Europe’s top 10 best places to live
The Swiss city of Zurich has come top of a list of the best places to live in Europe, with no British cities making the list that was compiled by Forbes.com. Forbes.com said the list was based on an annual survey of worldwide quality of living by Mercer Consulting.
1. Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich’s tiny population — 376,815 at the end of 2007 — is spoiled with over 2,000 bars and restaurants and a breathtaking view of the Alps and Lake Zurich. Taxes are among the lowest in Switzerland, and residents pay no inheritance tax though its gloomy weather and traffic bring it down.
2. Vienna, Austria (Tie)
The entire city centre of Austria’s political, cultural and economic capital has been designated a U.N. World Heritage site. It has excellent education and infrastructure.
3. Geneva, Switzerland (Tie)
Over 50 percent of Geneva’s population has a foreign passport, according to the region’s statistics office — not surprising given the heavy presence of U.N. agencies and
organizations such as the Red Cross. As a result, the city is geared to be global, with private banking facilities, private hospitals and international schools.
4. Dusseldorf, Germany
Dusseldorf has built up its infrastructure and international transport connections. The city, on the banks of the Rhine, has a plethora of consumer goods and is considered the fashion and shopping capital of Germany. Dusseldorf has a thriving economy, with some of Germany’s largest companies.
5. Munich, Germany (Tie)
With a population of 1.3 million, Munich is the largest city in Europe’s top 10. Best known for its annual beer festival, the city also enjoys a thriving economy, driven by the information technology, biotechnology and publishing sectors. However, the city has a dearth of international schools and its air is polluted.
6. Frankfurt, Germany (Tie)
The financial capital of Germany has some spectacular architecture, including the opera house and cathedral, and a vibrant cultural scene. The city has excellent hospitals, shops and a thriving economy. The poor availability of housing in the city center and heavy traffic, however, drag Frankfurt down.
7. Bern, Switzerland
Bern, in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, is the world’s second-safest city, according to Mercer, with 6 kms (4 miles) of shopping arcades. The city may not have a buzzing nightlife, but it does have excellent medical facilities.
8. Copenhagen, Denmark
Living in Copenhagen is pricey but the city boasts 11Michelin-star restaurants and, according to Mercer, is among the best-served cities in terms of international schools and private medical facilities. However the city’s love of bikes means that congestion drags it down the overall rankings.
9. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam‘s red light district and liberal policy on drug use don’t do much for its family-friendly reputation. What does? The city’s canals, parks and museums, and the best selection of international schools in Europe. Its ranking is dragged down by a lack of city centre housing and air pollution.
10. Brussels, Belgium
The administrative center of the European Union is among the best connected cities in Europe and has a large number of schools serving the expatriate community. It does, however, have a large amount of traffic congestion in the city and air pollution.