldeser and Lorecian companies. The Staatlicher Pensionsfonds is owned by the government of Nidwalden and managed through a special commission of the Ministry of Economy and Finances; since 2010, the company is guided by a new law passed by the parliament and ratified through a referendum that restricts investments to follow the guidelines of socially responsible investing, prohibiting the fund to operate assets in arms producers or highly contaminating companies. Although the pensions fund counts with offices in the main Lorecian financial centres, most of shares are acquired through the Saint Moritz Stock Exchange, providing confidence in the local market.

Retirements from the fund might only happen after parliamentary support and these could not exceed 3% of the fund a year; as of 2021, it has been used only twice. The fund was created to provide sustainability to the pensions and welfare system of Nidwalden, which were heavily damaged after the 1980s financial turmoil.

Labour market

Assembly line in the Lech factory of Breuer.

The Nidwaldeser labour market stands out in the Lorecian Community for having complemented a liberal approach with an extensive and comprehensive welfare state. The country ranks at the top of the region in issues like worker protection and unions density, two effects often owed to the introduction of the Vilhofen system in the early 20th century. The system implies that unemployment protection is provided by trade unions and subsided by membership fees. While most of the welfare system was designed and introduced between 1900 and 1930, the post-war period and its prosperity increased the benefits and subsidies in Nidwalden; however, during the 1970s, the financial crisis forced government to cut a large part of the welfare net. Since then, the country's labour market has operated under a policy of "flexicurity", meaning that while the labour market remains flexible for both employers and employees, the state is able to provide high protection to unemployed individuals and an active policy of professional formation.

Since 2019, the government of Charlotte Mann has introduced a system of universal basic income that has simplified yet increased unemployment protection and welfare subsidies by providing NWK 1,700 to every Nidwaldeser citizen. Thanks to the use of a broad range of policies, Nidwalden counts with one of the lowest unemployment rates of the LC; in 2021, a report issued by the government stated that nearly 87% of Nidwaldeser workers felt labour security. In average, Nidwaldeser workers retire at 65 years old and pensions near 100% of their income while working.

Transport and infrastructure

Aerial view of the Cologne Airport, second largest in the country and _th busiest in the LC.

Nidwalden has a highly developed infrastructure spread across most of its territory and providing it with connections with most of Lorecia. The country has a dense railway network mostly operated by the state-owned company Nidwaldeser Bahn, which provides international high speed lines together with other companies from Noordenstaat and Scanonia. Nidwaldeser cities like Cologne, Saint Moritz, Lech and Vaduz have S-trains, which connect suburban areas in addition to trams. The motorway network of Nidwalden (Autobahns) have been in constant development since the early 1920s. Since then, Nidwalden has built approximately 1,600 km of motorways; the A1, which connects Cologne with the Saint Moritz and the border with Scanonia, remains the busiest motorway by traffic influx and is followed by the A2 and A4. Nidwaldeser Autobahns are complemented by Schnellstraßen and other types of local and smaller routes; both motorways and carriageways are usually built and maintained by the state-owned company Herzogliche Autobahnen und Schnellstraßen Aktiengesellschaft.

Air traffic constitutes a large portion of domestic and international traffic in Nidwalden. The country is well connected with Lorecia, Sythith, Hesperidesia and Teudallum from its two largest airports in Cologne and Saint Moritz. These two airports are complemented by smaller and regional airports with seasonal destinations to cities inside the Lorecian Community. Although private vehicle ownership is increasing, Nidwalden has adopted several measures since the early 2000s to discourage cars and, more recently, has put into force several benefits to electric cars. Alternative mobility is actively supported by state policy and most of Nidwalden is covered by a network of charging stations as well as by bicycle infrastructure where terrain allows it.

Energy and telecommunications

Since the 2000s, Nidwalden has invested in the production of alternative energies.

Although the sector was liberalised as part of the signing of the Bruningen Accords, NidEnergie still sees the participation of the state through its shares and while the company competes with other Lorecian companies, its position on the market remains dominant producing more than 70% percent of the total energy in the country and accounting for the consumption in 85% of homes in Nidwalden. Since the early 2000s, the country has advanced on the investment of sustainable methods of energy production and during 2010, political parties signed a national strategy to eliminate all fossil fuels by 2030; as of 2019, the sector relies mainly on renewable energy and 80% of the country's production of energy comes from wind parks or hydroelectrics. Nuclear energy remains banned in Nidwalden since the 1975 referendum; however, the country still holds the Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant, inaugurated during 1965 that serves now as a scientific research centre.

Nidwalden counts with an advanced and developed telecommunications network. The sector is dominated by the Nidwaldeser company TeleNid and counts with the participations of other Lorecian companies. The country is well served by cellular telephone services, which since the Lorecian Community have seen several initiatives of regional integration; the country has also a very developed network of fiber-optic cables in urban, suburban and rural areas, providing fast connectivity. As of 2020, the number of people with access to internet at home rose 98.5% of the population.

Demographics

The population of Nidwalden, as calculated by Statistik Nidwalden during 2020, is estimated in 5.832 million. Inside the Lorecian Community, the country has the second lowest population, falling behind Nynorsk Ostlijord. Nidwalden has registered one of the lowest birth rates, which added to increasing longevity, results in one of the slowest growing rates per year; however, immigration is starting to revert the effect. The Nidwaldeser population is one of the oldest of the region with an average age of 41.5 years and a life expectancy of 81,95 years, largely owed to a large and comprehensive welfare state, a developed healthcare and education systems and the low levels of income inequality.

Due to its geographical conditions, Nidwalden has been regarded as a historically homogeneous nation. Since the 1990s, however, this trend has registered a special change as the country signed several agreements of free movement with its neighbouring nations. Although Nidwalden deoes not register ethnic groups on its census, as of 2020, 4.10% of the total population claimed having a close or known immigrant background, primarily from Scanonia, Noordenstaat and Fyngaria. From the same statics, the immigrant population was registered at 9.55%, with an important part of them being also from the three neighbouring nations and Mizialand, extra-communitarian immigrants in Nidwalden are usually Indesvolkers and Confederates, which constitute an important minority. Although Nidwalden did not engage in colonisation processes like its neighbours, a considerable portion of the Nidwaldeser diaspora is registered to have emigrated as part of the Scanonian Colonial Company and the Noordenstaater Trading Company and as a result, a considerable colony of Nidwaldesers is found in Hindia Belanda. Other important Nidwadeser populations can be found in Kelonna and in most of the Lorecian Community.

Since the early process of industrialisation faced by Nidwalden during the final decades of the 19th century, the country has counted with a mostly urban population. The metropolitan areas of its two largest cities, Cologne and Saint Mortiz, are considered to be part of a larger Lorecian metropolitan regions whose transnational traffic and cooperation has been increased since the 1990s due to the introduction of free movement policies and easiness to live inside the LC.

Healthcare

Duchess Marie Therese von Humboldt Hospital in Cologne.

Nidwalden has a life expectancy of 82.4 years at birth (80.8 years for men and 83.9 years for women). Besides of its longevity, the Nidwaldeser population stands out in the regional context by having one of the lowest rates of obesity and certain lifestyle and public policy factors that contribute to continually increasing life expectancy, such as one of the toughest active policies on tobacco and a regulated drugs market that has lowered addictions. However, several studies continue reporting a high penetration of cancer rates, which results in being one of the first causes of death among Nidwaldesers, and cardiovascular diseases, which account for more than 30% of deaths in persons over 60 years old. During 2020, the Nidwaldeser government had invested 12% of the GDP on healthcare.

Healthcare in Nidwalden is provided through the state and private healthcare providers. The universal health care system is publicly financed by all Nidwaldeser workers through a tax that consists in 4% or 8% of the income of the taxpayers, and generally delivered by the state or private institutions at the choice of each person. In general terms, the private and public healthcare provide the same services, which usually rank high in the regional average of medical quality and user satisfaction.

Religion

Cathedral of Cologne, seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and primate of Nidwalden.

Education

Culture

Architecture

Art and design

Media

Sports

Holidays