Netherlands Tops English Proficiency Index

November 8, 2017

The Netherlands has taken the top spot in the EF English Proficiency Index for 2017,  edging out Sweden, Denmark, and Norway for the #1 spot. Singapore moved into the fifth spot for English proficiency, bumping Finland out of the top 5.


This is the seventh annual ranking that English First has published. The test uses data collected from two freely-available online surveys and then merged with placement test data from EF's extensive network of English schools.

The results from these three tests are then normalized and amalgamated to create a country-specific profile and ranking.

All the test-takers are adults 18 years of age or older from 80 different countries around the world. The genders are evenly balanced to account for variations in the general population.

Surprising Trends

While Europe still has the best overall non-native English speakers, it is declining while Asia is on the up-and-up. Europe overall fell nearly 6% in proficiency levels, with France and Italy in the 32nd and 33rd spots, while Asia increased in proficiency with Singapore leading the way, followed by the Philippines, Hong Kong, and South Korea.

India gained 8% in proficiency while Russia moved from 40th spot to 38th.

Worst English Proficiency

The Index is broken into 5 categories, from Very High proficiency to Very Low. Cameroon came in dead last as the worst country in the world for English proficiency, while Kuwait, Angola, and Saudi Arabia were not far behind.

You can view the complete list here.

Reporting by Nate Drescher

About Nate Drescher

Nate spent 10 years teaching overseas before returning home to Canada to start his own publishing business. In that time he taught in South Korea, Thailand, Russia, Ukraine and Poland!

View all posts by Nate Drescher →

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