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What Contributes to the High Quality of Life in Vienna?

Vienna can once again enjoy being the city with the highest quality of living in the world. At least according to Mercer’s Quality of Live Survey 2014 which has taken a closer look and compared the quality of life for expatriates in 223 different cities around the globe. The Austrian capital has thus managed to stay in the lead for the sixth year in a row in this annual survey, keeping ahead of close competitors and top five regulars Zurich, Auckland, Munich and Vancouver. However, it is not only in Mercer’s expat-focused survey that Vienna does well: In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability Report 2013, Vienna (97.4 points) can be found as a very close second after Melbourne (97.5) and it also ranks fifth in Monocle’s Quality of Life Survey 2013. So, what exactly is it that makes life in Austria's capital Vienna so enjoyable? In the following, we’ll take a look at various factors that contribute to Vienna’s success.

Security and Health

Austria enjoys a generally low crime rate and the quality of the police services is comparable to that of most US cities in regard to efficiency, training, and expertise. The stable political situation further helps to make Vienna a safe city to live in and a favorite destination not only for tourists. The country’s public healthcare system is comprehensive and covers treatments by doctors, dentists and public hospitals. Healthcare in Austria is in general of a very high standard with well-trained staff, and Vienna in particular can boast several dozen hospitals that specialize in various different fields of medicine. 

Natural environment

With more than 2,000 green spaces, such as the 280 imperial parks and gardens, making up more than 50% of the city, Vienna is considered one of the greenest cities in the world. These green spaces do not only have a positive impact on environmental conditions, but also offer those living in Vienna plenty of opportunity to enjoy nature in its various forms. Plus, these spaces also include urban vineyards, the produce of which can be enjoyed in one of the many local wine taverns.  Vienna is, in fact, considered to be the only world capital with vineyards in its city limits. 

Hundertwasser architecture in Vienna


While Vienna also suffers from busy and often congested streets, as so many big cities do, its public transport network provides those living in Vienna with an easy alternative to driving a car. The 5 subway lines, 29 tram lines and around 145 bus routes make sure that nearly every part of Vienna is easily accessed. In addition, a broad range of available tickets, from single fares to yearly passes, makes sure that everyone can find the deal that suits them best. Alternatively, the city center is very pedestrian friendly and easily traversed on foot, while more than 1,200km of bicycle lanes and paths make for safe biking.

Culture and Recreation

Vienna can, not only due to its long history, boast a thriving and varied culture. With hundreds of museums, some of which can be found in the ‘Museums Quartier’, as well as theaters, opera houses and concert halls, Vienna can offer something for everybody. Vienna was home to many famous musicians and composers, including Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which is one of the reasons for the city sometimes being referred to as the City of Music. However, one does not need to be a fan of classical music to enjoy life in Vienna. Next to a thriving nightlife and music scene, the city also offers plenty of recreation and sporting opportunities. 

Food and Drink

Among other things, Vienna is also famous for its ‘Kaffeehäuser”, places where you can relax and linger while enjoying your coffee. The city’s unique coffee house culture dates back as far as the 17th century and has even been listed as an ‘intangible cultural heritage’ by UNESCO in 2011. In addition to these, Vienna is further famous for the aforementioned local wine which, when still fresh, is called ‘Heuriger’ and sold in numerous small (and not so small) pubs dotted around the city. When it comes to food, Vienna’s location and history has led to a varied local cuisine with dishes ranging from the traditional ‘Wiener Schnitzel’ to the famous ‘Sachertorte’. This local cuisine can be sampled in one of the city’s many restaurants or – in case of the ‘Sachertorte’ – in the café of the famous ‘Hotel Sacher’. While many of the local dishes are quite hearty, the Viennese cuisine also includes numerous soups as well as many different forms of flour-based meals such as ‘Palatschinken’ (i.e. pancakes) and ‘Apfelstrudel’.

Of course, these are only some of the charms this Austrian city has to offer. A stable local economy, great education opportunities (including various international schools), stunning buildings from the Middle Ages to the more modern Hundertwasser architecture, as well as the friendly and laidback atmosphere all contribute to the high quality of life in Vienna. And this is not only reflected in the various, aforementioned global rankings, but also in the high percentage of locals (97%) who are glad or even very glad to live in this city. So if you are about to move to the Austrian capital, why don’t you join Vienna's Expat Community on InterNations in order to find first friends and get settled quickly.

Many thanks to internations.org for sharing this article with us!

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