Grand Duchy of Nidwalden
Großherzogtum Nidwalden (German)
Motto: Remain Independent
Anthem: Unserer Heimatland (German)
Nidwalden (dark green) in Lorecian Community (light green)
|Government||Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|Wilhelm II of Nidwalden|
|41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi)|
• Water (%)
• 2019 estimate
• 2017 census
|202/km2 (523.2/sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||2016 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2016 estimate|
• Per capita
|Currency||Nidwaldeser Krone (NWK)|
|ISO 3166 code||NW|
Nidwalden, officially the Grand Duchy of Nidwalden (German: 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 Nidwaldester 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 in recent studies, 23.3% of whom declared a close foreign background from other Lorecian countries. The official language is German, however, the closeness and free movement with its neighbouring countries has made of Dutch, Scanonian and Albish widely understood languages.
Like in the surrounding countries, the past of the Nidwaldester people has a stretch relation with the Arlethic peoples and several Viking tribes from Scanonia, which coexisted and mixed with the Arlethi, developing what is known today as a unique Nidwaldester identity. Christianization took place in the 8th century with the arrival of the first missionaries from  and lasted until the 12th century. Despite the small territory of Nidwalden, the conversion to Christianity is documented slow and nominally as the terrain difficulty requested additional efforts. Nidwalden was constituted by small Duchies and city-states when it joined the Nassau Union and around 1350 a unified Grand Duchy was formed existing without interruptions since then. After withdrawing from the Nassau Union, Nidwalden faced the Protestantisms with the foundation of the Church of Nidwalden during the 16th century. The first Constitution of Nidwalden was signed on 24 July 1718 turning Nidwalden into a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, founded in the sovereignty of the people, human rights, and separation of power.
After signing the constitution, Nidwalden ended being an absolute monarchy starting a new era of socially progressive changes that deepened the democratic culture of the Grand Duchy. During the 20th century, Nidwalden maintained a neutral position in the several conflicts of Astyria, in 1920 Prime Minister Helle Johansen signed the Sankt Moritz Agreement that set bases of the large Nidwaldester welfare state model with members of all the political parties of Nidwalden. During the first decades of the century, the population reached advanced social rights like civil marriage, divorce and the separation of the state from the church that created the bases to later accomplish the recognition of Same-sex unions in 1989, abortion in 1984 and Same-sex marriage in 2001.
The country is a founder member of the Lorecian Community, the Astyrian Peace Organization and the E10 Council of Nations, it is a member of the World Assembly since 1998. With a very developed and mixed economy, Nidwalden has a very large welfare state providing universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. The Nidwaldester economy is based around the financial and banking sector, the pharmaceutics and the technology with large contributions of tourism and agriculture. The country ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and human development.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Politics and Government
- 4 Economy
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Culture
Formation of a Duchy and the House of Lechner
The leader from the social democrat side of the Rechte party, Ludwig Mann, was elected in 1903. He was the first politician elected for the position from a side that was experiencing an uncomparable growth in one of the traditional parties of Nidwalden. Ludwig Mann took advantage of a socially stable situation and instituted major reforms in labour and social rights to protect the lower classes, accelerated the secularisation of the nation by implementing civil marriage and divorce and set the initial bases for a welfare program. Ludwig Mann held the office between 1903-1907 and 1911-1915. During his second term, the government banned crucifixes in hospitals by 1906 and eliminated references to God and the Gospel in public oaths, Divorce (1907) laws and amends on unemployment compensation (1914) and eight-hour workdays (1915) were also established during this time.
The progress created during both terms of Ludwig led a political movement called Ludwigism that ruled political agendas of the next Prime Ministers during the 60 years that preceded the terms of Ludwig setting a consensus among traditional and new parties on a vision of general welfare state for Nidwalden.
During most of the first years of the twentieth century, Nidwalden remained as a rural country with agriculture and stockbreeding being the bases of its economy. While Ludwigist were in favour of industrialisation of the Nidwaldester economy, the Nationalists leaders maintained an opposition to this, arguing that Nidwalden had the capacity of turning into the Barn of Lorecia. The Nationalist Party was backed up in its majority by the Rural Society of Nidwalden, an organisation composed by most of the aristocracy of Nidwalden during the time. The aspirations of the Nationalist Party to reach the power seemed frustrated during most of the twentieth century and particularly during the first years where Ludwigist achieved the initial and stronger roots of modern Nidwalden.
The term of Christen Holsteinborg (1915-1919) was another event that did not have precedents, Christen became in 1915 the first democratically elected woman in the region. Her beginning two years of administrations were focused in continuing improving rights, inclusion and the Nidwaldester welfare state while during the second half of her term, the state delved into the economy performing a great involvement, breaking private monopolies and nationalising strategic industries and services, a factor that contributed to the economic growth that Nidwalden experienced during the Great Astyrian War.
Great Astyrian War and industrialisation
For the last year of the administration of Christen Holsteinborg, Nidwalden and the rest of Lorecia was sure about a war bursting into the region. Nidwalden encountered itself in the middle of the separation of the personal union of Noordenstaat and Scanonia and the emerging positions and alliances of surrounding nations. With the fear sparkling around the Lorecian continent, the war rapidly turn into the most important issue on the agenda of Christen and the next Prime Minister, Helle Johansen, whose administration covered entirely the conflict.
The whole cabinet of Helle, as well as the Rechte and the other political parties of Nidwalden, maintained a neutral position throughout the war, as it was conceived improper for Nidwalden to take an active position. Despite this, the Nationalist party debated in the Parliament against the Rechte about the possibility of declaring the war against the Western Powers.
With a little industrial sector based around a few important cities like Saint Moritz, Cologne or Lech, the economy of Nidwalden was purely rural and drove in its majority by the aristocracy through the Rural Society. The wealth that maintained the Nidwaldester welfare state during the first years of the century was on its majority stemming from the exportation of agricultural products, mainly to neighbouring nations like Scanonia and Noordenstaat, Albeinland and in fewer quantities, Fyngaria. Once the war burst many of these nations took active positions and focused on the defence industry. Exports of Nidwaldester products from neighbouring nations rapidly decreased, the highly dependent economy and society of Nidwalden was seriously affected by the lack of manufactured articles. The government of Helle Johansen found in the situation the perfect conditions to impulse the economy in the direction of an ISI Model.
As Prime Minister, Helle Johansen enjoyed a wide popular acceptance which provided a vast majority in the parliament, this took her to conclude two key issues of the initial political agenda of Ludwig Mann. The first was during February of 1920 when Helle reunited with leaders from different political sectors of Nidwalden and concluded what was then the most extensive settlement yet in Nidwaldester politics, the Sankt Moritz Agreement, an agreement that set the bases over the years for a welfare state in Nidwalden and that had to be protected by all political parties. Months later, Helle and her cabinet reunited in the industrial city of Lech with members of the high-society of Nidwalden to show confidence in the national labour force, the executive presented a plan to motivate the creation of industries by the exoneration of taxes and several others benefits and the creation of a Ministry competent to administrate the relations between enterprises and state. This system continues nowadays where the government aims and encourages national enterprises but also competes in several areas.
Through several economic concessions to Western and Northern Powers, intelligent and a well-prepared defensive plan around the border and high in the mountains of the two chains that separate Nidwalden from Noordenstaat, Scanonia and Fyngaria, the Grand Duchy remained independent and neutral. The Nidwaldester Crown survived the war and was one of the remaining major freely convertible currencies in the world. With large reserves of gold in the central and regional county banks, a solid financial scenario, an intact industrial base and social stability, Nidwalden took advantage and emerged manufacturing supplies for the reconstruction of the continent.
Hildegard Mann, who was nephew of Ludwig Mann, was elected Prime Minister of Nidwalden in 1927. Hildegard was the third member of the Mann family to be Head of Government of the Grand Duchy and impulsed what was know later as neoludwigism. The second wave of ludwigist reforms started by Helle Johansen and continued by Anders Campisteguy was concluded by Hildegard with an exceptional economic and social situation. Between 1915 and 1927, Nidwalden had gradually transformed from an agrarian nation to a highly industrialized nation and the effect of this was easily seen on the high number of exports to neighbouring countries as these were recovering from the conflict.
With brief interruptions of Nationalist governments, the Rechte governed in Nidwalden since the introduction of the parliamentary system in the Grand Duchy. The situation, however, changed after the Jens Baunsgaard administration (1931-1935) with the right side of the party winning the elections of 1935, Vilhelm Kristensen assumed the position and concluded the Ludwigist era of Nidwalden. Vilhelm approached several liberal conservative policies and maintained a good relationship with the rival Nationalist party, with which alternated terms between 1935 and 1951 and several times, governing in coalition. Liberal conservatives policies crashed with the opposition from the recently founded Social Democrat party (a merge of centre-left parties). Nationalists and conservatives of the Rechte resulted defeated in the elections of 1951 against the SD and ludwigists saw a solid option to migrate as their party was making a turn to the right. Social Democrats governed without interruptions between 1951 and 1983 but it was in the '70s when this ludwigist migration intensified. Social Democrats governed largely in co-operation with trade unions and industry until 1983 when Nationalists won the elections again, the happened the next year but difficult situations provoked anticipated elections in 1990, marking the end of the Nationalist Party as one of the traditional and big parties of Nidwalden.
During the '70s environmental issues increased in importance on the Nidwaldester society. The concern raised especially in the Nidwaldester production of energy, which was composed at the time by nuclear (now banned) and hydroelectric power. The Green Party rapidly increased in popularity after the elections of 1975 holding a seat in the Parliament and promoting the government investment through the state-owned energy company NidEnergie, to produce its own energy from renewable methods.
The elections of 1983 saw the coalition of liberal/right-wing parties to end 8 years of continued social democrat administration. The elections resulted with the coalition led by Die Demokraten party winning with 55.2% of the votes. In February of 1984, a group of journalists from Nidwalden Wort published a series of articles of what was going to know later as the Aspen1 Affair, a secret agency that was running parallel to the Nidwaldester Intelligence Agency. The case was followed by media from all Lorecia and Nidwalden and even the Parliament created a special Commission to investigate responsibilities, which concluded with several high commands of the military and politicians (from the Social Democrat, Nationalist and Democrat parties) being judged for spying and gathering information from communists in Nidwalden and Fyngaria.
During the Die Demokraten administration, the Nidwaldester economy saw its biggest downfall in years. Under the leadership of Peter Skaarup, the new coalition government was determined to conclude several Liberal reforms that put in risk the Nidwaldester welfare state, the executive and its parliamentarians found a strong opposition not only from its rival left party but also from the society. The change of direction in social and economic policies aggravated an already existing went up in inflation ranks, unemployment numbers and house prices. With peaks never registered around September of 1985, the government found itself in the middle of the fear of an upcoming crisis, indications were made to the Nidwaldeser Zentralbank to defend the Crown and lower the inflation at all costs but for December of the same year, the financial and housing bubble deflated leaving many banks in Nidwalden insolvent, which led to the government to implement one the largest banking rescues in the economical history of the country.
The drain on the state treasury from 1985 and onward, was overwhelming and the current account deficit and national debt surged. The Nationalist Party withdrew from the coalition and left Peter Skaarup without large political support as the party started its campaign for anticipated elections in 1986. Skaarup found himself impossible to continue the ambitious change in the production of energy started by the Social Democrats in 1975 and entering 1986, the coal crisis in Albeinland impacted in the Nidwaldester society. General opinion crashed against the Peter administration with riots in several cities of Nidwalden that motivated his dismissal a year before elections.
Lars Frey was elected Prime Minister in 1987 from the Nationalist Party. Once in the government, Lars inherited one of the most difficult situations ever in Nidwaldester history. The recipes of the Nationalists helped in the recovering of normality in the economy and the attitude of the society towards the government but large cuts in the budget between 1983 and 1990, caused that most people associated non-Social Democrat governments with recession and general misery, an image proved in the next seven Social Democrat terms.
Since the Lorecian Community
Elections in 1990 remain in the Nidwaldester imaginary as one of the most important in their history. Helmut Talvi was elected Prime Minister by a 48.1% of the votes (one of the largest in Nidwalester history for a single party) restoring the social democrat rule in the nation. Like the previous Nationalist government, Helmut inherited one of the most difficult situations in the economic and social history of Nidwalden and appointed Annemarie Fitzgerald (who became Prime Minister in the next elections) as Minister of Economy and Finances, Annemarie led with a critical situation in the national treasure caused by the banking rescue of 1985.
Talvi's policies included a shock of money in welfare, social services and education. The country recovered its solid financial and situation in the treasure by implementing a mittelstand model with subsidies to local industries and farmers, which hyperspecialized the industry and boosted commerce. Helmut was also one of the leaders of Lorecia that promoted the creation of the Lorecian Community, his cabinet dealt with lorscepticism and the social, economic and political development of Nidwalden before signing the Bruningen Accord in 1994. During the Fitzgerald administration (1995-1998) Nidwalden witnessed a new era of economic growth (that has not stopped since then) and human development. Following the law that recognised same-sex unions during Talvi's administration, Annemarie approved the recognition of civil marriage (1995) and urged the Church of Nidwalden to do the same. In 1996, a year after the first gay couple got married and a large national debate, another gay couple got married in a church of Cologne.
In the eve of the XXI century, Nidwalden lived its most fatal terrorist attack at the central square of Cologne when a fanatic from the far-right party Alternative detonated a car bomb killing himself and fifteen persons (between locals, tourists and two police officers). The attack was adjudicated by the media to the Alternative Party but the Ducal Police of Nidwalden revealed that it was a fanatic non-member who was encouraged to commit the attack by the laws that allowed same-sex marriage, the recent immigration and the integration of Nidwalden with the rest of Lorecia. The attack remains as the most important in the history of Nidwalden.
Nidwalden has a total area of 41,285 km2, which makes it the smallest country of the Lorecian Community and one of the smallest in Lorecia. It is located in the centre of the Lorecian continent and borders Noordenstaat to the west, Fyngaria to the north and Scanonia to the south and east. The territory of Nidwalden is subdivided by the Environmental Research Institute of the Kiefern Group in three regions: the north that counts with the presence of the Silberberg Mountains bordering Fyngaria; the south that borders Scanonia with the  mountains chain and the western high lands and forests bordering Noordenstaat. The first two regions are part of the  Mountains chain that stretches across Lorecia and it covers most of the Nidwaldester area, altitudes can vary without exceeding 4,700 metres. There is no difference between Northern and southern mountains and their tallest points, in the north Zugspitze reaches 4,634 metres (15,203 ft) being the tallest point in Nidwalden, while in the south Matterhorn reaches 4,478 metres (14,692 ft). Mountains have an important place throughout the Nidwaldester history and are today one of the characteristics of the country.
The formation of high peaks has caused over the years, the formation of several lakes across Nidwalden. Most of these water bodies are found in the central valley (between northern and southern mountains), the western high lands and in the east. Two of the largest lakes are Brienz (which comprises the coast of the city of Vaduz and Zell am See) and Aare (coast of Saint Moritz).
Flora and fauna
Politics and Government
Nidwalden is considered to be one of the most developed democracies and states of justice in the world. According to the constitution adopted in 1718, the Grand Ducky is a unitary constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government, wherein the Duke is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. Power is separated between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. The Grand Duke had the power to dissolve the legislature and used to retain executive power but since the parliamentary system of government, the duties of the monarchs are purely ceremonial and representative. During 2017 polls revealed that a 70-80% of the Nidwaldester people supported the continuation of the monarchy.
In practice, the Prime Minister exercises the executive powers and the legislative power is in charge of the Nidwaldeser Parlament, a unicameral legislative body composed of 169 Deputies which are elected every five years during the national elections. The members of the Parliament are elected by the same way the Prime Minister is, with lists and universal suffrage in all Nidwaldester territory, the consular vote has been an important issue during 2015 but the efforts of the Rechte to allow it were unsuccessful. Deputies work during the five-year term acting independently from the Monarch who was a minimum power in the organism. The building of the Parliament is located in the Old Town of Cologne.
The Parliament is in charge of adopting state's budgets, approving the cabinet, passing acts that apply in Nidwalden and supervising the government actions, which in case of being declared unconstitutional, members of the Executive can be impeached; however, this never happened.
Nidwalden has a wide range of political parties, however, the Rechte and the Social Democrat Party have played leading roles during the Nidwaldester history. Historically, the Rechte and the Nationalist Party are known as the traditional parties as they were the first political parties to represent the Nidwaldester society. The current Prime Minister is Charlotte Mann, a member of the historical social democrat side of the Rechte. Politics in Nidwalden are known internationally for being serious and responsible, since 1920 all political parties are part of the Sankt Moritz Agreement that sets the bases for the establishment of the Nidwaldester welfare state model expanding labor rights, the devaluation of the Krone and subsidies to farmers and small industries.
Nidwalden as a unitary country is divided into eleven first-level administrative counties. Every County has its own local elections separated from the national ones where a County Council is elected. Like the Parliament, Councils discusses county issues, adopts budgets and passes acts that are for use in the territory of the county. Counties are also in charge of upper secondary schools, public transport, county roads, culture affairs and heritage management. County Governors are also part of the councils. The Grand Duke and the government are represented by a Governor that supervises the county and municipality administrations.
|Wiltz||4||Zell am See|
Nidwalden has long been a supporter of Lorecian political and economic integration, as a result of this, the country is a founder member of the Lorecian Community after signing the Bruningen Accord in Noordenstaat. The country maintains embassies in almost every country of Astyria and after the Great Astyrian War governments have been supportive of international cooperation and peaceful settlement of disputes. Nidwalden has recognised over the years, the need of maintaining a strong national defence through collective security and with this objective, the country has preferred to coordinate its efforts with its LC allies through the existing organisms. Nidwalden is also an active supporter of international development and international aid during catastrophes, conflicts and wars. The Grand Duchy enjoys of presence in several Astyrian and global organisations like the Lorecian Community, the Astyrian Peace Organization, the E10 Council of Nations (in which is represented as an invited nation and the LC) and the World Assembly.
Politicians from right-wing and left-wing parties have always preferred to reach consensus on defence, immigration, international aid and conflicts in the Lorecian continent and Astyria. Over the years, Nidwalden has tried to be as impartial as possible at the time of marking a position in regional conflicts.
- Main Airticle: Nidwaldester Defence Forces
The Nidwaldester Army, Air Force, Home Guard and Navy compose the Nidwaldester Armed Forces which are under the command of the commander-in-chief the Grand Duke of Nidwalden. Since 1904, military service is voluntary and at 2018, the armed forces employed a total of 18,983 personnel, which include civilians. The commander-in-chief is the Grand Duke of Nidwalden and the four branches are subordinate to the Nidwaldester Ministry of Defense. Decisions are usually taken in conjunction with the Grand Duke, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Foreign Relations, although the Grand Duke has the final word on the resolution.
The defence of the Grand Duchy also depends on the Nidwaldester Intelligence Service, an intelligence agency whose responsibility is to protect the interests and infrastructure of Nidwalden as well as of the Lorecian Community, the agency is in charge of the Onyx network, an intelligence gathering system whose purpose is to monitor by intercepting both civil and military communications.
Despite its difficult terrain, Nidwalden enjoys a large and intelligent military infrastructure developed to attack in case of invasions. The Air Force has a structure of seven air bases, two of them capable of handling only helicopters in case of emergency.
During the '80s Nidwalden experienced a pacifist movement and the existence of popular anti-militarist groups which launched a referendum to cut gradually the activities of the armed forces and to abolish the armed forces altogether. Despite small defeats in both referendums celebrated, the population decided to maintain its armed forces.
The economy of Nidwalden is one of the most stable economies in Lorecia. The political stability and the long culture of human rights has given to Nidwalden millions of safe investors creating an independent, safe and huge economy. The country has a stable and high-income market economy features moderate growth, low inflation, and a high level of innovation, the unemployment rate has been traditionally low and it is actually positioned in 2.5% of the population. The country is one of the richest countries of the world with a nominal GDP per capita at $104,359.
The financial sector is one of the most traditional sectors of the Nidwaldester economy, banking and finance play a very important role in the economical scene of the country, like others countries in Astyria, Nidwalden plays a role, specially for the Lorecian Community, as a place of low taxes, political and economical stability and safety for saving great amounts of money. Saint Mortiz and its financial centre are known for being the core of many of the economic decisions taken in Nidwalden.
The service sector comprises the majority of the Nidwaldester GDP and in recent years the numbers saw an increment due to the enlargement of the information and technology sector. Nidwalden has positioned itself as one of the most technologized countries in the Lorecian Community, the city of Vaduz in the south of the country has the highest number of startups per person in Lorecia and has been named as one of the best cities of Astyria to start or move a technology focused enterprise.
The city Lech is one of the homes of the modern car in Astyria, the automotive industry comprises also an important part of the GDP as it is considered to be one of the most competitive and innovative of the world. However, since the 80s the Nidwaldester society has faced an important environmental conscience that has take it to produce more eco-friendly products in the industrial sector, changing the aluminium production for high-value-added, non-polluting industries, such as cosmetics and biothermics.
Energy and Infrastructure
The electricity generated in Nidwalden is fully produced by the state-owned company NidEnergie, in 2018 a 95%of Nidwalden’s energy was made by renewable energy methods such as hydroelectric power stations and windparks, the geographical situation of Nidwalden, with a great amount of lakes and rivers and high mountains gives it an enormous advantage.
Nidwalden has one of the most dense rail network in Lorecia. The vast majority of the network is operated by the national company Nidwaldeser Bahn which has focused its business into improving the reliability and quality of service of its conventional rail network. The difficult terrain of Nidwalden and the short distances between cities and towns has been a challenge for the company in building high-speed networks, there are currently three major high-speed lines, Cologne-Saint Moritz, Cologne-Vaduz and Vaduz-Saint Moritz, the three of them are connected with Noordenstaat and Scanonia.
The mountainous country has five international airports, Cologne International Airport, Vaduz International Airport, Aspen International Airport, Lech Airport and Saint Moritz International Airport, the last one is the largest one and a major connection hub with the rest of the Lorecian Community and Astyria for the flag carrier airline, Air Nid, the Aspen International Airport operates international flights only during winter and has only ten destinations in total. However, most of the cities in Nidwalden count with facilities for airplanes.
Estimations done in 2018 agreed that the population of Nidwalden was of 5,323,933 inhabitants. As the rest of the countries of Lorecia, Nidwalden increased its population together with the industrialization of the economy between 1800 and 1990, however, this growth has been slow and stable, estimations done by specialist of the World Assembly say that the Nidwaldester population will remain without exceeding the number of 5,400,000 until 2030. Immigration and an exceptional quality of life is what gives to the population of Nidwalden this character of stable.
As a developed country in Lorecia, Nidwalden counts with a vast community of foreigners, 23.3% of the population has recognised having a foreign background from his close past. Most of the immigration comes from neighbouring countries like Scanonia, Noordenstaat, Fyngaria or Albeinland thanks to the possibilities given by the free movement accords of the Lorecian Community. During the early 2000s several social institutions and political parties (mainly from left backgrounds) expressed its concerns for an increasing xenophobia in the Nidwaldester society and populist political campaigns, in reply to this, the Ducal government stated that ‘the situation of xenophobia was unacceptable in a country like Nidwalden’, in the following years actions were taken in schools and in the social scene to ensure rapid and unproblematic integration of foreigners.
The government of Nidwalden follows a system of insurances that every citizen should have. Legal citizens of Nidwalden and visitors have the right to a quality healthcare service that is given in an enormous network of hospitals and clinics funded by the state. Insurances are generally from private companies, once the applicant needs the service these are free (as it is paid with a mensual fee) and include emergency facilities, treatments and specialized medicine. While the cost of the system is among the highest, it compares well with other Lorecian countries in terms of health outcomes; patients have been reported as being, in general, highly satisfied with it and the state keeps a very high engagement of the population into insurance plans, an overwhelming 99% count with a life insurance that ensures quality healthcare at any moment.
Nidwalden has no official religion, church and state has been officially separated since 1917 and the religious freedom is guaranteed by the constitution since then. However, a survey done by the official agency of statics of the Grand Duchy showed that Protestantism remained as the main religion with a 57.9% of adherence in the population, it was followed by atheists and/or agnostics with a 40.7%. According to political observers, Nidwalden is one of the most secular countries of Astyria, for many, this process of secularization began during the protestant reformations of the churches where new ideas were spread along the country.
In 1837 civil marriage was recognized, and in 1861 the state took over the running of public cemeteries. In 1907 divorce was legalized and, in 1909 all religious instruction was banned from state school, much more time after the church reformation the innovative Prime Minister Ludwig Mann (1903–1911) completed the separation of the church from the state.
The protestant reform of the church and then the secularization process of Nidwalden is thought to be one of the reasons why the society of the small country has been very open and receptive to innovative laws and ideas. In modern times the population has supported the recognition of Same-sex unions in 1989 and the later Law that approved Same-sex marriage in 2001, years before, in 1984 Nidwalden was also one of the first countries to fully legalize the Abortion.
The population of Nidwalden is equally divided between cities. As a country with a largely rural past, Nidwaldester cities have grown during the first decades of the nineteenth century, however, this process of urbanisation has been sustainable and the population is today equally divided between the urban spots. Historically, Saint Moritz and Cologne have been the largest cities of Nidwalden but recently other cities like Lech, Vaduz, Bremen and Innsein.
Largest cities or towns in Nidwalden
According to SAN
|7||Zell am See||Wiltz||92,753|
Like the neighbouring countries of Noordenstaat and Scanonia, Nidwalden has a developed education in which students have a performance that overpass regional averages. The education system is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education in all the Nidwaldester territory. Optional Kindergarten is offered for all children between one and six years old, after it, primary and secondary school are compulsory and last six years each one, secondary school is divided between the first three years and then another three years, in the last two years children can choose an ‘orientation’ where the education imparted more specialized in different areas. All children graduated from secondary school are able to speak English on level B2 and a third optional language on level B1.
Nidwalden has a long tradition of higher education, most universities are public institutions and students can attend without fee payment. The country has one of the highest rates of student enrolment in Universities, this contributes to having a very specialized workforce. Nidwalden is home of the Kiefern Group, a group of the best five public universities, the name of the group is often synonymous of academic excellence.
Nidwalden shares many strong cultural and historical ties with the neighbouring countries of Scanonia and Noordenstaat. The country has been historically one of the most progressive cultures of the world, Nidwalden was one of the first countries in Astyria and the world to allow same-sex unions in 1989, abortion in 1984 and legal same-sex marriage in 2001. Modesty and social equality are important parts of a culture that has been shaped through history by major intellectuals, artist and new thinkers that later became important for the new waves of think in Astyria.
Architecture and design
Nidwaldester design and architecture has grown while being characterized by the simplicity, minimalism and functionality, it is a style worldwide famous. Initially influenced by the Bauhaus school, Nidwaldester designers and architects took different ways to persuade a different style, however, the culture for design in Nidwalden dates from long before the 20th century, despite the small size of the country, different areas developed different styles, this contributed to a major diversity in architectural styles. The most typical constructions along the central valley date from the Middle Ages and follow Romanesque styles. Gothic architecture flourished during the high and late medieval period and with this large Gothic influence, castles started to be constructed appearing through the whole country and being today the most distinctive architectural pieces of Nidwalden, most of them are located in the cores or up in hills near towns, where half-timbered buildings became part of the Nidwaldester culture. The progressive industrialization and the years of stable growth helped to develop a more modern side of the architecture in Nidwalden, large cities like Saint Moritz, Cologne and Lech are known for its modern buildings of distinctive Nidwaldester Design. The Mégeve County Councils and the Bremen City Hall, the Kirchberg borough of Cologne, the skyscrapers of Saint Moritz and many of the contemporary developments in the cities of Vaduz and Lech are just some of the most recognised pieces of modern Nidwaldester design.