Dutch Language Blog

The Netherlands Comes 2nd in English Proficiency Index Posted by on Mar 31, 2011 in News

The Netherlands has been a popular country for the media when it comes to happiness research.  Several research studies have found that Dutch children are the happiest in Europe, another recent article highlighted that women in the Netherlands are happy despite working less and having a bigger gender pay gap and the World Database of Happiness is situated right here in the Erasmus University Rotterdam.  Now the Netherlands has caught the media’s eye again.  Once more for ranking high in a research index, however this time not one about happiness but one on English competency instead.

In a recent English Proficiency Index, developed by EF, the Netherlands ranked second in knowledge of English, amongst countries where English is not the national language.  The results put the Netherlands one place above Denmark and just below Norway, with an EF EPI score of 67.93, equating to very high proficiency.  Sweden and Finland also featured in the top five.  Neighbours Belgium and Germany ranked in at places seven and eight, respectively.

Who Are the EF?

EF stands for Education First, a private education company founded in 1965.  They specialize in language training (operating over 400 language schools), cultural exchange and educational travel.

Education First developed the EPI because they recognized a distinct lack of measurement into the success of money and time invested into learning English in countries around the world.

What is the English Proficiency Index?

The English Proficiency Index, shortened to the EPI, is “…a standardized measurement of adult English proficiency, comparable between countries and over time. It is the first index of its kind to give countries a benchmark against which to measure the average English competency of the working population. The index uses a unique set of test data from over two million adults who took free online English tests over a period of three years. Because this group of test takers is so diverse and the entry barrier to taking an online English test is so low, the resulting scores are reasonably representative of the average English level of adults. (EF EPI 2011 Report)”

So much English might not be helpful when it comes to practicing your Dutch whilst in the Netherlands (or maybe it is when you are trying to say something and can’t quite get the words out) but it is another aspect of the Netherlands to be proud of.

You can download the full report, which includes an overview of who is learning English and how, recommendations on how countries can improve English proficiency and a full explanation of the methodology and references from EP’s website.

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  1. Natasza:

    Congratulations 🙂 But if you think about other countries in top 5 (excluding Finland) and their native languages, those are the most related to English 🙂 For instance, countries like Slovakia will always be low in the rank, not only because of the education level but just because Slavic languages are so different from Germanic languages. Try to learn, let’s say, Russian and then see who’s more efficient 😉