Should the Viennese Really Take that Much Pride in Being Unfriendly?

No one can say Vienna is a sore loser. After Austrian media picked up the Expat Insider study’s City Index ranking Vienna the second least friendly city for expats, the “news” spread like wildfire.

The Expat City Ranking 2019 of the world’s unfriendliest cities is out and Vienna is once again at the helm. The poll of 20, 0000, conducted by expat platform Internations placed Paris and Kuwait City first, with Vienna coming in third, an “improvement” compared to 2017, when it placed first.

The following article was originally published on November 30, 2017.


The tone of many of the tabloids like Heute and OE24 was dismissive, à la “we all knew the Viennese were this way, now here’s some proof.” Some even celebrated it, going from coffee house to coffee house to ask unfriendly waiters what they thought of the results.

The press spokesperson from Internations, based in Munich, said it represented a “wake up call.” She obviously knows nothing about Vienna.

So, expats think the Viennese are unfriendly? The majority of the 92 Internations members they asked about Vienna do. And, meager sample group or not, they may have a point. It’s pure speculation, but these headlines may have contributed to Vienna’s losing the bid to become the new home of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), or the European Banking Authority (EBA).

Complaining about things may be an old Viennese tradition, but that needn’t be the way we’re seen worldwide. Vienna, let’s change these numbers! Metropole is here to help expats and support them making friends. In turn, the Viennese need to pick something else to be proud of. Your sense of humor, your delicious food, your Gemütlichkeit, there’s plenty to choose from.

It’s not just a matter of pride, it’s foreign relations. If you keep “disgruntled” as your prime attribute, you can’t be surprised if no one wants to join you.

Margaret Childs
Margaret (Maggie) Childs is the CEO and Publisher of METROPOLE. Originally from New York, Vienna has been her home since high school. She is known for non-stop enthusiasm, talking too fast, inhaling coffee and being a board member of AustrianStartups, where she helps entrepreneurs internationalize. Follow her on Instagram @maggie_childs and twitter @mtmchilds.

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