Amsterdam ranked 13th best city for quality of life

Amsterdam ranked 13th best city for quality of life

According to the latest Quality of Life Survey carried out by the magazine Monocle, Amsterdam is the 13th best city in the world for quality of life, beating the likes of Sydney, Singapore and Oslo. 

Monocle Quality of Life Survey

Published annually by global affairs and lifestyle magazine, radio station and media brand Monocle, the Quality of Life Survey assess which cities around the world have the most to offer existing and prospective residents. The 16th edition of the survey is no different, and includes dozens of cities from across the globe analysed and ranked according to their performance in a variety of areas, including: 

Much change can be observed over the past 16 editions of Monocle’s survey. As the magazine explains, back in 2007, three cities seemed to be the clear winners: London, New York and Hong Kong. Now, however, there are no US cities featured in the top 20, and neither London nor Hong Kong makes an appearance.

Vienna is the overall winner for the first time, rising from 7th place in 2022 to claim the top spot in this year’s ranking. Other European cities also have cause for celebration, with Copenhagen and Munich rounding out the top three, and Zurich claiming fourth place.

Amsterdam has much to offer - to those who can afford it

While Amsterdam didn’t manage to nab a spot in the top 10, the Dutch capital has seen its position improve slightly, from 14th place in 2022 to a respectable 13th place in this year’s Quality of Life Survey. The magazine hails the city as a “pioneer in sustainable living”. 

The city’s wealth of bicycles and electric vehicle charging stations combined with various schemes by the municipality to improve air quality and establish a circular economy puts Amsterdam “at the top of the list of dynamic cities where residents are proud to be foraging a better future.” 

In spite of this, however, Monocle notes much room for improvement. Not only does the magazine argue that less focus should be placed on roads and more on “mak[ing] the most of" the canals, Amsterdam’s housing crisis is a key point for concern. 

“Soaring rents are prising young creatives out of the city,” Monocle writes, before going on to criticise the municipality for blaming “wealthy expats” for the issues in the housing market. “Instead of looking for scapegoats, the municipality needs to prioritise investment and innovation.”

On the whole, these factors lead Monocle to conclude that Amsterdam is a great place to live, offering “a rich restaurant scene, access to beautifully maintained green spaces and a cultural scene that reflects the great diversity of the city” - but only to those who can afford it.

Top 20 cities in the world for quality of life

According to Monocle, the 20 cities in the world offering residents the highest quality of life are: 

  1. Vienna
  2. Copenhagen
  3. Munich 
  4. Zurich
  5. Stockholm
  6. Tokyo
  7. Helsinki
  8. Madrid 
  9. Lisbon
  10. Melbourne
  11. Berlin
  12. Paris
  13. Amsterdam
  14. Sydney
  15. Singapore
  16. Kyoto
  17. Athens
  18. Milan
  19. Oslo
  20. Seoul

For more information about the study, pick up a copy of Monocle's July / August 2023 edition.

Thumb image credit: Sergii Figurnyi /

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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