Brussels Sustainability, City Brand Strength and Reputation

Brussels is an amalgamation of historical charm, diplomatic fluidity, and multicultural innovation. As the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union, Brussels plays a pivotal role on the world stage, shaping global policies and fostering international cooperation.

Moreover, with a diverse economy driven by the finance and service sectors, Brussels’ strategic location, educated and international citizenry, and excellent infrastructure enhances its appeal as a hub for business. The city nevertheless captivates people from all walks of life by providing a dynamic and sophisticated urban environment, cementing its reputation as a first-class destination.

But how does Brussels compare to other cities in the world  in terms of reputation and influence, business attractiveness and sustainability?

Let’s explore:

  • Brussels’ competitiveness and economic performance
  • Brussels’ brand strength and global attractiveness
  • Livability: Brussels’ appeal for digital nomads and locals

Brussels’ Competitiveness and Financial Performance

The Global Financial Centres Index 35 ranks Brussels 60th, and gives the city a FinTech ranking of 71st.

Brussels is ranked 49th in 2thinknow’s Innovation Cities Index 2022-2023, sitting between Rome (48th) and Newark (50th). Brussels’ ranking has increased 77 positions since 2thinknow’s previous ranking.

Brussels’ City Brand Strength and Attractiveness

Which factors hurt and help the brand of Brussels?

Resonance‘s 2024 World’s Best Cities Report places Brussels 37th, between Doha (36th) and San Jose (38th). The report highlights the capital of Belgium’s significant investment in its public spaces and rail network, resulting in the city being ranked 1st for its Walkability and 14th in Connectivity.

Kearney’s 2023 Global Cities Report ranks Brussels 6th, between Beijing (5th) and Singapore (7th). Climbing five spots, Brussels makes a noteworthy entry into Kearney’s top 10. The report attributes this ascent to the city’s role as a central hub within the European Union. Brussels has experienced a boost in private sector interest, resulting in heightened business activity, an influx of conferences, and increased capital flow.

The comprehensive ranking of the Global Power City Index ranks Brussels 24th, between Toronto (23rd) and Chicago (25th). In function-specific rankings, Brussels performs well in Livability (11th), Cultural Interactions (21st), Accessibility (21st), and R&D (21st).

Brand Finance’s City Index 2023 positions Brussels 38th, between Montreal (39th) and Houston (37th).


Which aspects of Brussels’ urban living make it an attractive place to live and work?

The Mercer Quality of Living City Ranking places Brussels 36th, between San Francisco (37th) and tied with Brisbane and Helsinki (34th). The Mercer Cost of Living Ranking places the city at 41st, between Victoria (42nd) and N’Djamena (40th).

In the Best Urban Cities for Digital Nomads ranking by Spot a Home, Brussels ranks 36th, between Warsaw (37th) and Bratislava (35th). The city ranks highly in Average Rental Cost for a 1-Bedroom Apartment, Cost of Beer, and Migrant Acceptance.

The Arcadis Sustainability City Index 2022 ranks Brussels 38th, between Dallas (39th) and Dublin (37th). Brussels’ pillar rankings are the following: Planet 30th, People 21st, Profit 59th.

In 2024, the Times Higher Education ranking placed Vrije Universiteit Brussel in the 201-250 bracket. The QS World University ranking positions the Universite Libre de Bruxelles 189th, tied with Queensland University of Technology.

More city profiles here

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