Things To Do

The Netherlands Officially Speaks The Best English Of All Non-Native Countries

By Katherine Notman

The Netherlands Officially Speaks The Best English Of All Non-Native Countries

It’s official – we’re excellent at English!

English speakers arriving in Amsterdam already know that residents have amazing English skills. If an English speaker walks into a bar and tries to order in terrible Dutch, it’s likely that the bartender will reply in perfect English, and that will surprise neither party. This is how it has been for decades.

It is exciting, therefore, that the Netherlands has rightly been appointed first place in the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI). The list is compiled by Education First, a Swedish company with branches worldwide, which stresses the importance of international communication skills. Through their research, they have concluded that those aged 26-30 speak the best English and that English proficiency is improving worldwide.

Interestingly, whilst our country has the best English proficiency in a non-native country, our city does not. Amsterdam comes in second, behind Copenhagen. Perhaps this could suggest a strong proficiency in the country’s rural areas, and outside of our capital city. Contrastingly, Copenhagen seems to have a high concentration of English-speakers but fewer English speakers in Denmark as a whole.


English is not one of the Netherlands ‘ official languages, so it is remarkable that the Netherlands scores higher in English proficiency than some places that do consider English an official language. For example, Singapore does consider English as one of its official languages but the country comes in at number 10. Even South Africa, where there are 11 official languages, and where English is used in education and considered an official language, comes in at number 12 on the list.

Our country’s proficiency in a second language is extremely valuable. It is a skill that helps Dutch people to communicate effectively with neighboring countries and it demonstrates the excellence of our educational system. The country’s amazing English skills are definitely something to be proud of!

Read more: Best Cities Website Ranks Amsterdam As One Of The Best Cities In The World