The 19 happiest cities in Europe, according to the people who live there

In general it's actually smaller, less busy cities, where people are at their happiest

In January, the European Commission dropped its yearly Flash Eurobarometer of quality of life in European cities, a huge survey of how happy people in hundreds of cities across Europe are.

The survey asks people to rank their satisfaction with everything from the sports facilities available in their area to how good the public transport system is.

We took the European Commission's data and chose those cities where the highest percentage of citizens said they were “very satisfied with the life they lead” and ranked them. In other words, we found out where in Europe people are happiest with their lives.

You might think that Europe's biggest, most vibrant metropolises like Paris, Rome, and London are where people enjoy life most, but in general it's actually smaller, less busy cities, where people are at their happiest.

Check out the list below. 


19. Essen — 51 per cent very satisfied, 42 per cent satisfied. Citizens of the northwestern city, the ninth largest in Germany, are some of the most satisfied in Europe. Famous sites in the city include the botanical garden, and a huge outdoor pool, used during Germany's surprisingly hot summers.


18. Manchester — 52 per cent very satisfied, 40 per cent satisfied. A former industrial powerhouse, and the spiritual home of George Osborne's “Northern Powerhouse”. Manchester's citizens are the third most satisfied people in Britain.

manchester_istock.jpg


17. Amsterdam — 52 per cent very satisfied, 41 per cent satisfied. One of just a handful of capital cities on this list, Amsterdam is known for its beautiful canals, museums, and the fact that everyone rides a bike. Maybe that's why they're all so happy.


16. Stockholm — 52 per cent very satisfied, 43 per cent satisfied. Stockholmers take the award for the second happiest in Sweden, with only 3% of people saying they're dissatisfied with their lives.


15. Antwerp — 52 per cent very satisfied, 45 per cent satisfied. Antwerp is the biggest city in the Flanders region of Belgium, home to 500,000 people. More than 250,000 of those people said they were “very satisfied” with their lives, making it the happiest city in Belgium.

antwerp-afp.jpg
'Cordon' transports us to Antwerp, city of amber beer, medieval architecture and multicultural tensions

14. Groningen — 53 per cent very satisfied, 38 per cent satisfied. You'd be forgiven for never having heard of Groningen, a Dutch city home to just under 200,000 people, but people living in the city are pretty happy with their lot. Only one Dutch city scored higher.


13. Cardiff — 53 per cent very satisfied, 40 per cent satisfied. The Welsh capital has undergone a major regeneration in the past couple of decades, and that's paid dividends. 93% of all Cardiff's citizens are satisfied with their lives.


12. Rotterdam — 55 per cent very satisfied, 38 per cent satisfied. Rotterdam is probably best known as one of the world's largest and busiest ports, but all that shipping seems to make citizens really happy. In fact, nowhere in the Netherlands scored higher.

rotterdam.jpg
Port of call: Rotterdam and the Erasmusbrug

11. Belfast — 55 per cent very satisfied, 40 per cent satisfied. Another British capital city to make the list, only one British city got higher scores from its citizens than Belfast in Northern Ireland. A massive 95% of people said they were happy with their lot.


10. Newcastle upon Tyne — 56 per cent very satisfied, 37 per cent satisfied. Newcastle, in the north east of England, officially has the happiest people of anywhere in the UK. With scenery like the Quayside it's not a huge surprise.


9. Vienna — 56 per cent very satisfied, 39 per cent satisfied. One of the largest cities to make the cut, Vienesse citizens can take advantage of one of the world's most beautiful cities. Despite how amazing Vienna is, it isn't even the happiest city in Austria.

vienna-skyline.jpg


8. Munich — 57 per cent very satisfied, 38 per cent satisfied. Great beer, a beautiful lake, and a brilliant football team help make Munich one of the happiest places in Europe, and the single happiest city in Germany.


7. Malmo — 60 per cent very satisfied, 36 per cent satisfied. Sweden's third largest city is also its happiest, with a huge 96% of its 320,000 citizens are satisfied with their lives.


6. Oslo — 60 per cent very satisfied, 38 per cent satisfied. The capital city of Norway is the country's happiest city. It's no wonder Norwegians are satisfied, last year the country was voted the world's most prosperous by the Legatum Institute.

oslo-getty.jpg
Going cheap: fly to Oslo for £10

5. Graz — 64 per cent very satisfied, 33 per cent satisfied. Austria's most satisfied city is home to around 270,000 people, who get to take advantage of its famous modern art museum, and its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


4. Zurich — 64 per cent very satisfied, 34 per cent satisfied. Switzerland's financial centre frequently ranks amongst the best cities on earth to live in, and its citizens seem to know it. 98% of people living in Zurich say they're happy with their life.


3. Reykjavik — 66 per cent very satisfied, 31 per cent satisfied. People living in the capital of Iceland, and the only large city on the whole island, get to take advantage of beautiful scenery on all sides, and an incredibly safe, quiet city. This reflects in the city's bronze medal position on our list.

Reykjavik-Iceland-154438238.jpg
The capital of Iceland, Reykjavik

2. Copenhagen — 67 per cent very satisfied, 28 per cent satisfied. Denmark's capital is home to a seriously happy population, with just 5% of people saying they're not happy with the life they lead. Amazingly, it's not even the happiest city in Denmark.


1. Aalborg — 72 per cent very satisfied, 24 per cent satisfied. The industrial city in the north of Denmark isn't exactly world famous, but utilities like a symphony orchestra, a world class university, and a beautiful waterfront, make it not surprising that Aalborg's citizens are the most satisfied in Europe.

Read more:

business-insider.jpg

• Global markets are getting slammed
• This is what a $700 billion bond-market bubble looks like
• Credit Suisse's boss wants the bank to slash his bonus by up to 50%

Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2015. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.

Comments