European City Ranking
Best practices for clean air

Air pollution causes nearly half a million premature deaths each year in the European Union. In busy cities, air quality is usually at its worst, with high concentrations of particulate matter (PM) and ozone. The average life expectancy of people living in the EU’s most polluted areas is reduced by over two years as a consequence of this. A lot can be done at a local level to avoid these emissions.

Air pollution also affects our environment, by causing acidification and eutrophication. Soot, or black carbon, emitted largely by diesel cars, contributes to global warming by reducing the reflection of sunlight when deposited on snow and ice. Under current EU law, local authorities are committed to adopt measures to reduce air pollution and to comply with air quality limit values for several pollutants.

What measures have been designed and implemented in some of Europe’s most polluted cities? With this ranking we aim to answer this question and demonstrate that local solutions to reduce air pollution exist. We identify which cities are best at it, and what others can learn from them.

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Overall
Rank
Overall
Mark
Measure
Graph
City
01

B

84%

Pie Chart Berlin

Berlin

Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital of Germany and with 3.4 million citizens also Germany’s largest city. It is located in the eastern part of Germany, 70km west of the Polish border.

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02

B-

82%

Pie Chart Copenhagen

Copenhagen

Capital of Denmark

Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark and with an city population of almost 550,000 and a metropolitan population of close to 2 million people it is also Denmarks ...

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B-

82%

Pie Chart Stockholm

Stockholm

Capital of Sweden

Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia with a population of 851,155 in the municipality (2010) …

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03

B-

80%

Pie Chart Vienna

Vienna

Capital of Austria

Vienna is the Capital of Austria and with 1.7 million inhabitants also the largest city. It hosts offices of many international organisations, in particular of the United Nations (UNO).

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B-

80%

Pie Chart Zurich

Zurich

Switzerland

With a population of 385,000 in the city and 1.1 million people in the surrounding area, Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland. It is situated in the north of Switzerland, near to the German …

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04

C-

71%

Pie Chart Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Capital of the Netherlands

Amsterdam is the largest city of the Netherlands with 783,000 inhabitants and a metropolitan population of almost 2.2 million people. The city is the official, cultural and financial …

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05

D+

67%

Pie Chart Lyon

Lyon

France

Lyon is the 3rd largest city in France (population: 475,000) and is situated in the east, close to the Swizz border. The metropolitan area has a population of 1.3 million people.

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06

D

64%

Pie Chart Glasgow

Glasgow

United Kingdom

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the third largest in the UK. The city has a population of almost 600,000, the greater Glasgow region almost 1.2 million and the whole region around the city around 2.4 million people.

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D

64%

Pie Chart Graz

Graz

Austria

Graz is the capital of the state of Steiermark and with almost a population of almost 300,000 the second largest city of Austria. It is located in the south east of the country.

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07

D

62%

Pie Chart Paris

Paris

Capital of France

Paris is the capital of France and also its largest city. It is mentioned on a series of top ten lists. With a population of almost 12 million inhabitants in the larger …

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08

F

58%

Pie Chart Brussels

Brussels

Capital of Belgium

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and as a metropolitan region it has a population of 1.8 million. Brussels is a centre for international politics, among others hosting the headquarters …

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F

58%

Pie Chart London

London

Capital of United Kingdom

London is the capital of the United Kingdom and the second largest city in the EU with 8.3 million inhabitants. The metropolitan area has a population of 12 to 14 million.

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F

58%

Pie Chart Madrid

Madrid

Capital of Spain

Madrid is the capital of Spain and with a population of 3.4 million in the city and 6.3 in the metropolitan area it is the largest city in Spain and ranks as third largest in Europe.

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F

58%

Pie Chart Stuttgart

Stuttgart

Germany

Stuttgart is the capital of the German state Baden-Wuerttemberg and Germanys 6th largest city. The city itself has a population of only 600,000, but the metropolitan area …

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09

F

51%

Pie Chart Duesseldorf

Duesseldorf

Germany

Duesseldorf is situated in Western Germany in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region and is the Capital of the German state North Rhine-Westphalia.

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10

F

44%

Pie Chart Milan

Milan

Italy

Milan is a city in the north of Italy and the capital of the region of Lombary. The cities population is about 1.3 million, while the greater metropolitan region around Milan has 7.4 …

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11

F

38%

Pie Chart Rome

Rome

Capital of Italy

Rome is located in the central-western part of Italy and is the countries capital and most-populated city with over 2.7 million inhabitants. Tourism is very important for the city and it is the …

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