No complacency here in Copenhagen, matey! Denmark among the European countries that invests the most in learning English

Among the curiosities, one statistic suggests that maybe the Dutch aren’t as good as we’ve always assumed

Everyone knows the Dutch are the best non-native speakers of English in the world, with the Danes and their fellow Scandinavian countries not that far behind.

But it’s interesting to note, according to a new study by Preply, that none of them are complacent about their English proficiency.

The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway rank third, fifth, sixth and eighth respectively on a list of how much the European Economic Area countries invest in learning English.

Four Nordic nations in top ten
Preply investigated a range of metrics to establish which countries are the most invested in their populations learning English, and it bodes well for the economic futures of Germany, Spain and Italy that they find themselves in first, second and fourth place in the ranking, given than an estimated 1.5 billion people speak English worldwide.

Among the metrics were whether English is a mandatory or optional subject in school, the number of English language and international schools available, search volume by locals interested in learning English, government investment in overall education as a percentage of total GDP, English proficiency, and job numbers that require knowledge of English.

Also featured in the top ten were Poland (7), France (9) and Iceland (10). Notably, Finland was the only Nordic country not to feature. 

Solid performance from Denmark; Spain and Italy aspiring to be better
Denmark scored particularly well for its English proficiency (second behind only the Netherlands) and investment in education as a percentage of GDP (number one with 7.8). 

Other results are somewhat skewed by population differences: its number of English language schools (101) would appear to be below average, its number of jobs requiring English average (477), and its number of international schools above average (29 compared to Germany’s 92, a country with a population 13 times the size).

Finally, the search volume by locals interested in learning English was much lower than countries like Spain and Italy, where proficiency levels are the lowest in the EEA.

Maybe the Dutch aren’t the best after all
Other curiosities yielded by the survey included: Spain has the most international schools (274) and Italy the most English language schools (2,025). English remains optional in France, but is now mandatory in Italy and Spain.

The country investing the least in the EEA is Slovenia, followed by Lithuania and Cyprus. Also well outside the top ten were Bulgaria, Slovakia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania and Liechtenstein. 

The capital cities with the most jobs seeking applicants who can speak English were Berlin, Warsaw and Bucharest.  

Despite being the best at English in the world, the Netherlands had the sixth-highest number of monthly searches by locals interested in learning English (5,090) – five times the Danish number despite having a population only three times as large – so maybe they’re not the best!