Zürich City Performance, Brand Strength and Reputation

Zürich (or Zurich) is Switzerland’s most populous city and possibly also the most well-known Swiss city. Zürich is close to the eponymous lake and is situated in the (Swiss) German-speaking part of the country.

The city has the busiest and largest airport of Switzerland and has the busiest train station of the country: the Zürich Hauptbahnhof.

Zürich is considered a financial centre but comes with much more strengths (and weaknesses). How does this city do in terms of economic performance, livability, city brand strength and reputation? How attractive is it for international talent and digital nomads?

In our Zürich guide:

  • Zürich: how attractive for business and investors?
  • The city’s environmental performance
  • Zürich a good destination for digital nomads?
  • How good is life in Zürich?

Zürich’s economic performance

As already stated in the introduction, Zürich is considered an important financial centre. The Global Financial Cities Index 25 attributes an 8th position to the city. Zürich has benefited greatly from the Brexit and made a leap of 8 spots ahead since the 23rd edition was released (9th in the 24th edition). While London still comes first, Zürich is the second strongest European city in the index, represented in the top 15 of 4 (out of 5) areas of competitiveness.

The Global Power City Index ranks Zürich 6th in terms of economy, again only a few spots behind London. Similarly, the Ipsos Top Cities 2017 index ranks it 6th in terms of business. This index benchmarks cities in terms of living, working in and visiting.

Environmental performance of Zürich

Perhaps lesser known is the city’s (great) performance in terms of environmental stewardship. The aforementioned Global Power City Index ranks the city second when it comes to environment. Zürich is especially praised for its commitment to climate actions, water quality and measurements to lower CO2 emissions.

Also the Green Cities Index ranks Zürich highly; attributing a 6th position, out of 30 European cities.

Finally, the planet section in the Sustainable Cities Index considers Zürich 3rd best, especially due to its great performance in waste management and regarding water & sanitation.

Zürich a good destination for digital nomads?

Despite its great environmental performance, interestingly the city is only ranked 30th (out of 56 cities) when it comes to green space and parks (Digital Nomad Index).

Possibly one of the most substantial factors in deciding whether or not to live in Zürich are the high costs to live in the city. This is testified by the aforementioned index, which puts Zürich in the bottom 15 when it comes to the average rental cost of a one-bedroom apartment and the average cost of a beer.

Nomad List also emphasizes the high cost of living in the city.

How good is life in Zürich?

Despite the high cost, Zürich is considered a very livable city. The Ipsos Index ranks it first when it comes to living. In addition, the city is attributed another top 10 position in the living part of the City RepTrak Index.

Finally, the Mercer Quality of Living list ranks Zürich 2nd, closely following Vienna.

According to the Safe Cities Index, Zürich is the 6th safest European city. The city is especially praised for its medical quality, which is also stressed by the Sustainable Cities Index.

Prepared by TPBO research associate Sam Jongeneelen in October 2019.

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