Native English speakers in Europe

Apart from the UK and Ireland, which independent European countries have the highest populations (or proportions of their populations) of native (first-language) English speakers?

Not sure, but I bet the highest percentage of English as a second language speakers has got to be The Netherlands. I was amazed when I went there, I can’t remember meeting a single person who didn’t speak English. It was kind of mind-boggling.

And most of them probably speak German, too. And/or French. It is amazing.

Is the OP asking how many expat kids live outside the UK and Ireland? By “native” you mean people who are born in that country? If they weren’t born there they cant be “native”.

They’re not speaking English, they’re speaking Canadian.

Probably small countries with a lot of British or Irish ex-pats. Cyprus, maybe, with its strong links to Britain? Elsewhere, native English speakers would be heavily outnumbered. There are large numbers of Brits living in Spain, for example, but there are 40-odd million Spaniards too.

None that I can think of.

[Hijack continued]
Most european citizens speak english well - the biggest difference I’ve observed usually stems from whether or not movies/tv/etc is dubbed or not (at least that’s my theory) - at least if we’re talking how large a percentage of the population that speaks english well.
[\Hijack end]

  • Tikster <---- scandinavian.

You can find native English speakers outside of the British Isles - in Malta, for instance.

However, I read the OP as indicating all speakers of English as their first language, including Americans, etc.

According to the Wikipedia article Languages of France, which gets its numbers from Enquête familiale, 0.25% of total adult population of France have English as their mother tongue. Still looking for info on other countries.

Is it really true that virtually everyone on the Continent can speak English well? It was a very long time ago when I was there, but I received the impression that outside of corporate business, political, travel-related, and scholarly or university circles, you might well encounter monoglots. People like store clerks and bus drivers, in my experience, usually only spoke English haltingly if at all.

That may be true in Denmark (and the rest of Scandinavia along with the Netherlands) but I doubt it’s true of Europe as a whole.

I want to know about people living in Europe (except the UK or Ireland) whose first language is English. I don’t care where they were born or where they learned to speak English, as long as it’s their mother tongue.


Either that or Grand Fenwick.

You should’ve gone with English, a language of United Kingdom to see the listing by country of the native speakers. I’m too lazy to add the numbers for the European countries but I’m sure someone will do that if they’re interested enough.

Gibraltar is not an independent country; it’s an overseas territory of the UK. My original post asked about independent countries.

Why should I have gone there instead? The only relevant listing there is Malta (2400 speakers).

Well, it depends on what you meant by “highest”. Did you mean the most in absolute numbers or percent?

What about Bosnia? It has a fairly small population and a sizable number of military personnel stationed there from English speaking countries.

Parse it as {{native English-speaking} people} rather than {native {English-speaking} people}. Those who speak English as a native language, which is to say they’ve been doing so since infancy. One can indeed be a native speaker of a language that isn’t natively spoken in one’s home country. The two young flodnaks are native-born Norwegians, and native English speakers (as well as native Norwegian speakers, of course).

True, but apart from Malta, which is a former British colony, it is probably the only area of Europe where most of the non-expat natives speak English as their mother tongue.
Otherwise, the highest number of expat English speakers would have to be in Spain. How many are actually born there, is another matter.