The Netherlands retains top spot in EF EPI

The Netherlands has taken the number one spot in the world ranking of non-native speaking nations for English language skills, with Amsterdam leading the list of cities worldwide.

The 2022 Education First English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) analyses data from 2.1 million adults on their English language skills in 111 countries and regions. The EF EPI is based on scores from the EF Standard English test, used by governments, companies and schools for large-scale testing as well as millions of individual test takers.

The Dutch have placed consistently in the top three since the index was initiated in 2011 and have held the top spot since 2016. The Netherlands’ top position in 2022 is followed by Singapore, Austria, Norway and Denmark.

Key findings in the report as a whole include the fact that English proficiency improved for adults over 25 globally, with over 40s improving the most. Proficiency among adults in the age group 21-25 was unchanged, but declined for the 18-20 cohort by a striking 50 points since 2020. That said, Europe is the only region where young adults have not lost ground.

Building on innovation and open culture 

As the EF EPI finds, English is by far the most common language of information exchange across borders, making it key to sharing knowledge and expertise, attracting international talent and maintaining frictionless communication to support productivity. Next to that, the ranking shows that innovation flourishes and cultures tend to be more open if language barriers are minimised.

It’s one of the top reasons international companies choose to set up in Amsterdam, ensuring employees can contribute to a diverse workplace, share ideas across networks and borders, and easily settle into life in Amsterdam.