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How Amsterdam Ranks: Quality of Life, Cost of Living, Culture…

On this page we keep track of all manner of Amsterdam rankings — in local and international surveys, and on a wide variety of topics. Quality of life, cost of living, crime rate, public transport, livability, and so on.

Bookmark this page, as it will be updated frequently.

Popularity Worldwide

Updated July 11, 2017

Amsterdam has entered the top ten of the world’s most popular cities as defined by IPSOS, a global marketing and research firm.

The company interviewed almost 19.000 adults across 26 countries. Participants were asked, “Based on what you have seen yourself, or heard about from others, which three
cities in the world do you think are the best to 1) Live in? 2) Visit? and 3) Do business in?

There were sixty cities to choose from. The sum of the three scores for each city was calculated (% live in plus % visit plus % do business) to arrive at the IPSOS Cities Index.

Amsterdam is the only newcomer to the list, moving up to tenth place from 14th in the previous version of the Index.

Cities Index Score 2017 2013
New York 50 1 1
Abu Dhabi 46 2 4
London 41 3 2
Paris 39 4 3
Sydney 36 5 (shared) 5
Zurich 36 5 (shared) 6
Tokyo 36 5 (shared) 7
Rome 34 8 9
Los Angeles 28 9 10
Amsterdam 27 10 14

Dynamic City

Updated June 27, 2017

Amsterdam ranks in fourth place on a list of the most dynamic cities in Europe. Compiled by Savills Investment Management, the list ranks Europe’s top 40 cities by six categories: Investment, Innovation, Inspiration, Inclusion, Interconnection and Infrastructure.1

Amsterdam makes the top 10 for interconnection, inspiration, innovation, and investment.

London leads the list, followed by Paris and Cambridge. Berlin is in fifth place.

Savills notes that in 2016 Amsterdam had the fourth highest number of start-ups among European cities.


Updated June 26, 2017

Amsterdam is the second most LGBT-friendly city in the world, says Nestpick2, a Germany-based online platform for furnished rental homes and rooms in the mid-range. Madrid takes first place, while Toronto, Tel Aviv, and London round out the Top 5. These cities are followed by Berlin, Brighton (UK), Barcelona, New York City, and San Francisco, along with 90 other cities in the company’s Top 100 Best LGBT Cities 2017.

The list is compiled by polling the LGBT communities in 80 countries on three factors: the strength of their city’s gay dating scene, the quality of its LGBT nightlife, and the openness of their fellow citizens. Nestpick adds a fourth category of safety, determined by public statistics provided by police departments.

Finally, a fifth category considers the LGBT rights of citizens in each of the 40 countries included in the ranking.

By the way: the hugely popular Gay Pride Canal Parade will take place Saturday, August 5, 2017

Amsterdam gay pride boat parade

Crowds gather on and along the river Amstel in anticipation of Amsterdam’s Gay Pride Canal Parade

Cost of Living

Updated June 21, 2017

Amsterdam has become less expensive for expats, according to the 2017 edition of Mercer‘s annual Cost of Living Survey. The city ranks 85th in the world, down significantly from its position of 64 last year. In Europe Amsterdam remains at 12th place.

Mercer’s survey includes over 400 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

Many European cities fell in the rankings — which is a good thing — due to the strength of the dollar verses the euro. That means it costs less for companies to send their staff to Europe.

On the Cost of Living Index published by Expatistan, a website that tracks over 200 cities worldwide, Amsterdam ranks 42nd.3. Zurich, Switzerland is ranked at the most expensive city. Some other cities in Europe: London (11), Paris (25th), Brussels (90th), Rome (107) Berlin (109), and Barcelona (118).

Numbeo ranks Amsterdam 46th out of 507 cities in the world.4

Popularity within the Netherlands

As in its previous three editions, the 2017 edition of the biannual Cities and Regions survey published by brand consultancy firm Hendrik Beerda5 identifies Amsterdam as the most popular city in the Netherlands.

The survey notes that the city of Rotterdam has strongly gained in popularity, jumping from sixth place to second.

The growing popularity of Rotterdam is mainly due to the continuous renewal of the city — with a flow of striking, innovative construction projects.

Amsterdam is renowned for its canals, wide variety and selection of cultural offerings, attractive restaurants, and its many shops.

The top ten most popular cities, including their rankings in 2015, 2013, and 2011:

  1. (1,1,1) Amsterdam
  2. (4,4,6) Rotterdam
  3. (3,3,3) Utrecht
  4. (2,2,2) Maastricht
  5. (5,5,4) Den Haag
  6. (7,7,7) Groningen
  7. (8,9,10) Nijmegen
  8. (6,6,5) ‘s-Hertogenbosch
  9. (14,14,-) Delft6
  10. (12,15,12) Haarlem
Public Transport

Updated May 26, 2017

Worldwide, Amsterdam ranks 6th in the list of cities where public transportation costs the most, says the World Economic Forum.7 Reported in dollars, the monthly cost of using public transport in Amsterdam is $108.60, vs $174 in London (1st place), $102.70 in Toronto, Canada (10th), or $86.10 in San Francisco (16th).8


Updated May 19, 2017

Amsterdam remains the least safe city in the Netherlands, according to the 2017 edition of the annual Crime Index9 published by Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

The city held on to its position in the index even though the most common type of crimes — car theft, street robberies, and burglaries — fell by an average of 8 percent. Home burglaries fell by 15,4 percent, and there was a decrease of 14,4 percent in reported pick-pocketing crimes.

Incidentally: that ‘Scam City‘ broadcast about Amsterdam was, well, a scam.

police on horseback

Man argues with Amsterdam police officer over a traffic ticket. The horse seems more interested than the cop.

Quality of Life

These indexes can differ greatly as various firms use different criteria and statistics.

Updated May 4, 2017

The Deutsche Bank, in its report “Mapping the World’s Prices 2017,”10 ranks Amsterdam in 9th place in the Quality of Life index.

  1. Wellington, New Zealand
  2. Edinburgh, UK
  3. Vienna, Austria
  4. Melbourne, Australia
  5. Zurich, Switzerland
  6. Copenhagen, Denmark
  7. Ottawa, Canada
  8. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  9. Boston, USA
  10. Sydney, Australia

In its Quality of Living Index 2017, Mercer lists Amsterdam in 12th place. The rest of the list:

  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. Basel, Switzerland (shared place)
  11. Sydney, Australia (shared place)
  12. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  13. Berlin, Germany
  14. Bern, Switzerland
  15. Wellington, New Zealand

Basel is a newcomer in the list. It shares 10th place with Sydney Australia, which means Amsterdam drops one rank to number twelve verses number eleven in last year’s list.


Updated May 4, 2017

As part of its Quality of Living Index, in 2017 Mercer also ranked cities based on their infrastructure — the availability of electricity, drinking water, telephone and e-mail services, public transport, the amount of traffic jams and the supply of international flights.

Amsterdam scored well on all points, except for the degree of traffic jams. Mercer notes that “[b]y addressing this problem, Amsterdam will become more attractive to foreign organizations.”


Updated April 3, 2017

Amsterdam is the most cultural city in the world according to credit broker TotallyMoney11.

The company used TripAdvisor to determine the number of theaters (in Amsterdam: 96), museums (81), art galleries (54), World Heritage sites (2), concert halls (8), and Michelin-starred restaurants (43) in the 30 cities worldwide that received most international overnight visitors.


  1. Savills IM Dynamic Cities
  2. Best LGBT Cities 2017, Nestpick
  3. footnote
  4. Numbeo’s rankings are based on user-contributed data.
  5. Steden & Streken Merkenonderzoek, Hendrik Beerda, in cooperation with the University of Utrecht
  6. In 2011, Delft was not listed because in that year the 25 largest municipalities were measured (now the 50 largest)
  7. World Economic Forum, These are the cities where commuting costs the most, May 26, 2017. Figures used are based on Mapping the World’s Prices 2017, a report by Deutsche Bank (May 3, 2017) and Expatistan — a site that tracks the cost of living in over 200 countries.
  8. Prices do not take into account discounts.
  9. Dutch: Misdaadmeter
  10. Report published May 3, 2017
  11. The World’s Most Cultural Cities, TotallyMoney. The report uses visitor numbers from 2013 through 2015.
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This post was last updated: Jul. 11, 2017