Sweden beats Denmark to ‘most livable’ capital

Stockholm and Copenhagen have fallen out of the top five most livable places on the planet in elite magazine Monocle's rankings. But for the first time the Swedish capital has trumped its Nordic rival.

Sweden beats Denmark to 'most livable' capital
Is Stockholm's hip reputation flying away? Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
While Stockholm slipped from fourth to sixth place compared with last year, rival Nordic capital Copenhagen lost its crown as the world's best city to live in and nosedived from first to tenth place.
Monocle's annual Quality of Life survey ranks cities around the globe according to factors including climate, architecture, crime rate, environmental issues, food and drink, business and design.
While some of the data is scientific, other measures are more subjective and the magazine's editor in chief Tyler Brûlé suggested on Thursday that the list was less Scandinavian than ever due to a change in the metrics in 2015 which included how much influence the state has over everyday life in different countries.
“We’ve given extra marks to cities that limit their nannying and we’ve tried to give value to places where there’s something else we know is vital: freedom, grit, independence, a joy with life,” he was quoted as saying by the website Skift.
“We’re frustrated with city councils that are too quick to say no, places where parents never let their children run free and capitals that seem opposed to the odd late night out.”

Stockholm's green space kept it in the top ten. Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Stockholm was however highly praised for its access to nature both within the city and in the capital's huge archipelago.
“Nothing turns a day around like a lunchtime swim, and at the weekend a car-free island is just an hour away,” Monocle said in its video report on the rankings.
“Living here is enjoyable even when the days are short, thanks to top restaurants and a vibrant arts, music and design scene,” it added.
While Denmark's capital – which topped the list last year – was praised for its public transport, restaurants, culture and business, recent tensions in the country pushed it into tenth place.
Monocle noted the deadly shootings at a freedom of speech event and a synagogue in February and a decline in contentment ratings in the expensive city. The UN's latest World Happiness Report pushed Denmark from first to third place.
Perhaps the magazine has been keeping an eye on The Local Sweden, where we confidently argued that Stockholm is much hipper than Copenhagen earlier this year.

Police investigating the Copenhagen shootings in February 2015. Photo: TT
Oslo was the only Nordic capital to rise in the rankings, edging up slightly from 24th to 23rd place.
Tokyo topped the global rankings while Vienna was the highest rated European city, scoring well for the cheapness of its public transport and restaurants and for offering its citizens 160 international flight routes and 39 public libraries.
Meanwhile Italians were reeling after being left out of the rankings altogether, although according to our team at The Local Italy, there are at least five cities that deserved a spot.


Stockholm Pride is a little different this year: here’s what you need to know 

This week marks the beginning of Pride festivities in the Swedish capital. The tickets sold out immediately, for the partly in-person, partly digital events. 

Pride parade 2019
There won't be a Pride parade like the one in 2019 on the streets of Stockholm this year. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

You might have noticed rainbow flags popping up on major buildings in Stockholm, and on buses and trams. Sweden has more Pride festivals per capita than any other country and is the largest Pride celebration in the Nordic region, but the Stockholm event is by far the biggest.  

The Pride Parade, which usually attracts around 50,000 participants in a normal year, will be broadcast digitally from Södra Teatern on August 7th on Stockholm Pride’s website and social media. The two-hour broadcast will be led by tenor and debater Rickard Söderberg.

The two major venues of the festival are Pride House, located this year at the Clarion Hotel Stockholm at Skanstull in Södermalm, and Pride Stage, which is at Södra Teatern near Slussen.

“We are super happy with the layout and think it feels good for us as an organisation to slowly return to normal. There are so many who have longed for it,” chairperson of Stockholm Pride, Vix Herjeryd, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

Tickets are required for all indoor events at Södra Teatern to limit the number of people indoors according to pandemic restrictions. But the entire stage programme will also be streamed on a big screen open air on Mosebacketerassen, which doesn’t require a ticket.  

You can read more about this year’s Pride programme on the Stockholm Pride website (in Swedish).