Lonely Planet Writer

Germany has the best reputation of any country in the world

Germany now has the best reputation of any country in the world, knocking the USA out of the top spot.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Image by ©Andreas Zerndl/Shutterstock

The European nation took the top ranking in the new Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index, rising up from its second-place ranking last year. The index looks at a number of criteria, from culture, governance and tourism, to find how different countries stack up in the estimation of other nations.

France was ranked second, followed by the United Kingdom, which climbed back up the ranking this year after a post-Brexit fall in 2016. Japan also made it into the top five for the first time since 2011, tying for fourth place with Canada.

There were a total of 50 countries included in the study and Germany ranked quite evenly across the range of the six criteria nations were judged on. The global perception of Germany’s culture, governance and people all rose from last year. In fact, it made it into the top five of all categories but tourism. According to the index, Germany’s score was bolstered by improved perception of the country among Egyptians, Russians, Chinese and Italians.

A woman rides her bike in front of the famous Reichstag building. Image by ©canadastock/Shutterstock

While the UK’s global perception took a hit in 2016, it has crawled back up this year, making the top five in exports, culture, tourism and immigration-investment. France, which was in fifth place in last year’s ranking, made it to second place for the first time since 2009. It made its gains in the governance category, as well as ranking first for culture, second in tourism and fifth for exports.

But if Germany’s great public image hasn’t convinced you to plan a trip, there are still a number of other rankings that may have you considering a different country to visit. A study from earlier this year found that the happiest countries on Earth are mostly Nordic nations: Norway boasts the happiest people, followed by Denmark and Iceland. The World Economic Forum also announced that Finland is the safest country in the world. In keeping with the high rankings of Nordic countries, the 2017 Social Progress Index found the countries with the highest quality of life: Denmark followed by Finland and Iceland.