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VIENNA

Vienna returns to top ranking as world’s ‘most liveable city’

The Austrian capital city of Vienna has made a comeback as the world's most liveable city.

Vienna returns to top ranking as world's 'most liveable city'
Austria is a great place to live, but getting a residence permit can be tricky. (Photo by Frank J on Pexels)

The Ukrainian capital Kyiv was not included this year after Russia invaded the country in late February, while Russian cities Moscow and St Petersburg fell in the rankings over “censorship” and the impact of Western sanctions.

Vienna snatched the top spot from Auckland, which tumbled down to 34th place due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions, according to the report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

vienna, pratter

Vienna is big touristic destination also during summer months (Photo by Anton on Unsplash)

“Vienna, which slipped to 12th place in our rankings in early 2021 as its museums and restaurants were closed, has since rebounded to first place, the position it held in 2018 and 2019,” it said.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

“Stability and good infrastructure are the city’s main charms for its inhabitants, supported by good healthcare and plenty of opportunities for culture and entertainment.”

Europe boasted six out of the top ten cities.

The Austrian capital was followed by the Danish capital Copenhagen and Switzerland’s Zurich. Fellow Swiss city Geneva came sixth, Germany’s Frankfurt seventh, and the Netherlands’ Amsterdam ninth. Canada also did well.

Calgary came in joint third position, followed by Vancouver in fifth place and Toronto in eighth.

Japan’s Osaka and Australia’s Melbourne shared the tenth place. France’s capital Paris came 19th, 23 places up from last year.

The Belgian capital Brussels was 24th, just behind Canada’s Montreal. The United Kingdom’s capital London was the world’s 33rd most liveable city, while Spain’s Barcelona and Madrid came 35th and 43rd respectively.

Italy’s Milan ranked number 49, the US city of New York 51, and China’s Beijing came 71st.

Lebanon’s capital Beirut, which was ravaged by a 2020 port explosion and is battling a crippling financial crisis, was not included in the ranking of business destinations.

A traditional Fiaker in the Viennese first district. (photo: Amanda Previdelli / The Local)

Neither was the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, after the Russian invasion on February 24 forced the the EIU to abort its survey of the city.

READ ALSO: Five of the best things to do in Vienna this summer

Russia’s capital Moscow saw its liveability ranking fall by 15 places, while St Petersburg slipped by 13 places.

“Increased censorship accompanies the ongoing conflict,” the report noted. “Russian cities are additionally seeing restrictions on culture and environment as a result of Western economic sanctions.”

Other cities in eastern Europe cities were considered less stable following “raised diplomatic tensions” due to the war in Ukraine.

The capital of war-torn Syria, Damascus, retained its place as least liveable city on the planet.

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ENERGY

Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

Christmas illuminations in Vienna will also be scaled back this year as part of the city's energy saving measures.

Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

Vienna, a city known for its Christmas markets and its New Year concert, is cutting back on public lighting in the face of soaring energy prices.

“There will be no Christmas illuminations this year on the Ring,” the famous boulevard that encircles the centre of the Austrian capital, city spokeswoman Roberta Kraft told AFP.

READ MORE: Five of the biggest challenges facing Austria right now

And the lights at the Christmas market in the square in front of the city hall would only be switched on at night and not at dusk, as in previous years, “which is to say about an hour later, on average, every day”, she said.

The city authorities said they had not calculated exactly how much they would save, but the move comes after energy prices have skyrocketed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its response to Western sanctions.

Last Friday, the Austrian Energy Agency announced that its electricity price index for September rose by more than 256 percent year-on-year.

READ ALSO: Inflation at 9.2% in July: How to beat rising prices in Austria

Austria, with its population of nine million, is very dependent on tourism and its end-of-year celebrations are a major motor of the economy.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down much international travel, more than four million people visited Vienna’s famous Christmas markets in 2019.

In 2021, around 30 of Vienna’s shopping streets were lit up for seven hours a day, from November 12 until early January.

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