Amsterdam retained its ranking as the 12th most pleasant city in the world in Mercerâ€™s quality of life survey, which rank 215 cities around the globe.
Among the capital cities of the European Unionâ€™s 15 member states, Amsterdam also maintained last yearâ€™s 4th position for overall quality of life.
In the environmental rankings, Amsterdam also ranked 4th among the EU capitals, after Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen, based on analysis of air-pollution levels and efficiency of waste disposal and sewage systems. Larger capitals such as Paris, Rome and London ranked lower because of public transport problems and severe traffic congestion.
Amsterdamâ€™s strong points are its compactness, international character, nightlife, the fiscal climate and the proximity of Schiphol Airport. Speaking to Het Parool newspaper, a spokesman from Mercerâ€™s Amsterdam office noted that though public transport is in fact not bad, foreign employees found that getting from A to B sometimes involved rather circuitous detours. On the roads, the worst thing was the abundance of road repair activity that adds to travel times, he added.
The annual ranking compiled by human resource consultants William M. Mercer is based on an evaluation of 39 quality of life criteria for each city, including political, social, economic and environmental factors; personal safety and health; education; transport, and other public services.
Mercerâ€™s overall quality of life survey revealed Zurich as the worldâ€™s city with the best quality of life. Last yearâ€™s top-scoring city, Vancouver, slipped to joint second place with Vienna.
(source: Amsterdam Promotion Foundation)