Dutch ranked best non-native English speakers for fourth year in a row

Dutch ranked best non-native English speakers for fourth year in a row

They’ve only gone and done it again; for the fourth year in a row, the Netherlands has been ranked as the home of the best non-native English speakers in the world in the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI).

EF English Proficiency Index 2022

Ranking 111 countries and regions around the world, the EF EPI is the world's largest ranking of adult English language skills in non-native English countries. Each country’s overall score is calculated through three different tests, two of which are available online for free, and the third is an online placement test used by EF during the enrolment process for English courses

Every score for all of the tests taken is normalised by EF in order to obtain the percentage of correct answers for each test in each country or region, with all the scores then averaged across each of the three tests in order to calculate an overall score. 

Interestingly, EF notes that this year’s edition of the index reflects the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to a decline in proficiency amongst young people and a higher level of proficiency outside of major cities, likely as a result of more people opting to move to more rural and affordable areas thanks to new remote working possibilities.

Dutch once again named best non-native English speakers in the world

As an expat living and working in the Netherlands, you likely won’t be surprised to hear that the Dutch have once again been named the best non-native English speakers, with the country nabbing the top spot in the ranking for the sixth time since the EF EPI’s inception in 2011. 

With an overall score 661, the Netherlands’ overall score has slipped slightly since last year, however, the country continues to be categorised as having a very high proficiency in the English language. This means people in the Netherlands are able to carry out various tasks in English, such as making a presentation at work, reading a newspaper, or negotiating a work contract.

The Hague and Utrecht - not Amsterdam! - has the best English speakers

Within the Netherlands, Zeeland was the region that was found to have the highest level of English proficiency, with a score of 678, while The Hague, Utrecht, and Breda received the highest scores out of all the Dutch cities (697, 683, and 675 respectively). 

On the whole, men in the Netherlands were found to speak better English than women, with an overall score of 670 versus women’s 652. In terms of age groups, those aged 26 to 30 have the highest level of proficiency (682), although all age groups achieved scores higher than 625. 

Top 13 countries for English proficiency

According to the 2022 edition of the EF EPI, the top 13 countries in the world fall into the “very high proficiency” bracket, all receiving scores of at least 600:

  1. The Netherlands
  2. Singapore
  3. Austria
  4. Norway
  5. Denmark 
  6. Belgium 
  7. Sweden
  8. Finland
  9. Portugal
  10. Germany
  11. Croatia
  12. South Africa
  13. Poland

For more information, visit the EF website.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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