HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – At first glance, Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan share little in common. The former is a German-speaking, wealthy little European country with a population of just 38,000 people and the highest per capita GDP in the world of $165,000. Uzbekistan on the other hand is a poor, former Soviet country in central Asia with a population of 33 million. As the British would say, the two are like chalk and cheese.
What they share in common though is a very unique, maritime feature — they are the only two doubly landlocked countries in the world.
Landlocked and Doubly Landlocked Countries
A landlocked country is one whose territory has no connection to an ocean. They may have rivers and lakes but they have no access to an ocean – they are literally locked-in by land.
Surprisingly, landlocked countries are not all that rare.
According to the UN, there are 195 countries in the world. Depending upon how a country is defined there are 49 countries or partially recognized states that are landlocked — that’s about 1 in 4.
A country is “doubly landlocked” when it is surrounded only by landlocked countries requiring the crossing of at least two national borders to reach an oceanic coastline. Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan are the only two in the world that meet that criteria.