Germany maintains 10th place in international English skills ranking

Germany maintains 10th place in international English skills ranking

The 2023 English Proficiency Index by Education First, an international education company, has seen Germany retain its place among the top 10 countries where inhabitants speak the best non-native English.

The EF English Proficiency Index 2023

Published each year, the EF English Proficiency Index uses results from a standardised English test, taken by around 2,2 million people across 113 countries and regions, to determine which nations are home to the best non-native speakers. 

Participants’ average scores are collated for each country and translated into a score out of 800 and an average grade in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages - the A1 to C2 system used in language certification. For reference, if a country were to score 700 points or more, it would mean that an average member of the population can "understand with ease virtually everything heard or read" in English and can "differentiate finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations".

Which countries speak the best non-native English?

In the 2023 index, the Netherlands retained its place as the non-native English-speaking country with the best English skills in the world. This marks the fifth year in a row that the country has been given the number one title. 

Outside of high-quality English lessons from a young age, many of the countries which ranked as having “very high proficiency”, such as Belgium, Portugal and the Scandinavian trio all share something with the number-one ranked the Netherlands - that English-language TV is not dubbed.

Both with former colonial ties to Europe and the UK, Singapore and South Africa were the two non-European countries to make it into the top 10 countries with the highest English language proficiency, taking the second and ninth spots respectively.

Germans have the 10th-best English skills in the world

Though many of the countries in the top 10 retained their high-ranking spots, all of them slipped down in terms of their average score compared to last year. While Germany maintained its spot in 10th place from 2022, the federal republic holds nine points less in their average score compared to last year, with an overall score of 604 out of 800 in 2023.

Broken down by federal state, Bavaria came in at number one within Germany, scoring a total of 627 points out of 800. North Rhine-Westphalia followed with 605 and the city-state of Bremen with 603. Only one eastern German state, Thuringia made it into the top five, with a score of 601, followed by Rhineland-Palatinate with a round score of 600.

In terms of German cities where inhabitants scored highly, the western states dominated again, with Karlsruhe, Munich, Bonn, Cologne, Münster, Mannheim, Stuttgart and Frankfurt, all scoring higher than the capital. Berlin took 625 points out of 800.

International countries with the best English language skills

In all, here are the 10 countries with the most proficient English speakers in 2023:

  1. The Netherlands (647)
  2. Singapore (631)
  3. Austria (616)
  4. Denmark (615)
  5. Norway (614)
  6. Sweden (609)
  7. Belgium (608)
  8. Portugal (607)
  9. South Africa (605)
  10. Germany (604)

For more information, check out the official ranking.

Thumb image credit: New Africa /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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