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Nordic Capitals Dominate 2020 English Proficiency Rankings

Nordic Capitals Dominate 2020 English Proficiency Rankings

Copenhagen locals have the world’s best non-native English proficiency according to the 2020 annual report from EF Education First.

Amsterdam placed a close second, with other Nordic capitals Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm all ranking in the top six of the 90 cities included in the report.

Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg, Porto, Budapest, Brussels, Warsaw, Bucharest, Lisbon and Kuala Lumpur were also ranked as ‘very high proficiency, the highest of five bands. It means the average person can use nuanced and appropriate language in social situations, easily read advanced texts and negotiate with a native English speaker.

The Netherlands edged out Denmark in the country rankings. Nordic nations Finland, Sweden and Norway followed closely behind, with Austria, Portugal, Germany, Belgium and Singapore completing the top 10.

Iceland and its capital city Reykjavik were not included in the study.

The reasons behind northern Europe’s proficiency

Anyone visiting the Nordic region for leisure or business won’t be surprised by the findings. The vast majority of residents have at least a working grasp of the English language.

Thanks to early schooling, global streaming services and the popularity of YouTube and other social media, young people are especially fluent. “Of course, you can occasionally stumble across an older individual from the rural area who isn’t exactly brimming with English articulation, but most Danes are stalwarts of the language,” said the Copenhagen Post.⠀⠀⠀⠀

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