Amsterdam ranked as one of world’s 50 most expensive cities

Amsterdam ranked as one of world’s 50 most expensive cities

After a good five years outside of the top 50, Amsterdam has once again climbed the rankings, claiming the 44th spot in Mercer’s Cost of Living Ranking 2021.

Mercer’s Cost of Living Ranking 2021

In the 27th edition of Mercer’s edition of the report, 206 cities across five continents were ranked according to the results of the bi-annual Mercer Cost of Living Survey, examining the prices of over 200 items and services across 10 categories: 

  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Utilities
  • Food
  • Domestic supplies
  • Home services
  • Personal care
  • Clothing and footwear
  • Recreation and entertainment
  • Alcohol and tobacco

New York City is used as the basis for all comparisons, with currencies around the world measured against the US dollar.

This year, Ashgabat in Turkmenistan and Hong Kong once again occupied the top two spots, although the two cities did swap rankings, with Ashgabat now coming in first place. Third place was a shock entry, with Beirut rising a whopping 42 places to nab a spot in the top three:

Amsterdam the 44th most expensive city in the world

Amsterdam had been doing really well, and despite the Netherlands’ reputation for being a pricey place to live, for the last five years Amsterdam had managed to stay outside of the top 50. In 2020, it even dropped down to 64th place, but this success was apparently short-lived. 

This year, Amsterdam comes in 44th place. Ellen van Arenthals, Senior Consultant Global Mobility at Mercer Nederland, says the notable change in ranking is mostly due to the Euro - US dollar conversion rate: “Between March 2020 and March 2021, the Euro gained 10.79% against the dollar.”

Interestingly, Amsterdam wasn’t the only European city to rise through the ranks; Stockholm saw its ranking soar (from 133 to 72), as did Paris, Milan, Vienna, Dublin, Munich, Brussels, Frankfurt, Oslo, and Helsinki. Each of these cities rose by at least 18 places.

The most expensive cities in the world

According to the 2021 ranking, these are the top 10 most expensive cities in the world:

  1. Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
  2. Hong Kong, Hong Kong (SAR)
  3. Beirut, Lebanon
  4. Tokyo, Japan
  5. Zurich, Switzerland
  6. Shanghai, China
  7. Singapore, Singapore
  8. Geneva, Switzerland
  9. Beijing, China
  10. Bern, Switzerland

The world’s most affordable cities

Bishkek claimed the bottom spot in Mercer’s ranking, and unsurprisingly no western European cities managed to nab a spot in the bottom 10:

  1. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  2. Lusaka, Zambia
  3. Tblisi, Georgia
  4. Tunis, Tunisia
  5. Brasilia, Brazil
  6. Windhoek, Namibia
  7. Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  8. Gaborone, Botswana
  9. Karachi, Pakistan
  10. Banjul, Gambia

For more information about the ranking, click here.

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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