A few days ago, Kristina AxÚn Olin, the mayor of Stockholm, raised eyebrows when she started a campaign to promote Stockholm as the “Capital of Scandinavia”.
If we leave aside the formal point that Scandinavia hasn’t had a capital since the days of the Kalmar Union between Denmark, Sweden(-Finland) and Norway, initiatives of this kind have always seemed pretty silly to me – New York City emphasises the history, culture and diversity that set it apart from the rest without any need to present itself as the Financial Capital of the World.
A Danish commentator once noted that when a town placed signs promoting it as “The Gateway to (whatever)” or “The Centre of (whatever)”, it was likely to be a dump in the middle of nowhere.
Not all Stockholmers were impressed and according to Svenska Dagbladet (itself a local Stockholm newspaper) a relative majority of readers actually preferred Copenhagen to Stockholm. čśŤ
But how about a serious take on the subject: Mastercard has tried to rank cities around the world as centres of commerce and if the results are to be taken seriously, they show a mixed picture even though Copenhagen holds a slim overall lead.
The top three centres and their aggregate score according to MC are: 1) London (77,79), 2) New York (73.80) and 3) Tokyo (68.09). Frankfurt (#7 at 61.34) and Paris (#8 at 61.19) make it into the top-ten while Amsterdam (57.30) is at place 11.
Copenhagen is ranked 14 overall (score: 56.14) while Stockholm is at place 16 (54.51). #15 is Madrid, in case you wonder.
Copenhagen is ahead of Stockholm on all sub-categories (Mastercard lists “legal and political framework”, “economic stability”, “ease of doing business”, “financial flow” and “business centre”) with one interesting exception: The indicator for “knowledge flow” – defined as “Degree to which information flows freely and knowledge is generated” – where Stockholm is ranked 14 against rank 19 for Copenhagen.
Hat tip: Richard Florida.
Update: The Swedish magazine Fokus has made a ranking of Swedish local authorities. Available as a pdf here (it helps if you’re near-sighted). Hat tip: Svante Ersson. NUTEK’s take on Swedish regions is here. Hat tip: Thomas Nilsson.
By the way and in a completely different league: Sundsvall trademarked the title “Capital of Norrland” some months ago to the dismay of Umeň. Comparing Sundsvall and Umeň is a bit like comparing apples and oranges – Sundsvall has always been an industrial town while Umeň as been an administrative and educational centre. And both really play in the minor league.