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Amsterdam leads the way for Benelux cities in new global City Index

18 May 2023
This article is more than 1 year old.
  • With a score of 84.6/100, London tops the inaugural Brand Finance City Index, based on a global survey of 15,000
  • New York and Paris are close behind in 2nd and 3rd among 100 cities in the ranking
  • Amsterdam is the Benelux region’s top ranked city, firmly amongst global top 10
  • Luxembourg (26th), Brussels (38th), and Rotterdam (44th) all feature in the study

View the full Brand Finance City Index 2023 here

London/Amsterdam, 18th of May 2023 Ranking 1st across the Benelux region as well as 10th globally, Amsterdam makes the top 10 of the world's best city brands, according to the inaugural Brand Finance City Index released today. Presented by brand evaluation consultancy Brand Finance, the ranking is based on a global survey of close to 15,000 members of the public conducted in April 2023 in 20 countries on all continents to measure perceptions of the world’s top 100 cities. The Index has placed London as the best city brand in the world, followed by New York and Paris.

With a Brand Finance City Index score of 75.7/100, Amsterdam scored strongly for key metric consideration (4th), however, weaker familiarity (17th) across some of the markets included in the research is undermining its overall rank in the Brand Finance City Index. Despite this, Amsterdam is clearly a very appealing city, ranking second for its people & values, and sustainability, and scoring highly for attributes such as Great shopping, restaurant, and nightlife (8th); Appealing lifestyle (3rd); Friendly (3rd);and Fun (5th). The city's vibrant and inclusive atmosphere has created a welcoming environment, making it an attractive destination for those seeking an environmentally conscious lifestyle.

To arrive at a comprehensive assessment of the city brands in the ranking, alongside measuring familiarity, respondents were asked about the general reputation and their personal consideration of each city as a place to live, work locally, work remotely, study, retire, visit, or invest in. The evaluation of preferences across these seven dimensions was complemented by perceptions of 45 underlying city brand attributes, grouped under seven pillars, such as Business & Investment or Sustainability & Transport.

Luxembourg, ranking 26th, is the 2nd best city brand in the region. Luxembourg performs well in Governance (7th) and Business & Investment (13th), ranking ahead of Amsterdam on both, and claiming top spots globally on a number of attributes, including 1st in low bureaucracy, 2nd in attractive personal taxation, and 5th inattractive corporate taxation.

Belgium’s Brussels (38th) as well as the Netherlands’ Rotterdam (44th) are also included in the study, and firmly amongst the top 50 city brands globally. Brussels was ranked 16th as a city of global significance and 14th for governance, owing to its position as the administrative centre of the European Union. Rotterdam was hindered by weaker levels of familiarity, ranking 68th out of 100. However, it outperformed Amsterdam for business and trade (Rotterdam 27th, Amsterdam 37th), as well as performing well for governance (10th), and sustainability (10th).

Konrad Jagodzinski, Place Branding Director, Brand Finance, commented:

“The Benelux region accounted for four cities included in the global City Index, with Amsterdam coming out on top, and sitting amongst the top ten cities globally. Amsterdam’s appeal lies in its vibrant atmosphere, inclusive values, and commitment to sustainability. However, increasing familiarity will be crucial for not only Amsterdam, but also Luxembourg, Brussels, and Rotterdam in enhancing their perceptions as leading city brands on the global stage.”

London crowned as the world’s best city brand

With a score of 84.6 out of 100, driven by its high familiarity among respondents worldwide, London has recorded stronger brand perceptions than any other city in the study. Familiarity is understood as knowledge about the city gained through repeated exposure or direct experience, and it allows to form a deeper affinity for its brand.

David Haigh, Chairman & CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“London’s exceptional performance in the Index can be attributed to its global familiarity. Coming first on this particular measure, London has a huge advantage over its peers, leading to its success in the ranking overall as the world’s best city. Knowing a city allows the public to form positive perceptions about it – to recognise its reputation and to consider it as the preferred place to live, work, study, retire, visit, or invest. High familiarity means a deeper understanding of its qualities and a broader reach of its appeal, allowing the city to draw significant economic benefits from inbound migration, investment, and tourism.”

Crowned as the overall winner, London ranks 1st in two of the seven key dimensions – study and visit – as well as in the top 4 in all other ones.

Renowned as a hub for academic excellence, London is ranked as the best city globally to study. The British capital hosts top universities – such as University College London, King’s College London, Imperial College London, and the London School of Economics, while prestigious schools in and near London that prepare for university – like Eton and Harrow –attract students from around the world. It is no surprise that the city comes 1st globally for great universities and great private schools.

Thanks to iconic landmarks like the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London, and renowned cultural institutions like the British Museum, National Gallery, and the West End theatre district, London is a prime tourist destination. London’s top global ranking as the best city to visit, is supported by its 3rd place for great museums and art galleries and great theatres and music venues. The appeal of London can also be attributed to its strong identity and character, where London ranks 3rd globally.

Everyone wants a bite of the Big Apple, coming 2nd behind only London

New York City has secured 2nd spot, behind London, with a Brand Finance City Index score of 83.0 out of 100. NYC also ranks 3rd globally in familiarity and boasts 2nd spot in three out of the seven key dimensions: invest, study, and visit.

Widely regarded as the global capital of finance, NYC ranks 2nd behind only Zurich as the best city to invest in. It comes 1st for the city of global significance, easy to do business in, and strong and stable economy attributes, which explains its appeal to investors.

Home to several of the world's most esteemed universities - including Columbia, NYU, and the City University of New York – the Big Apple has also been recognised as the 2nd best city in the world to study in behind only London. It is 2nd for the great universities and leader in science and technology attributes, comes 4th for great private schools, but falls much behind London on great publicly funded schools, ranking 41st overall. In general, NYC is perceived as the least affordable city in the ranking, coming 100th.

Ranking 1st for great shopping, restaurants and nightlife and 2nd for great theatres and music venues, home to Fifth Avenue shops and Broadway theatres, NYC lives up to its name as the ‘city that never sleeps’. As a result, NYC ranks as the 2nd best city in the world to visit.

Paris is in vogue, ranked 3rd in the world

Paris rounds off the podium, coming 3rd in the ranking with a Brand Finance City Index score of 79.7 out of 100. Paris is also ranked as the world’s 2nd most familiar city.

Complementing its strong familiarity score, the ‘City of Love’ is also ranked as the 3rd best city in the world to visit. Boasting an abundance of renowned attractions, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Moulin Rouge, Paris unsurprisingly scores better than any other city in the Culture & Heritage pillar, ranking 1st globally for beautiful architecture, great museums and galleries, and great theatres and music venues. The French capital also performs strongly in People & Values, ranking 2nd globally for being open and welcoming, fun, andhaving a strong identity and character, but falling behind on being friendly where it ranks 25th – perhaps in line with stereotypes.

Zurich leads rankings as the best city in the world to work locally, work remotely, invest, and retire, but low familiarity undermines its reach

Zurich is a highly desirable destination to work locally, work remotely, invest, and retire, claiming the top spot for each dimension. The city scores exceptionally well on reputation (4th)and consideration (1st)when considering all seven dimensions combined too, but a low score on familiarity (53rd) prevents it from taking a higher spot in the overall Brand Finance City Index ranking (17th).

David Haigh, Chairman & CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Zurich is a great example of a city brand successful in converting familiarity and perceptions into reputation and ultimately consideration. More so than for other cities, those that get to know Zurich, feel persuaded by its appeal as a destination, especially for work, investment, and retirement. Much like Swiss watch brands, Zurich is a “luxury city brand” – with a lower familiarity among the public, but a high regard among those that know it well. The trade-off of this positioning is a more modest reach than that of more popular city brands, such as London, New York, or Paris.”

View the full Brand Finance City Index 2023 here


Media Contacts

Cristina Campos
Communications Director - Southern Europe & Latin America
Brand Finance
Florina Cormack-Loyd
Communications Director - North America
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance for more than 25 years, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organizations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes over 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance also operates the Global Brand Equity Monitor, conducting original market research annually on over 5,000 brands, surveying more than 150,000 respondents across 38 countries and 31 industry sectors. Combining perceptual data from the Global Brand Equity Monitor with data from its valuation database enables Brand Finance to arm brand leaders with the data and analytics they need to enhance brand and business value.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardization of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671 and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.

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