A report from the Education First institution has revealed that the average level of adult English proficiency in the world has risen again since last year, but that the increase has varied greatly across countries, regions, and age groups.  Europe continues to dominate in English over the rest of the world, with Northern and Central Europe being particularly strong and advancing their lead.

But what about Germany?

“The correlation between income and English knowledge is well-known. For the German economy, as an exporting nation, it’s very important that we have a high level so that we can work with partners and companies in other nations,” Niklas Kukat, head of the Education First institution told the newspaper, The Local.

Along with Austria and Switzerland, Germany has done a pretty decent job of improving their English over the years. The standard of English in Germany is now quite a lot above the European average, with an increase on last year’s EF’s score of 0.94 points to bring the total to 61.83 (European average: 55.65). Despite this, it seems other countries have improved their English even more, pushing Germany out of the top ten for the first time and into position 11 out of the 70 countries tested worldwide.

Leading the pack were Scandinavian and Nordic countries with Sweden in first place and the Netherlands and Demark in second and third place respectively. In contrast to the rest of the European countries, France continued to perform poorly in English, falling further back in their proficiency slipping to 37th in the list and the last place in Europe.

Within Germany itself,  residents of Hamburg were the best English-speakers, with the northern city achieving an almost Scandinavian score of 66.34.


Cologne, Munich, Frankfurt and Stuttgart were hot on Hamburg’s heels, but Berlin appears to be a laggard, only doing slightly better than the national average at 62.88.

Germany’s women continued to lead the way in English and their score was slightly better than the men, mirroring a pattern seen across Europe and the world.

The full list (courtesy of the EF Institute):

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Image: Countries with the best English

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