Copenhagen gets top ten spot in quality of life ranking for international professionals

Danish capital Copenhagen has been ranked the eighth best city in an analysis which focuses on conditions for employees sent to work abroad.

Copenhagen gets top ten spot in quality of life ranking for international professionals
Photo: veloliza/Depositphotos

The survey-based ranking of global cities, the Mercer Quality of Living City Ranking, was published on Wednesday.

Research into the practicalities of daily life for international employees and their families forms the basis of the annual quality of living ranking, which is conducted annually for multinational companies and other organisations which place employees on international assignments, Mercer writes on its website.

Living conditions are analysed according to 39 factors, grouped into 10 categories: political and social environment, economic environment, socio-cultural environment, medical and health considerations, schools and education public services and transportation, recreation, consumer goods, housing, and natural environment.

The data was analysed between September and November 2018.

European cities maintained a generally high position in the list, with Vienna, Zurich and Munich in the top three places globally. As many as 13 of the world’s top 20 spots were taken by European cities.

Vancouver in Canada and Auckland in New Zealand were the only non-European cities to rank higher than Copenhagen, while German cities Düsseldorf and Frankfurt also edged out the Danish capital.

Two Swiss cities, Geneva and Basel, complete the top ten. Norwegian capital Oslo was ranked 25th and Swedish capital Stockholm joint 23rd.

Copenhagen is the only Danish city included in the 231-city ranking.

Browse thousands of English-language jobs in Denmark

“Strong, on-the-ground capabilities…are in large part driven by the personal and professional wellbeing of the individuals that companies place in those locations,” Mercer senior partner Ilya Bonic said in a press release.

“Companies looking to expand overseas have a host of considerations when identifying where best to locate staff and new offices,” Bonic continued.

Mercer, a subsidiary of professional services firm Marsh & McLennan Companies, produces worldwide quality of living rankings annually from its Worldwide Quality of Living Survey.

READ ALSO: Denmark's internationals have 'world's best' work-life balance: survey


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Why Copenhagen is ‘Europe’s healthiest capital city’

According to a new analysis, Copenhagen tops out as Europe’s healthiest capital city.

Why Copenhagen is 'Europe's healthiest capital city'
File photo: Niels Ahlmann Olesen/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark may have fallen short of the top spot in the last few World Happiness Reports, but the Scandinavian country can now cheer up in the knowledge that Copenhagen may be Europe’s healthiest capital city.

A new analysis, based on a range of data and variables, has found Denmark’s largest city to be just that.

The ranking was compiled by pharmacy website, which collated data on a number of variables related closely to the health of those who reside in Europe’s capital cities.

The variables considered included monthly fees for a gym membership in the cities; life expectancy; air quality; water quality; proportion of GDP allocated to healthcare; the cost of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables; CO2 emissions; the prevalence of walking or cycling to work and the quality of green spaces.

Data was collected from sources including NumbeoHPI ThinkTankWorld Population ReviewWorld Bank Group and Index Mundi and 46 of Europe’s capital cities were ranked. The data can be viewed here.

Copenhagen was found to be Europe’s healthiest capital city overall, a ranking that owed much to the city’s CO2 emissions (second-lowest) and drinking water (third-highest quality).


Only Amsterdam has more people who walk or cycle to work, according to the analysis, while Montenegrin capital Podgorica was the only city with lower CO2 emissions than Copenhagen.

Denmark’s capital fared well against its Nordic neighbours, being comfortably cheaper than both Oslo and Stockholm for gym membership, although all three cities are similarly pricey for fruit and veg.

Norway’s capital Oslo was ranked 19th overall, with Stockholm the 6th-healthiest city.

“Not only are these variables representative of our physical wellbeing, but they also relate to our psychological health. The quality of green spaces is a prime example of this. People need decent green spaces in their cities because they’re oxygen rich, of benefit to the respiratory system and can be prime locations to exercise freely,” Daniel Atkinson, GP clinical lead with, said in a press release.

“But another important facet in relation to this study surrounds the ‘accessibility’ of things which are of physical benefit to us. This can include variables like the cost of a gym membership and the cost of healthy food,” Atkinson added.

Other variables can also make up for a relatively high cost of healthy living, a factor relevant to Copenhagen, the GP noted.

“Perhaps interestingly, a lot of capital cities where these variables are expensive still rank considerably highly overall. Take Copenhagen, for example, where it’s generally very expensive to buy healthy food. It still manages to place first. There is an argument to be made about how VAT and taxes on organic produce are redistributed,” he said.

Cycling and walking and associated low CO2 emissions are closely related to the high placing of Copenhagen in the ranking system.

“CO2 emissions are also important, perhaps more particularly in capital cities where there is usually more congestion. The higher the rate of carbon dioxide, the more harmful it becomes. Specifically, over-exposure to carbon dioxide will make us feel restless, drowsy, tired, increase the heart rate and our blood pressure, make us sweat and inflict headaches,” Atkinson said.

Walking and cycling in place of driving will help to reduce CO2, but exercise is also of benefit to our personal health – both physical and psychological – so the percentages of people walking or cycling to work has been included as its own variable in our study,” he added.

READ ALSO: Free fruit turns Danish kids away from unhealthy snacks