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Nancy Bundt - Visitnorway.com

Oslo and Copenhagen are ranked among the most expensive cities in the world.

There is no doubt about it according to a recent report made by the Swiss bank UBS. Oslo and Copenhagen are only beaten by two Swiss cities Zurich and Geneva on the world’s most expensive cities ranking.

Tourists get surprised.

Norway and Denmark are spending resources and manpower to attract foreign tourists to visit their countries by displaying breath- taking images of the midnight sun, fjords, mountains, the northern lights, beaches and Danish hygge. Though, many stories about  tourists rushing into pub’s at famous waterfront areas like Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen in Oslo, to cool down with a beer and almost loose their breath when the bill comes on the table. It’s hard to get a glass of beer (0,4 liter) or a pint below Norwegian kroner 100 (Euro 10). In Copenhagen the price for a glass of beer or a pint is considerable lower than in Oslo, but still above the prices in China and most of Asia, where many of the new tourists origins from.

Oslo (ranked 3) and Copenhagen (ranked 4) are leading the way, but Helsinki (ranked 10) and Stockholm (ranked 14) are not far behind in terms of being expensive, though Reykjavik was missing to complete the Nordic countries on the world’s most expensive cities list.

The Swiss investment bank UBS has just published a report on the most expensive cities in the world, here the major cities in the Nordics hit within top 15, but Reykjavik was missing on the world’s top 77 cities list, probably a mistake by UBS as Reykjavik should fit well into  top 15.  The list is based on New York at index 100, though excluding costs for house and apartment rent, meaning any city with index above 100 is more expensive than New York, ranked the fifth most expensive city in the world.

Oslo is at index 107.8, Copenhagen at 106.1, Helsinki at 91.8 and Stockholm at 89.0.

Salary levels in Oslo are high, but not high enough to compensate for the high prices.

Comparing Oslo index 107.8 with Los Angeles index 83,3, one should belive the salary levels in Oslo are considerable higher than in Los Angeles. The fact is that the salaries in Los Angeles are 46.2 percent higher than in Oslo, confirming people living and working in the Norwegian capital also have high cost, meaning it is not only the tourists that feel the pain when the bills are to be paid. The correlation between high salary level and purchasing power shows even with a high salary the purchasing power is lower, if the general price level is as high as is the case of Oslo.

The UBS index is made up by 128 representable variables of consumer goods and services, based on a monthly consumption by an average European family of 3 persons.