Bern named the best city in the world for European expats by ECA International

Bern named the best city in the world for European expats by ECA International

The latest ranking by ECA International has rated three Swiss cities among the 10 most liveable in the world for European expats, with Bern taking first place for the third year in a row. Cities in the alpine nation were given high praise for their clean air and quality services and facilities.

Location Ratings Report 2024

To create the index, ECA International analysed 500 locations around the world, to see which offers the highest quality of life to European expats and internationals. Using a range of data sets, the company rated each location by its healthcare services, housing and utilities, expat community, leisure facilities, infrastructure (roads and public transport), personal safety and air quality. 

The company said that it hoped the ranking would inform Europeans about which locations are the easiest and best to move to worldwide - even though all of the top 10 for 2024 are in Europe.

Bern the top destination for expats from Europe

For 2024, Bern retained its crown as the best city in the world for expats from Europe, the third time in a row that the de facto capital of Switzerland has won the ECA accolade. A mixture of Swiss, Scandinavian and Dutch cities rounded out the top 10 - Geneva was in joint third and Basel took joint eighth.

Writing in the report, ECA International senior location ratings analyst Neil Ashman noted that “with top facilities, minimal air pollution and low crime rates, Bern is a very attractive city for expatriates and their families.” The federal city was joined on the podium by Eindhoven in second and Stavanger and Geneva in joint third.

Housing shortages the main issue facing the best cities for expats

ECA International noted that the ongoing shortage of housing across many of the top expat destinations led to falling scores in the ranking. Luxembourg, Düsseldorf and Dublin have all fallen in the ranking or left the top 10 entirely in recent years due to housing crises. 

This is perhaps a warning sign for cities in the alpine nation, with a recent report from the Federal Statistical Office revealing that Switzerland will be short of 50.000 homes by 2030. The situation has become so critical that the government has been forced to produce an action plan to try and solve the housing shortage.

However, these shifts pale in comparison to cities in the lower echelons, with the ECA noting that, perhaps unsurprisingly, “major crises” such as war, violent uprisings and protests are having had major impacts on some cities, many of which were improving their scores until the uprisings began. These include Moscow (146th in 2018 to 189th today), Kyiv (137th in 2010 to 218th today), Hong Kong (105th in 2019 to 110th today) and Yangon (203rd in 2018 to 222nd today).

10 best cities in the world for European internationals

In all, here are the 10 best cities for European internationals in 2024:

  • 1. Bern, Switzerland
  • 2. Eindhoven, the Netherlands
  • =3. Stavanger, Norway
  • =3. Geneva, Switzerland 
  • =5. Copenhagen, Denmark
  • =5. Rotterdam, the Netherlands 
  • =5. The Hague, the Netherlands
  • =8. Gothenburg, Sweden 
  • =8. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • =10. Dublin, Ireland
  • =10. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

For more information, check out the official press release.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

Read more



Leave a comment