Who has to move for his work from San Francisco to Amsterdam, is quite lucky. But who is sent from Vienna to Amsterdam by the boss, will have to be compensated. Why that is? The answer is that the quality of life in Amsterdam is higher than in San Francisco, but less high than in Vienna. You can read this in the list of the annual ranking of most liveable cities in the world, which was published thursday by Mercer. Amsterdam is in the top, like last year, on the 11th place. Vienna is number one on the list again and San Francisco stands on place 27 as the most livable city in the United States. Mercer consulting firm asks for the rankings every year thousands of expats in over four hundred world cities how they experience life in the city where they live and work. Multinationals use the list to determine the extent to which level they have to compensate the workers who are housed in a foreign country. Depending on employee’s quality of life they will get more or less compensation.
The quality of life especially in Amsterdam does well in international rankings. Our capital is according to expats a very liveable place. But why is that? Scientist John Baker, a researcher at the social and Cultural Planning Office, points out that quality of life depends of many different factors. ‘ ‘ Health, safety, culture, nature, work, housing and mobility are all themes that contribute to a sense of quality of life. ” And, very importantly, that feeling doesn’t have to be consistent with reality. ‘ ‘ People can feel unsafe while the crime figures show a very different picture, or vice versa. Quality of life is about experience, how people experience the quality of life. ” Hetty van der Pennen, Advisor at the New Twist, a platform for research on living environment and quality of life, can attest to that. ‘ ‘ Livability is especially a feeling. For example, Almere is very much built for quality of life, yet many people experience the city not like that. “
The advantage of Amsterdam lies according to van der Pennen also in the history that the city breathes. ‘ ‘ Old buildings give atmosphere and have a soul. People find that pleasant. ” That is also what might be an explanation for the fact that European cities traditionally do well in the world rankings. In the top-ten are seven European historical cities. Boelhouwer has another explanation. ‘ ‘ Prosperity, social security, the rule of law, democracy and the absence of corruption are also important criteria that measure quality of life. In that light, it is therefore not entirely illogical that European cities are doing well. War and instability are disastrous for the quality of life. That is why Baghdad dangles at the bottom of the list.
Is it right according to the experts that Amsterdam has a high score internationaly in the field of quality of life? Because it is such a subjective term, you almost have to assume that the list is true, “according to van der Pennen. ” It is the view of the respondents. And quality of life is to a large extent an opinion. If people experience Amsterdam very livable, then why argue with that. “
‘ Amsterdam is welcoming and cosy and has many amenities. I can imagine that people see it as livable. ” Boelhouwer: ” In general people experience a city as pleasant to what you can do. If there are many places to go out and culture, but also a lot of jobs and good mobility, than is it feels good. And plenty of public green is important. ”
Van der Pennen: “Hospitality also often plays a role in the feeling of livability of a city. Do you feel welcome? We Dutch know that for example in the hospitality industry in Amsterdam that the waiters not always are friendly, but outsiders experience that different. They appreciate the small scale of the city and the fact that there is still a lot to do and there is always activity. ” That the quality of life in Amsterdam can be experienced by outsiders otherwise than by the inhabitants is according to Boelhouwer clearly visible. ” The town is getting crowded, especially with tourists. For locals, it is becoming less and less attractive to be there. The low point was last year when the police had to close the Kalverstraat one day because it was too full. The attraction also has a downside. There is a tipping point. “
The city of Amsterdam also does research on how its inhabitants experience the quality of life in the city. Since 2010, the quality of life in the capital each year, according to the inhabitants of Amsterdam increase a bit. Residents of the Burgwallen-New side (Centrum district) experienced the least livability. This is mainly due to the high pollution. The quality of life is best reviewed in the south district (Oud Zuid).
That it is good to be in Amsterdam, according to the researchers of Mercer, lies especially in the high level of knowledge in the health care, the low crime rate and easy access to the city. On the respectable eleventh spot can be doctored, if still some more policy makers listen to the criticisms of the expats. ” A major problem for international entrepreneurs are often the high cost of housing, “said Ellen van Abbott of Mercer. ‘ ‘ The soft drugs policy in Amsterdam is not for all companies and expatriates preferred. It is sometimes seen as too liberal. “