Amsterdam ranks 11th in global city livability index

For the second year in a row, Amsterdam has been placed 11th in the Mercer’s Quality of Living city rankings.

The 2015 list ranked 230 cities and was headed by Vienna, Zurich, Auckland, Munich and Vancouver, in that order. These top five have been index frontrunners for the past three years, leading a line-up that is consistently dominated by Western European, North American and Australasian cities.

Since 2010 Amsterdam’s performance on the list has improved slightly: after graduating from 13th to 12th place between 2010 and 2012, it has been holding a respectable position just outside the top 10 since 2014.

The Mercer Quality of Living index

Mercer is an international consulting firm that advises businesses on issues relating to human capital and working conditions.

Its Quality of Living index is targeted primarily at international companies, which use cost- and quality-of-living information to calculate the compensation they must grant employees working abroad.

However, it it is also an informative guide for the general public - particularly individuals seeking to relocate internationally - and municipal policy-makers working to improve regional living standards.

The list ranks cities using criteria from 10 categories, including their political, economic, social and natural environments, opportunities for health care, education and recreation, and the availability of consumer goods and infrastructure.

These categories are not treated equally during the ranking process; rather, each issue receives a relative weight depending on its importance for expats.

Amsterdam’s triumphs and challenges

Amsterdam’s high standing in the index is due largely to its successful healthcare network, sophisticated transportation infrastructure and low crime rate.

But according to Ellen van Arenthals, Mercer Mobility Consultant for the Benelux region, the city has some work to do if it’s going to crack the top 10 in coming years.

In particular, a lack of affordable housing and long wait times for specialist medical care deter many international companies.

Others are put off by Amsterdam’s "too liberal" reputation, which can be partly attributed to a high incidence of soft drug use.

The 2015 Top 10

1. Vienna, Austria
2. Zurich, Switzerland
3. Auckland, New Zealand
4. Munich, Germany
5. Vancouver, Canada
6. Dusseldorf, Germany
7. Frankfurt, Germany
8. Geneva, Switzerland
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Sydney, Australia



Emily McCallum


Emily McCallum

Emily grew up in a small coastal town in western Canada and moved to Utrecht in 2014, after completing her studies in Vancouver and Germany. So far, she has been...

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