You can rent an entire country for a weekend!

Liechtenstein can be yours for the night, if you have about $70,000 to spare. But what exactly do you get for your money? Find out if your hard-earned dollars buy you a boring state dinner or the right to slaughter the cattle of the disobedient and pick your bride(groom) from among the nation's comeliest youths.

Anything is for sale these days, including tiny landlocked countries in the Alps. The principality of Liechtenstein is up for rent, at least for a few nights at a time, at about $70,000 per night. The country is about 67 square miles, entirely landlocked, and has roughly 35,000 residents. It's strange that it is so willing to rent itself out. The nation as a whole isn't hurting for cash, as it has a high GDP per capita and very low debt. Possibly its willingness to sell itself is the reason for such economic hardiness.

Which isn't to say Liechtenstein isn't fussy about its clientele. When Snoop Dogg tried to rent it for a weekend as a backdrop for a music video it refused his offer. In fact, although it remains available, it hasn't yet been rented. This is possibly because it doesn't offer the best selection of benefits to its temporary owners. Sure, there's the possibility of sipping cocktails on Prince Hans-Adam's estate while watching a fireworks display, or having a personalized logo carved into the snow on the side of an alp, but those will run you extra. And sure, renters will have the use of the nation's police force and be presented with a symbolic key to the city. But people who rent an entire country aren't doing it for the fun, they're doing it for the power trip. Renters are looking for Stanford Prison Experiment levels of messed-up power, and they're getting a pricing scheme which allows for 150 guests, with the understanding that there will be no smoking (It's not allowed in Liechtenstein) or hot tubs (They don't have any). Okay, there can be fake currency printed up for the renters, and fake street signs put up to boost their egos, but it wouldn't be the same as real despotism.

Perhaps Prince Hans-Adam II is reluctant to share any of his power. Unlike most rulers, he's more than just a figurehead. In 2003 he got his subjects to give him the power to appoint judges, ignore legislation that he doesn't like, and even dissolve the entire government. Some of those who didn't like the idea found animal carcasses dumped on their doorsteps in the night. He even threatened to sell Liechtenstein to Bill Gates if he didn't get his way. Voters gave him what he wanted, with 64% in favor of the new powers.

This is a shame, because as much fun as it would be to rent a country for a weekend, it would have been so much more fun to track the process of a literal rebellion against Microsoft. There is, of course, no indication that Gates was up for owning Lichtenstein in the first place, but seeing him deploying his private security forces against the rioting people of Lichtenstein would have made for one of the best war narratives ever.

Via The Guardian, Geek.com, and The Independent.