Photo: Wikimedia Commons
For the fourth consecutive year, Vienna was ranked as the number one city with the highest quality of life in the world, surpassing cities in Switzerland, Denmark, and the U.S.The title was bestowed by Mercer, a global consulting firm, and was based on a combination of traits such as stability, rising living standards, and advanced city infrastructures.
Vienna, known for its coffee, low crime levels, and historical architecture, beat out the over 450 other world cities surveyed, which left us wondering — what makes Vienna’s quality of life so high? We did some digging to learn the top facts about the historical Austrian capital, its attractions, and residents.
Vienna has a thriving music and nightlife culture beneath the subway between the Thaliastrasse and Nussdorferstrasse stations with famous clubs like Chelsea and the Rhiz bar.
Its residents have access to a ton of shopping options, including one of the best flea markets in Europe — the Flohmarkt — with plenty of gems hidden among the piles of goods.
There's also the fashion-forward 7th district of Neubau that includes the MuseumsQuartier Wien. Made up of museums, concert halls, and a theatre, it was constructed from the original Hapsburg stables.
Though Vienna has a ton of global food options, its best known for its traditional Viennese fare. The restaurant Steirereck in particular is a hotspot for its selection of Viennese cheeses.
Viennese cafes are legendary, claiming to have invented the process of filtering coffee in 1683. The traditional Viennese coffee is two shots of espresso mixed with whipped cream instead of milk.
Vienna residents are also surrounded by some of the world's most beautiful architecture, ranging from the Middle Ages to the Baroque period. The city was even designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Vienna is one of the last European cities to hold carnival balls, and hosts over 450 per year in its palaces that the Viennese people may attend.
The quality of the Austrian police force is said to be comparable in training, efficiency, and expertise to most U.S. cities. And it really shows — Austria has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe.
There are over 150,000 public university students in Vienna, and almost 3,000 students of private universities, making it the European-equivalent of a fun college town.
Austrians can vote when they are only 16 years old, and drink when they are 18 (or 16 depending on the alcohol content of the beverage).
Vienna has a high level of public utilities and transportation facilities, with almost 4,500 stations serving Vienna's daily commuters.
Austria is a stable democracy with extremely low potential for war or civil unrest. Though political demonstrations do occur (especially in Vienna), they are peaceful.
Vienna is a central European city and meeting point, hosting more international congresses than any other world city (a total of 181 in 2011). As a result, Viennese culture is extremely liberal and open-minded.
Vienna is known as the City of Music due to its music culture and the world-famous classical composers — including Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, and Brahms — who have all lived there.
The Viennese have access to the world's oldest zoo from 1752 in Schönbrunn Palace, with over 500 types of animals including giant pandas, Siberian tigers, orangutans, and elephants.
Vienna is the only world capital with its own vineyards within city limits. The traditional Austrian wine is served in designated taverns throughout the city (usually as a spritzer).
Vienna is known for its city planning, and was even awarded the prestigious 2010 Scroll of Honour from the United Nations for reducing its sub-standard housing to less than 9 per cent.
The Viennese can view the Emerald Unguentarium, the largest emerald in the world at 2,860 carets, in Vienna's Imperial Treasury.
Or they can eat and drink inside one of the 15 surviving gondolas on the world's oldest Ferris wheels, the Riesenrad, built in 1897.
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