English most widely spoken foreign language

According to the report (PDF), on average, just over half of all Europeans can speak more than just their native language. English is the most widely spoken foreign language within the European Union, followed by French and German.

In the Netherlands, English is also the most commonly spoken foreign language (90%), followed by German (71%) and French (29%). These results are in line with earlier findings published by Education First, showing that the Dutch have an exceptionally good command of the English language. In a recent EP survey, only Sweden and Denmark were adjudged to have more widespread English proficiency.

The fact that the Netherlands has a very open, export-driven economy partly explains the results. People here tend to use their foreign language skills on a daily basis for work, online and when watching TV.

The Amsterdam Area’s attractive talent pool

As a global business hub, the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area acts as a magnet to highly educated employees. Amsterdam is home to a productive regional workforce drawing from 180 different nationalities, while a large share of the workforce (44%) has gone onto higher education. Eighty percent of the workforce speaks English, making Amsterdam the largest anglophone city in continental Europe.