Belgians come 11th in annual English-language index


Belgium climbed up a spot on the annual English Proficiency Index this year and made the top 10 in Europe

Dutch speakers ‘one step ahead’

Belgians got a little bit better at speaking English in the past year, but the French-speaking south “continues to lag significantly behind” the Dutch-speaking north, according to a new report.

The international organisation Education First produces the annual English Proficiency Index to assess the English skills of 1.3 million non-native speakers in 88 countries. Belgium gained one place on last year’s ranking to come in 11th.

The country fares slightly worse than neighbours Luxembourg in seventh and Germany in 10th, but much better than France, which is at number 35. The Netherlands loses the number one position this year, beaten by Sweden. Rounding out the top five are Singapore, Norway and Denmark.

Of the 32 countries assessed that are considered European, Belgium came in ninth, and Luxembourg squeezes into the top five. The worst English-speaking countries in Europe are Albania, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

The report also looks at capital cities, with, predictably, Amsterdam and Stockholm taking the lead. Brussels comes in number 13.

The study found that in Belgium “Dutch speakers stay one step ahead of French speakers when it comes to to mastering the English language. There is still work to be done in learning and fluency in English for Francophones.”