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State name in Tibetan script

Druk Yul
Kingdom of Bhutan
Flag of Bhutan
Bhutan's coat of arms
flag emblem
Motto : One nation, one people
Official language Dzongkha
Capital Thimphu
Form of government Hereditary monarchy
Government system Constitutional monarchy
Head of state King
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
Head of government Prime Minister
Lotay Tshering
area 38,394 km²
population 741,700 (2019 census)
Population density 19 inhabitants per km²
Population development   +1.09% (2016)
gross domestic product

- Total ( KKB )
- Total (nominal)
- GDP / inh. (KKB) - BIP / in. (Nominal)


US $ 6,509 million (160.) US $ 2,115 million (161.)
US $ 8,227 (118.) US $ 2,674 (130.)

Human Development Index   0.607 ( 132nd ) (2016)
currency Ngultrum (BTN)
Indian rupee (INR)
independence August 8, 1949 (from India )
National anthem Gyelpoi tenzhu
National holiday December 17th
Time zone UTC + 6
License Plate BHT
ISO 3166 BT , BTN, 064
Internet TLD .bt
Phone code +975
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The Kingdom of Bhutan ([ ˈbʰuːtaːn ], Dzongkha འབྲུག་ ཡུལ་ ; inscription after Wylie 'brug yul ; German mostly Druk Yul , spoken “Dru Ü”; “Land of the Thunder Dragon”) is a landlocked country in South Asia .


Bhutan is located in South Asia and borders in the south on the Indian states of Sikkim , West Bengal , Assam and Arunachal Pradesh (from west to east) and in the north on Tibet ( China ). The surface shape of Bhutan is shaped by the Himalayas . Over 80 percent of the country is over 2000 m above sea level. At 38,394 km², the country is roughly the size of Switzerland . More than two thirds of the Kingdom of Bhutan are forested.

The country is divided into three landscapes: In the south, on the Indian border, runs the Duar plain, a narrow lowland that is part of the foothills of the Ganges-Brahmaputra lowlands. To the north of it the land rises steeply. The 2000 to 3000 m high mountains of the Front Himalayas are the main settlement area. The high mountain region of Lunana lies on the border with Tibet. The highest mountain in the country is the 7570 m high Gangkhar Puensum , which is the world's highest mountain that has never been climbed by a human. The second highest mountain is the Kula Kangri .


The climate of Bhutan is very different in the individual parts of the country. While a subtropical to tropical climate predominates in the south , the valleys of central Bhutan have a moderate climate with cool winters and hot summers. In the mountains , winters are extremely severe and summers are cool. Floods occur frequently during the rainy season, especially in the southern areas of the country .

environmental Protection

In its constitution, Bhutan has established environmental protection. Even before they were legally protected, all economic ventures were subordinate to environmental protection. Bhutan has a unique natural wealth. Children’s environmental awareness is promoted in schools. Due to the relatively low population density and the rugged mountain landscape , compared to other countries in the region, only a small part of the area is used for agriculture . About two thirds of the country are forested. The forests are used in an ecologically sustainable manner, slash and burn is prohibited and is punished. As national parks and animal reserves, 26 percent of the land is protected. Bhutan has committed itself to permanently reducing CO 2-to stay neutral . In 2013 it even had a CO 2 -negative balance . Bhutan uses 6.5 percent of its hydropower potential, which is estimated at 24,000 megawatts. The export of green electricity from hydropower is an important source of income for Bhutan.


The largely untouched forests of Bhutan are home to a large number of protected and rare animal and plant species. For example, tigers have been spotted in Bhutan at an altitude of over 4,000 meters. The tiger population was estimated to be around 100 in 2015. Also, the leopard , the snow leopard , the clouded leopard and a bear -Art live as other carnivores in the region. The serau , the yellow-bellied musk deer , the blue sheep , deer species and monitor lizard species are the most important prey animals of thePredators . Some herds of the Asian elephant can also be found in the forests of Bhutan. Since each climatic zone has its own flora and fauna , in Bhutan you can find an enormous variety of species in the smallest of spaces , as the various altitude levels have different species spectra. There are tropical species in the valleys (e.g. elephant), species of the temperate zone (e.g. deer species, wolf ) in the middle altitudes and high mountain species (e.g. the snow leopard, wild sheep ) in the mountains up to altitudes of over 5000 meters. TheHerpetofauna ( amphibians and reptiles ) are just as diverse - Himalayan salamanders ( Tylotriton ) can be found as well as the king cobra , the hole otter ( Trimeresurus ) and monitor lizard species . The Himalayan zone is interesting for ornithologists due to a large number of pheasant species , crane species and vulture species . In the foothills of the Himalayas, the colorful day butterfly , known in English as the Bhutan Glory (Bhutan's shine), belongs to the knightly butterfliesBhutanitis lidderdalii .

Bhutan has designated large areas as national parks: In the Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary there are the tiger, the clouded leopard, the golden langur (a species of monkey), the gaur (the largest wild cattle on earth), the Asian elephant and species of hornbills . The Jigme Dorji National Park is home to the blue sheep, the snow leopard, the Takin , the serow, the red panda , the tiger and the Asiatic black bears . The Jigme-Singye-Wangchuck National Park is home to Serau, the little panda, tiger, collar bear, clouded leopard, golden langur, black-necked crane ,Satyrtragopan and hornbill species . The cross-border Royal Manas National Park is partly in India. There is still a stable population of the Indian rhinoceros in it . You can also find the tiger, the collar bear, the clouded leopard, the golden langur, the gaur, the Asian elephant and various types of hornbills. The Thrumshingla National Park is known for serow, red panda, tiger, Asiatic, capped langur , Satyr Tragopan and hornbill species. The Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuaryhouses the blue sheep, the snow leopard, the serau, the little panda, the tiger, the collar bear, the cap langur, the black-necked crane, the satyr tragopan and hornbill species. In addition to these, there is the widespread Indian leopard .


Population pyramid Bhutan 2016
Children in front of the royal palace of Thimphu

According to the United Nations, Bhutan has 0.8 million inhabitants. The population of Bhutan is made up of three groups: the Ngalongs who live in the western highlands and who immigrated from Tibet in the Middle Ages , a class to which the royal family also belongs, and the Sarchops , who live in the eastern mountains and are ethnically close to the hill tribes of north-east India , Both groups are connected by their affiliation to Buddhism , as well as the third group, the southern Bhutan people who predominate in the lowlands on the Indian border (Nepalese Bhutans or Lhotshampas). About three quarters of the population belong to the Tibetan ethnic group. Average life expectancy is around 67.88 years.

The Nepalis had settled in southern Bhutan since the end of the 19th century, initially with the consent of the government, which was dependent on additional workers. In 1958 the borders were closed. A citizenship law from the same year gave the ethnic Nepalis living in southern Bhutan the opportunity to acquire Bhutanese citizenship. Even after 1958, more Nepalis immigrated to southern Bhutan. The population influx, especially from densely populated Nepal, but also from India , could not be controlled.

A census in 1980 showed an increase in the Nepalese population to over 50 percent. In Bhutan's ruling class, this sparked fears that the traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture of the country would be foreign to the country and that the monarchy would be endangered by a democracy supported by the Nepalese population group .

In 1985 a new Citizenship Act was passed which made recognition as a Bhutanese citizen dependent on renewed proof of permanent residence before December 31, 1958. The 1985 law also made a retroactive, burdensome interference with citizenship from a substantive point of view. As a result, a large number of the Nepalese people were suddenly in need of evidence; they were in danger of being declared foreigners and illegal immigrants.

The government has been pursuing a policy of cultural assimilation since 1988 . This policy, also known as "Bhutanization", consisted of an increased emphasis on the state principle of tsa wa sum (unity of the three elements: king , government and kingdom or country ) and the imposition of a cultural obligation to assimilate the Ngalong traditions in the form of a commandment, the conventional one To follow the code of conduct of the ruling group, to wear the national clothing of the ethnic Bhutanese and to use the language of the Ngalongs as the only official language .

In the period that followed, there was considerable unrest in southern Bhutan, which the government countered with increased use of the army and police. A campaign of intimidation and displacement began in mid-1991, either with the assertion of missing or undetectable citizenship or with the compulsion of “voluntary” emigration declarations. A large number of the Nepalese ethnic group - around 100,000 in total - fled to Nepal , where they live in refugee camps .

The exiled Bhutanese of Nepalese ethnicity founded the Bhutan Peoples Party (BPP) in 1990 , which represents the interests of southern Bhutanese. At the height of the conflict in southern Bhutan from 1990 to 1992, members and sympathizers of the BPP were denied a so-called “NOC” (No Objection Certificate), which is required for access to schools, higher education and public service professions. In February 1992 this practice was given up again. Members and supporters of the BPP were arrested and also ill-treated. In a few hundred cases, government troops confiscated property from people classified as enemies of the state, burned their homes or ravaged them.

Population development

year population
1950 176,000
1960 223,000
1970 298,000
1980 409,000
1990 537,000
2000 573,000
2005 634.982
2017 727.145


35% of the population live in cities; over 60% of the population live from agriculture.

The largest cities are (as of May 30, 2017): Thimphu (114,551 inhabitants), Phuentsholing (27,658 inhabitants), Paro (11,448 inhabitants) and Gelephu (9,858 inhabitants).


Taktsang Monastery , also known as the "Tiger's Nest"

The state religion append, which is about 72% of the population, the form of the tantrische Mahayana - Buddhist distributed to the Drukpa Lineage and Nyingma . Bhutan is the only country that practices Mahayana Buddhism as the state religion. It is a form that is also close to the Tibetan ( Vajrayana ). In addition, has, especially by Indian and Nepalese immigrants also, Hinduism (27%) in Bhutan established. There are also minorities of Muslims (1%) and Christians in Bhutan (including the Roman Catholic Church in Bhutan).

The founding of the state of Bhutan in the 17th century by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel ( zhab-drung ngag-dbang rnam-rgyal 1616–1651), the abbot of a Drukpa-Kagyu monastery order in Tibet, is closely linked to Buddhism. The construction of the monastery castles ( dzongs ) in Bhutan served the military defense against the rival Gelugpa monastery order, which repeatedly tried to expand its political influence on Bhutan. Under King Jigme Dorje Wangchuck , the Drukpa monasteries lost their property, which the government distributed to landless farmers. Financial contributions from the state budget ensure the existence of the monasteries. In the National Assembly15 seats are also reserved for representatives of the clergy, who are appointed by a Buddhist body. The spiritual head of the Drukpa monastery order is the Je Khenpo ; he enjoys a high position in Bhutan's political system alongside the king. In addition to the Drukpa, the Nyingma tradition according to Pema Lingpa and the Drigung Kagyü school in Bhutan are also represented. The royal family of Bhutan is descended from Pema Lingpa.


There is no written record of the history of the original inhabitants of the country, the Thepu . It is documented that in the 8th century AD Indian missionaries brought Buddhism into the then Hindu feudal principality that came under Tibetan rule in the following century. The Indian-Hindu influences were forcibly removed and Buddhism in the form of Tibetan Lamaism was declared the state religion in the 12th century. At that time, many monasteries emerged that became the pillars of feudal society. From the mixture of Thepu and Tibetans the people who developed Bhotija .

Dzong (fortress) of Trongsa

Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel , who had to flee to Bhutan because his recognition as the rebirth of Pema Karpo ( pad-ma dkar-po ) was rejected by the Tsang Desi , managed to unite the previously independent principalities of the country during his reign from 1616 theocratic empire. The Tibetan-born religious dignitary is seen as the founder of the state and the founder of Bhutanese identity. With his cultural achievements - he divided all regions of the country into one kingdom administered in writing - he laid the foundation for today's Bhutanese society. The state was given the name Druk Yul , which is still valid today(Land of Dragons). After his death in 1651 the country fell into anarchy, but successfully defended itself against attacks by the allied Tibetan-Mongolian troops in 1710 and 1730. State authority was formally shared between a spiritual leader ( rgyal-tshab ; called Dharma Raja by British-Indian authors ) and a secular chief ( sde srid phyag-mdzod , called Deb Raja by British-Indian writers ), but in practice it lay in the hands of the priests ( lamas ). These were provided by the governors ( Pönlop) who collected taxes and duties from the farmers and exercised jurisdiction. There was repeated fighting between the feudal power groups, in which both the Dalai Lama and the Penchen Lama interfered from Tibet .

In 1772 the border conflict with the British East India Company began for almost a century . After the conquest of Assam in 1826, the British colonial power sought direct control of the border passes and in 1864 and 1865 (Treaty of Sinchula) occupied the district of Dewangiri and other areas of Bhutan. With British support, the governor Ugyen Wangchuk seized power in 1895 . In 1907 he was elected king in Punakha and introduced the hereditary maharajah dignity (Wangchuk dynasty). In the 1910 treaty, Britain formally recognized Bhutan's independence, but retained control of foreign policy.

On August 8, 1949, Bhutan signed a friendship treaty with India, according to which India takes care of Bhutan's foreign policy and provides economic aid (construction of roads and power stations). An Indian political resident was based in Gangtok ( Sikkim ). A conspiracy led by officers and officials was directed against the moderate reforms of King Jigme Dorje Wangchuck (reign 1952–1972) and his support for India (April 5, 1964 assassination of Prime Minister Jigme Dorji ; August 1, 1965 failed assassination attempt on the king) .

In November 1964 the king took over the entire state authority. The parliament ( Tsongdu ), created in 1953, received certain legislative rights in 1968, when Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy . The royal council and the council of ministers form the executive . Political parties remained banned until 2007. Under King Jigme Dorje Wangchuk, the privileges of the lamas were restricted and measures to dismantle feudal conditions were initiated (abolition of serfdom , preparation of a land reform to limit large estates to 120 hectares, start of state five-year plans, Development of education, granting citizenship to the Nepalese population). On September 21, 1971, Bhutan was recognized under international law (admission to the United Nations ) of the de facto already existing statehood.

After Jigme Dorje Wangchuk's death in 1972, Crown Prince Jigme Singye Wangchuck was proclaimed the new king, and his official coronation did not take place until June 2, 1974.

In 1981, Tibetan refugees who refused to accept Bhutanese citizenship were expelled.

Political opposition to a citizenship law introduced in 1985 was the reason for the unrest and the displacement of more than 100,000 Nepalese Bhutans ( Lhotshampas ) from southern Bhutan to Nepal in 1990 . In August 1998, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, against the will of Parliament, restricted his own power and submitted to the authority of Parliament.

For 2008 the king announced the introduction of a constitution with the aim of making Bhutan a democratic-constitutional monarchy. Since then, political parties should be allowed to form in the country and the country will be governed by elected representatives. The king himself had announced that he would resign when the constitution was introduced. Surprisingly, King Jigme Singye Wangchuk, who had ruled the country autocratically since independence, thanked his son Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck on December 14, 2006 at the age of 51from. Reasons for the change originally planned for 2008 were not known. In his first address, the 26-year-old King declared that he wanted to advance the country's democratic development. The new king's first trip abroad took him to India in February 2007, where a revised treaty of friendship was signed, making Bhutan fully sovereign in terms of foreign policy and armaments. On November 6, 2008, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk was crowned 5th Dragon King. In the future, all kings should hand over the crown to the heir to the throne on their 65th birthday.


Since the constitution was signed by the king on July 18, 2008, Bhutan is also formally a constitutional monarchy . The political system of Bhutan has for the first time been in line with Western ideas of democracy since the elections for the Upper House in 2007 and Lower House in 2008 . Bhutan in particular complies with the requirements of the Westminster system and explicitly follows the British parliamentary model. Therefore, there is also a two-chamber system in Bhutan, but the upper house is called the National Council and the lower house is called the National Assembly.

In the 2019 Democracy Index of the British magazine The Economist, Bhutan ranks 91st out of 167 countries and is therefore considered a “hybrid regime” of democratic and authoritarian elements. In the country report Freedom in the World 2017 by the US non-governmental organization Freedom House , the country's political system is rated as “partially free”.

After the Corruption Perception Index ( Corruption Perceptions Index ) of Transparency International was Bhutan in 2017 by 180 countries, together with Chile on the 26th place with 67 out of a maximum 100 points.

Legislature (parliament)

The history of the legislature begins with the National Assembly ( Tshogdu ) which was first created in 1953 on the initiative of King Jigme Dorje Wangchuck . It consisted of 150 members, who were not directly elected by the population, but 105 members were elected by village chiefs (the candidates are proposed by influential families in the villages), 35 were appointed by the king and 10 were sent by the Buddhist clergy . The deputies ( Chimis ) were elected for three years. The National Assembly largely fulfilled an acclamation function . There was no opposition .

In 1953 women were given limited voting rights at the national level: there was only one vote per household. Only new legal regulations ( Royal Decree of June 30, 2007, Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2008, Public Election Fund Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2008, a new constitution that was adopted by Parliament on July 21, 2008) guaranteed a guarantee Universal suffrage. At the local level, only one vote per family is allowed (as of 2007), which means that in practice women are often excluded from voting.

On December 24, 2008, a new National Assembly was elected, which assumed the role of the legislature and had a different composition than in previous years: It now consists of 47 elected representatives and is not subject to any control by another constitutional body and is hardly restricted by constitutional regulations . There are two parties in the National Assembly. They are determined in a single ballot among various parties and are the parties with the highest number of votes. The legislative period is 5 years and the members of parliament are elected by majority voting in constituencies.

The other chamber of parliament, the National Council or Gyelyong Tshogde , has 25 members, 5 of which are appointed by the king. However, the members of the National Council may not belong to any political party. The National Council only has a suspensive veto on legislation. However, he is involved in the legislative process. Committees and working groups are therefore present in both chambers to develop political concepts and legislative processes.

Previous results of the parliamentary elections in seats
DPT 'Bhutanese Party for Peace and Prosperity'

PDP 'People's Democratic Party'

March 24, 2008 45 2
May 31 and July 13, 2013 15th 32

Executive branch (government)

From 2003 to 2008, the Bhutanese government consisted of ten ministers elected by the National Assembly. The Prime Minister was appointed on a rotation among ministers. The government's term of office was five years.

After the elections in 2013, Tshering Tobgay (PDP) succeeded Jigme Thinley (DPT) as Prime Minister.

Head of state

The head of state is the King ( Druk Gyalpo ) Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck . He has been the incumbent since the abdication of his father Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 2006 and was crowned "Dragon King" in 2008 by his father.

The National Assembly can express mistrust in the king with a two-thirds majority and force him to resign (in favor of his heir to the throne).

Political parties

Political parties were banned in Bhutan until 2007. Opposition groups had formed in Nepal and India. The demands of the opposition in exile focus on equal rights for all ethnic groups, the introduction of a democratic multi-party system and a revision of the Citizenship Act of 1985.

In 2003, a new electoral law was passed giving all Bhutanese citizens aged 21 and over the right to vote. The draft constitution presented in March 2005 envisaged the admission of political parties, but the controversial citizenship law should not be changed. In 2007 elections were held for the first time for the Upper House, the National Council, and in March 2008 the Lower House, the National Assembly, was elected for the first time. The Bhutanese Party for Peace and Prosperity ( Druk Phuensum Tshogpa , DPT) received 45 of the 47 seats in parliament. With the election, the democratization continued by the new King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was completed and Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy.

Domestic politics

The domestic political reform process initiated by King Jigme Dorje Wangchuck (reign: 1952–1972) (convening a national assembly, abolition of serfdom , Bhutan's admission to the United Nations ) was a reaction to political events and changes in the regional environment of Bhutan. With the political independence of India (1947), the founding of the People's Republic of China (1949), the occupation of Tibet (1951), the flight of the Dalai Lama (1959) and the Indo-Chinese border war (1962) it became clear that the phase of the centuries of (self-chosen) isolation of Bhutan had to be ended.

The fall of the Prince of Sikkim (1973), political unrest / demands by Nepalis in the neighboring Indian state of West Bengal for the creation of an autonomous Gurkhaland (1988) as well as the collapse of the absolute monarchy in Nepal (1990/91) demanded further (domestic) ) political changes. The opening process promoted by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck (reign: 1972–2006) has led to the emergence of new social interest groups in recent decades. Their integration into the political system of Bhutan is the background for the draft constitution presented in March 2005 .

The king announced on December 17, 2005 that he would resign in 2008. His son, Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, will be enthroned as the country's fifth king in 2008. Surprisingly, however, the prince took over the official duties on December 14, 2006.

Bhutanese case law is based on Indian and British common law .

Until the national assembly lifted the ban in February 1999, television was banned in Bhutan, according to official statements, in order to prevent its own culture from being watered down.

Bhutan is so far the only country in which a gross national happiness is recorded. In 2008, the so-called Gross National Happiness (GNH) was determined by the state for the first time using a questionnaire . This is repeated at irregular intervals every few years. See also Gross National Happiness Survey in Bhutan

Since Bhutan is to become a nicotine-free country since December 17, 2004 , the trade in tobacco has been subject to heavy fines (equivalent to 175 euros ) and smoking has been banned in public places. The measure was justified with religious , health and economic reasons. Smoking tobacco is still allowed in private surroundings (in one's own house, in a hotel room), but there are only a few opportunities for the one percent of smokers in Bhutan to get tobacco legally. Tobacco products can be brought from abroad in small quantities for personal consumption, but there is a customs surcharge on themof 100 percent. With an average monthly income of around 9 euros, little use is made of this and, given the high fines, the new law is rarely violated.

Foreign policy

Its geographical location as a buffer state between the People's Republic of China in the north and India in the south place strict limits on Bhutan's scope for foreign policy.

Relations with India have not been without tensions in the past. The construction of strategic roads in the country in the 1960s came at the urging of India. There is close military cooperation (including deliveries of weapons, training aid). Economically, both countries are closely intertwined: the currencies of India and Bhutan are linked in a ratio of 1: 1. Bhutan's accession to international organizations ( UN , Non-Aligned Movement , IMF , World Bank , FAO) also took place against the background of the attempt to emancipate oneself from the influence of India in foreign policy. Relations with India improved in the course of the border dispute on the Doklam Plateau with China in 2017.

Relations with the People's Republic of China were relatively unencumbered despite the unregulated demarcation between the two countries. The border with China was closed by Bhutan in 1959. China, however, built roads on territory claimed by Bhutan, which has often led to small tensions. Development aid offered by China has so far been refused by Bhutan out of consideration for India. Bhutan and China have no formal diplomatic relations, but this does not prevent them from active diplomatic exchanges. Bhutan is the only member country of the United Nations that is neither part of the People's Republic nor the Republic of China (Taiwan)maintains diplomatic relations. Bhutan regularly supported the People's Republic of China in UN votes (including restoration of China's seat in the UN in 1971, China's admission to the Human Rights Committee). Tensions erupted in the summer of 2017 after China began building a road into Bhutan's area on the Doklam Plateau. Bhutan again asked India for help and Indian soldiers were dispatched. The Indian troops were ordered by China to leave Chinese territory even though Bhutan and India believed they were in Bhutan. China and India finally brought together around 3,000 soldiers who, since they were unarmed, fought loud clashes and nudges.

Relations with Nepal have been considerably strained since the expulsion and flight (1990) of more than 100,000 southern Bhutanese of Nepalese descent . The refugees living in south-east Nepal are supplied by UNHCR aid deliveries. Bilateral talks between Thimphu and Kathmandu about at least partial repatriation of the refugees have so far been unsuccessful.

The country is a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation  (SAARC).

The Kingdom of Bhutan maintains diplomatic relations with 52 countries. Diplomatic relations with the Federal Republic of Germany were established on November 25, 2020.

The cooperation with Austria and Switzerland deserves special mention among all European countries that provide development aid to Bhutan. Both countries represent an exemplary development cooperation, as they are predestined against the background of similar topographical conditions to develop optimal solutions for Bhutan's problems.

Austria’s ADC development cooperation is involved in the following sectors:

Switzerland's development cooperation , which is handled by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation , is concentrated in the following sectors:


After China invaded Tibet in 1950, the country decided to build its own armed forces. However, due to the low number of personnel, Bhutan is dependent on the military support of India .

Administrative structure

Bhutan is divided into 20 districts ( Dzongkhag ), whose grouping into four zones ( Dzongdey ) is no longer official. The majority of the districts have been named after their capitals. Some large dzongkhags are further subdivided into administrative units ( dungkhag ) similar to districts or districts . At the lowest level, the districts are divided into groups of villages, so-called Gewogs .

China Indien Haa (de-facto China?) Gasa (de-facto China?) Trashiyangtse (Distrikt) Trashigang (Distrikt) Samdrup Jongkhar (Distrikt) Pemagatshel (Distrikt) Mongar (Distrikt) Lhuntse (Distrikt) Bumthang Gasa (Distrikt) Punakha (Distrikt) Paro (Distrikt) Trongsa (Distrikt) Sarpang (Distrikt) Zhemgang (Distrikt) Tsirang (Distrikt) Samtse (Distrikt) Dagana (Distrikt) Chukha Haa (Distrikt) Thimphu (Distrikt) Wangdue PhodrangBhutan (-claims), administrative divisions - de - colored.svg
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District Capital Area in km² Population (2017) Inhabitants per km²
Thimphu Thimphu 1,792 138,736 77.4
Chukha Chukha 1,880 68,966 36.7
Velvet Velvet 1,256 62,590 49.8
Paro Paro 1,287 46,316 36.0
Sarpang Sarpang 1,655 46.004 27.8
Trashigang Trashigang 2,198 45,518 20.7
Wangdue Phodrang Wangdue 3,977 42,186 10.6
Mongar Mongar 1,940 37,150 19.2
Samdrup Jongkhar Samdrup Jongkhar 1,877 35,079 18.7
Punakha Punakha 1.110 28,740 25.9
Dagana Dagana 1,713 24,965 14.6
Pemagatshel Pemagatshel 1,022 23,632 23.1
Tsirang Damphu 638 22,376 35.1
Trongsa Trongsa 1,814 19,960 11.0
Thump Jakar 2,667 17,820 6.7
Zhemgang Zhemgang 2,416 17,763 7.4
Trashiyangtse Yangtze River 1,447 17,300 12.0
Lhuentse Lhuentse 2,851 14,437 5.1
Haa Haa 1,905 13,655 7.2
Gasa Gasa 2,951 3,952 1.3


Agriculture in Bhutan

All economic interests of the country are subordinated to environmental and nature protection , which is why the country has a naturalness that is nowadays, relative to the size of the country, almost incomparable in the world. So are z. B. still two thirds of Bhutan's forest. Even at school, the children are taught intensively how important environmental and nature protection is, and there is a lot of practical teaching , right outside in nature .

In contrast, unemployment is relatively high, especially among young people and young adults, in cities and the standard of living is relatively low.

Bhutan's economic base is narrow. Agriculture is not productive and is largely determined by the subsistence level . Rice surpluses are not produced, rather the government is forced to import rice to supply the population. With the expected population growth, Bhutan will probably face food supply problems in the future. In recent years, however, economic output has grown significantly and the standard of living has improved. Although the country's economic model is not growth-oriented, the gross domestic product grew in US dollars ( purchasing power parity) from 807 million in 1990 to 7,721 million in 2017. Thanks to this growth, Bhutan is now one of the middle-income countries. In 2017, economic growth was 6.8%, making the country one of the fastest growing economies.

In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Bhutan ranks 82nd out of 137 countries (as of 2017-2018). In 2017, the country was ranked 107th out of 180 countries in the Index for Economic Freedom .

Economic gradient

Bhutan shows a clear regional development gap. While the West benefits economically from hydropower projects and, with Thimphu as the center of political decisions, from the distribution of development aid, Central and Eastern Bhutan have lagged significantly behind economically.

Statistically speaking, Bhutan is one of the poorer countries in the world. Nevertheless, the average per capita income of its population is significantly higher than in neighboring India. In this context, the former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck coined the catchphrase of the “ gross national happiness ” of his people, which he formulated as an important goal of Bhutan's economic policy. Bhutan has to this end with the Commission on Gross National Happinesseven set up its own state commission. In this context, Bhutan has been planning and implementing five-year plans since 1961 to steer the country's development. The goals of these development plans so far were z. B. Development of transport infrastructure, expansion of hydropower, promotion of industry and agriculture, reduction of poverty. For the development plan 2008-2013 u. a. economic growth will reduce poverty from around 23% to 15%. In addition to various UN organizations, India has so far made regular financial contributions to the implementation of the development plans. Along with Ecuador, Bhutan is one of the few countries that has anchored in its constitution an orientation towards “gross national happiness” instead of economic growth . This is followed by representatives of growth criticismand the growth-critical movement as a development option for industrialized countries.

In 2007, 23.2% of the population lived below the poverty line, which is officially set at a monthly income of 1096 ngultrum (around 16 euros).

Natural resources

The mineral resources mentioned include: beryl , lead , dolomite , iron ore , gypsum , mica , graphite , lime , coal , copper , marble , pyrite , slate , tungsten , tuff , tin and zinc . The development is carried out by the Geological Survey of Bhutan and the Mining Division Bhutan as well as predominantly by Indian experts.


The focus of agricultural production is the south of Bhutan. The flight / displacement of more than 100,000 southern Bhutanese (1990–1991) led to a collapse in rice production there. The resettlement of Ngalongs from Western Bhutan aims to remedy this problem. Processing companies ( wood processing , canning ) are mainly concentrated in southern Bhutan. The government has set itself the goal of converting agriculture to 100% organic farming .


Many travel guides give false information that the country restricts the number of tourists who are allowed to enter. In some cases, figures of only 5000 tourists per year are given. The reality, however, is different: The trip to be planned in advance means that economic factors limit the number of tourists (for example free hotel beds or available flight tickets). The number of tourists increases every year. According to figures from the “Department for Tourism”, around 13,600 tourists visited the country in 2005, around 17,400 in 2006 when the first private hotel in Bhutan, the “Zhiwa Ling”, was opened, around 21,100 in 2007 and around 21,700 by October 2008. In 2010 the number of tourists rose to 40,873, including 12,410 travelers from neighboring countries. As of April 2017, around 150,000 people visit the country every year.

Travel in Bhutan is currently (April 2017) only possible with booked tours and accompanied by a licensed guide. In order to prevent mass or cheap tourism, a minimum price (“Minimum Daily Package”) of US $ 200 or US $ 250 per night (depending on the time of year) is stipulated for each arrangement according to the “High Value, Low Impact” concept. There is also an "entry fee" of $ 40.

State budget

The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditure of the equivalent of 703 million US dollars , which was offset by income of the equivalent of 640 million US dollars. Almost a quarter of the expenditure is covered by the Indian state.
The national debt in 2016 was 30.5% of GDP.

In 2006 the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:



The electricity generated by hydropower plants , which is mainly exported to India and Bangladesh , enjoys great importance as a source of foreign currency . The Chukha power plant, which went into operation in 1986 (output 336 MW ), contributes to a considerable extent (2005: 40 percent) to the financing of the state budget. Another completed project in the Chukha district is the Tala power plant (output 1,020 MW), about 10 km as the crow flies in a south-easterly direction, construction of which began in October 1997. The six generators, each with an output of 170 MW, were put into operation between July 2006 and March 2007. Both run-of-river power plantslie on the Raidak (also Wang Chhu or Wong Chhu in Bhutan), a right tributary of the Brahmaputra . According to the World Bank , Bhutan has a hydropower potential of 30 gigawatts, of which there are concrete projects for 16 gigawatts.


Road traffic

Bhutan has no highways and there are few roads that are designed for very little traffic. The entire road network in 2013 comprised around 10,578 km, of which 2,975 km were paved. Through the mountainous landscape there are hardly any straight stretches on many roads, so it takes a long time to get from the remote villages of the country to the capital (sometimes several days). The connections between the villages will be established as part of the Suspension Bridge Program (SBP) funded by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation by building wire rope suspension bridgesimproved. Between 1978 and 2008 a total of 452 suspension bridges were built based on the standard design used in Nepal and further developed for Bhutan.

Left-hand traffic applies throughout the country . Thimphu is often referred to as the only capital in the world without a single traffic light, which is also true of Ngerulmud . At the ends of the main road ( Norzin Lam ) through Thimphu there are two roundabouts where police officers regulate traffic during the day. Cycling is not permitted within Paro and Thimphu.

air traffic

The only international airport is Paro Airport (IATA airport code: PBH), which is located in the Paro Valley . It is served by the national airline Drukair . The private Bhutan Airlines connect Paro with Delhi , Calcutta and Gaya (India) as well as Kathmandu and Bangkok . Flights to Dhaka , Yangon and Singapore are planned for the future. The capital Thimphu has a helipad.

Rail transport

There are no railways in Bhutan, a connection to the Indian rail network is planned.


In the 2017 press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders , Bhutan was ranked 84th out of 180 countries.

Bhutan did not introduce television until 1999, making it the last country on earth to have this medium found its way into. In terms of content, television is mainly dedicated to the royal family and health issues. Cell phones have been allowed since 2004. A 10 kW shortwave transmitter of the Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) installed in 2007 is located at an altitude of around 2660 m in Sangayang and transmits on the frequency 6035 kHz in the 49 m band. BBS has a live stream audio service on the Internet .

In 2016, 36.9% of the population used the internet.


Mask dance of the "Lord of Death" in Paro

Buddhism as a religion shapes the culture of Bhutan like nothing else. The most important festivals Tsechu are religious festivals with their colorful temple dances. Traditional architecture as a particularly visible expression of Bhutan's culture is determined by religion: all building elements, proportions, colors, etc. have religious significance. You are responsible for ensuring that the good spirits have easy access to the buildings while the evil demons are kept away.

Education System

Until the major educational reform in the 1960s, the Buddhist temples were the main educational institutions. The first higher state educational institution was the Teacher Training Institute founded in 1968 for the training of teachers, now the Samtse College of Education . In the following years eight further institutes followed, which in 2003 were combined in the decentralized Royal University of Bhutan .

Bhutanese cuisine

Bhutan also has a lot to offer in culinary terms. The national dish is Ema Datshi (cheese chili, also Ema Datsi), a stew made primarily from mild green chili peppers and yak cheese. This is served with red rice, which was originally only grown in this region.

Traditional clothing

The national costume of women - Kira - as well as the traditional Gho of men are present in everyday life. The Gho is the official costume of officials.



The Bhutan Football Federation is a member of FIFA ; the national team can be found at the bottom of the FIFA world rankings . The film The Other Final takes a look at the culture and football of Bhutan based on the clash between the national teams of Bhutan and Montserrat parallel to the 2002 World Cup finals . The game between the two teams ended 4-0 for Bhutan.

In Bhutan there is a football stadium, the Changlimithang National Stadium, with 15,000 seats. The coach of the national soccer team, the Austrian Helmut L. Kronjäger , who has been in office since 2007 , was primarily concerned with building structures until his death in 2014.


Three archers archery in Trongsa . Two are holding composite bows and one is holding a bamboo bow. Two similar targets are installed at the end of the lane, which is 145 meters apart.

The national sport of Bhutan is archery . Usually the competitions are held between the selections of two villages. The destination is 145 m away. The target consists of a rectangular wooden plate, about 35 × 110 cm in size. The traditional technique of shooting is with bamboo bows. In the meantime, however, many, especially younger, shooters are switching to compound bows .

This is traditionally a male domain; nevertheless, two women, Tshering Chhoden 2004 and Sherab Zam 2012, represented Bhutan in archery with the Olympic bow at the Olympic Games .


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Web links

Portal: Bhutan  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of Bhutan
Commons : Bhutan  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikimedia Atlas: Bhutan  - geographical and historical maps
Wiktionary: Bhutan  - Explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikivoyage: Bhutan  - Travel Guide

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Coordinates: 27 °  N , 91 °  E