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The Dutch ranked the best non-native English speakers in the world


The Netherlands has scored the top spot in the EF English Proficiency Index 2020, the world’s largest ranking of countries and regions by English skills. Countries are ranked according to how many of their citizens speak English as a second language, and how well they do it. The Netherlands has been among the top three countries every year since the ranking was created in 2011.

This year, a total of 2.2 million people had their English proficiency evaluated across 100 countries. Topping the list for the second year in a row, the Netherlands is followed by Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, which comes as no surprise: Northern European countries have placed highest in the index for several years.

Among the reasons why the Netherlands does so well in the ranking, EF mentions that the Dutch receive an average of 12 years of schooling, which is higher than the global average. A great part of those years include English classes. Additionally, the Dutch do not dub foreign movies and TV shows, unlike neighbouring countries such as France and Germany.

Other countries whose citizens were classified as having a “very high” level of English proficiency include Norway, Austria, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Singapore, and South Africa. Tajikistan is at the bottom, followed by Iraq, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.

Overall, 26 countries have significantly improved their scores, including Turkey, Russia, Georgia, and Mongolia. The report also praises Latin America’s advancement in recent years, thanks to heavy investments in teacher training.

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