Saturday, 29. November 2014
04. 12. 12. - 14:00
Austria's capital offers its residents the best quality of life of any city in the world and Baghdad the worst, according to the latest global survey from consultant group Mercer.
According to news agency Reuters, Vienna with 1.7 million residents came top of the survey for the fourth year in a row, boasting a vibrant cultural scene alongside comprehensive health care and moderate but rising housing costs. Its opulent architecture from the time of the Habsburg empire makes it a tourist magnet.
The reliable public transport system costs just 1 euro ($1.30) a day for an annual pass in a city governed by left-leaning Social Democrats and environmentalist Greens.
"The city is so international... I have been waiting for buses and heard over 10 languages being spoken at one stop," said American Dawn Gartlehner, 42, a law firm manager who has lived in Vienna for more than 15 years.
"The city caters to all kinds of people, all ages and all walks of life. You can have a wonderful day here spending all the money in your bank account but have an equally great time spending nothing at all."
Mercer conducts its annual survey to help companies and organizations set compensation for staff on international assignments. It uses 39 factors such as political stability, health care, education, crime, recreation and transport.
Anna Staribacher, a 24-year-old student, praised her home town's safe streets and abundance of parks and woodlands.
"Austria is a wealthy country, we have low unemployment and free university access. Living is affordable and prices are still moderate by international standards. But I wonder why people are still so grumpy all the time?"
Despite its sovereign debt crisis, Europe has 15 of the world's top 25 cities in the 2012 survey. Germany and Switzerland each have three in the top 10. The lowest-ranking city in western Europe was Athens, gripped by deep economic woes.
"Overall, European cities continue to have high quality of living as a result of a combination of increased stability, rising living standards and advanced city infrastructures," said Slagin Parakatil, senior researcher at Mercer.
"But economic turmoil, political tension and high unemployment in some European countries and high levels of unemployment have continued to be problematic in the region."
Canadian cities dominated rankings in the Americas region, with Vancouver at number five retaining the top spot and Honolulu at 28 the most pleasant U.S. urban centre.
New Zealand's Auckland at number three is still atop the Asia Pacific region's charts, while Dubai at 73 gets best marks in the Middle East and Africa.
But that region also has 15 cities in the bottom 20, including Lagos, Nigeria; Bamako, Mali; Khartoum, Sudan; and N'Djamena, Chad. Iraq's capital Baghdad was ranked lowest in the world.
"The ongoing turmoil in many countries across North Africa and the Middle East has led to serious security issues for locals and expatriates," Parakatil said. "Many countries continue to experience violence through political demonstrations that have sometimes developed into massive uprisings and led to serious instability within the region."
This is a far cry from Vienna, which has held the top spot in the Mercer rankings since 2009.
Yet the city is not without complaints.
Jennifer Stepper, an American designer who has lived in Vienna for 18 years, noted that visiting friends often comment about how unfriendly waiters and shopkeepers are. But it no longer bothers her
"Now I realize it is just the way of the Viennese. Like the rest of us, they have their quirks."
» Travel 2013-04-01
Looking out of the window you may think of anything other than summer, but it is rapidly approaching and that means one thing - Summer holidays!
» Panorama 2013-03-18
Glamour and glitz were out in force at the weekend as stars from Austria and further afield flocked over the red carpet into the Vienna City Hall for a night of awards, dance and partying!
» Panorama 2013-02-11
By far the sweetest event in the Vienna Ball season - the Bonbon Ball took place this weekend.
Panda Dies Of Horrific Injuries After Savage Attack
A three-year-old wild Giant Panda left badly wounded in the Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve in China after an attack by yellow-throated martens has died of its wounds.
Food Jewellery Craze In Japan
The designers call it modern art, and claim it is designed for the woman who wants a guarantee she will stand out at the next dinner party.
Darth Vader Taken Out By Street Sign
Darth Vader and a pair of Imperial Stormtroopers felt the force of a blow from a road sign after not paying attention while hitting the campaign trail.
How An Austrian Park Every Year Becomes A Lake
Spectacular images that show how a park becomes a lake each spring complete with underwater trees have been captured by two divers.
Mad About Mammoths At Vienna Museum
A unique exhibition in the Austrian capital Vienna has proved a massive hit after bringing together for the first time some of the most famous frozen woolly mammoth remains.
Controversy Over Advert For Fucking Hell Beer
An Austrian political party has defended a decision to promote a local beer named after the village of Fucking.
Luigi Restaurant Cooks Up Delicious Delights For Winter Season
Brothers Luigi and Leo Doci who own the renowned Luigi restaurant chain will be cooking up a storm in Semmering this winter.
Church Porn Star In Court
A Polish-born woman who made a video of herself masturbating in church is facing six months in jail after a viewer called police when he recognised the woman.
Hugh Grant Cuddles Lamb On Animal Farm With Mrs Glock
Hugh Grant led a star-studded turnout at Austria's animal farm project which unveiled its Christmas market this week.
Cheating Wife Buries Hubby Alive For New Lover
A woman who married her sisterís fiance and then attacked him with a knife before burying him alive so she could be with her new lover is facing life in jail.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Chicken Farmer Jailed For Hacking Off Lovers Head And Fingers|
|How An Austrian Park Every Year Becomes A Lake|
|Outrage Over Slapping Of Baby Panda|
|Stag Do Brit Had Taken Cocaine Admit Family|
|Orphanage Staff Say They Hit Kids So Hard It Tired Them Out|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.