Reading this sign requires at least a basic proficiency in English, Source: Depositphotos

The Dutch are the most proficient English speakers five years in a row

The Dutch are the most proficient English speakers five years in a row

The English Proficiency Index is an annual ranking which lists the command of English in societies, where it’s not a native language

Once again, the Netherlands ranks first in the English Proficiency Index. The country’s top position has been cemented since 2019, which shows that the Dutch have been the world leaders when it comes to skillfully dealing with English as a second language.

The EF English Proficiency Index (EPI) has been analyzing the proficiency levels and abilities among all countries where English is not considered a native, mother language for the majority of the population. The first such ranking came out in 2011 and since then the Low Country has always been part of the top three, and in the past five years it’s been the undisputed champion in that regard.

Breda is the city with the highest English proficiency

The EF tested the English language skills of 113 countries based on the standardized test results of 2.2 million non-native English speakers. The Netherlands got an EF EPI score of 647, compared to a global average of 502. 

That naturally means that the Dutch as a society exhibit “very high proficiency” in the language of Shakespeare. The ranking also analyses that skill on regional and local levels as well.

From that, we can see that Breda is the undisputed champion among champions when it comes to speaking English with a score of 671. In regional terms, it’s the southernmost province of Limburg that takes the cake with 674 points.

Nevertheless, the overall analysis of the EF EPI notes that the world population has generally stagnated when it comes to getting a better grasp on the language considered the lingua franca of today. In regions, such as the Middle East and Latin America, more and younger people are getting better at English, but in the rest of the world, including the Netherlands, there’s actually been a slight decline.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU