The Netherlands 3rd best country for English proficiency in the world

The Netherlands has been named the third best country in the world for its citizens’ proficiency in the English language, according to the English Proficiency Index (EPI).

European dominance

Only Sweden and Denmark remain above the Netherlands in the ranking, and Europe as a continent dominates the list with 11 of the top scoring countries coming from the continent. The multilingual nature of the continent and the open borders of the Schengen countries are cited as the major reason for this high level of proficiency.

Women have been found to have a better command of the language within the continent, with an average score of 61,24 compared to the 59,94 scored by their male counterparts. However, within the Netherlands the proficiency of the sexes remains equal, something not seen in any other country profiled.

Link to economic prosperity

A link between the economic prosperity of a country and the English language proficiency of its citizens is cited by Petra Cubretovic, spokesperson for the organisation Education First, who carried out the study: "Our index shows that proficiency in English goes hand in hand with more exports, more innovation and higher gross national product." 

netherlands english proficiency

About the study

Education First, carried out the study over a three year period, from 2009 to 2012. A total of 1,7 billion people were tested in 54 non-English speaking countries. Note that more than 5.000 people in the Netherlands were tested as part of the study.

You can download EF EPI 2012 and Country Fact Sheets here

Source: EF Education First

Mark McDaid


Mark McDaid

Mark hails from the Emerald Isle but has been living in the land of cheese and deep-fried-indiscriminate-meat since February 2009. He can often be found trying to read through a...

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