Why Vienna is gaining popularity among expatriates

When looking at the best countries to emigrate to, Austria isn’t usually the first to spring to mind. However, in Mercer’s 2016 Quality of Living Rankings, Vienna has retained its position at the top of the table as having the highest overall quality of living for expats – as it has done so in the last seven published rankings. It also makes the top five for personal safety in the same survey, an important area of concern for expatriates moving abroad, particularly with family.
The capital and largest city of Austria, Vienna is the cultural, economic and political hub of the country. The German-speaking city is also one of the biggest in the European Union and it is a major centre for the United Nations. But what is it that makes it so attractive to expats?
The aforementioned Mercer survey takes a number of different criteria into account to make up its rankings, such as political, social, economic and environmental factors, as well as day-to-day issues like public transport. Vienna scores highly across the board.
Quality of life
Vienna is well known for its exceptional quality of life, with everything from healthcare to schools, and transport to recreational activities meeting high standards. A large percentage of the city is set aside for parks or conservation areas, which looks attractive as well as encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
Living costs are reasonable too. It is certainly not the cheapest city in Europe, but those moving from UK cities, particularly London, will find it comparable, if not a little cheaper. Most people in Vienna rent, and there are plenty of enviable locations to choose from around the attractive city centre and the outer regions.
There is a fairly large international community, so there are groups and clubs that expats can join to start making local friends and contacts. A basic grasp of German is certainly an advantage, but many Austrians will speak English as a second language too. Vienna is a real hive of different cultures, which shows in its variety of restaurants, shops and districts.
Getting around is easy with an excellent public transport system that is reliable, modern and clean. The network consists of a mixture of trams, trains and buses, which serves all of the main areas of the city. It’s also bike-friendly and cycling is a popular way to get around. The Citybike service is a public rental service with terminals located at hotspots in the city, and the first hour of rental is free.
Family friendly
For those moving with family, particularly young children, it’s reassuring to know that Vienna is very family friendly. It has numerous parks and large open spaces to spend time outside, as well as a whole host of attractions to visit, including zoos, museums and amusement parks.
There is a well-regarded and varied educational program on offer. International schools teaching the British curriculum are available for all ages, as well as bilingual English/German schools.
Healthcare is a primary concern when moving with family, and luckily Vienna is known for an exceptional and generous system. Everyone living and working in Austria pays a health insurance contribution and receives a good level of care throughout the country.
Taking all of this into consideration, it’s not hard to see why Vienna is becoming such an attractive prospect for expatriates.
Information correct at time of publication