Germany unseats the US as the country with the best international image

Germany is the nation with the best image internationally according to the Nation Brands Index, an annual ranking produced by GfK, a German market research company.

The US, meanwhile, tumbled from first to sixth place.

The US’s drop was was probably due to the election of president Trump, Simon Anholt, the index’s creator, said in an statement.

Nation 2017 rank 2016 rank
Germany 1 2
France 2 5
UK 3 3
Canada T4 4
Japan T4 7
US 6 1
Italy 7 6
Switzerland 8 8
Australia 9 9
Sweden 10 10

The Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index is produced by surveying 20,185 adults in 20 countries, with questions about their perception of the nations in six categories including people, culture, exports, governance, and business climate.

In all, 50 countries are measured, from giants like the US and China, to smaller ones like Ecuador and Botswana.

The US fared particularly poorly in the governance category, falling from 19th to 23rd, which Anholt attributed to the election and Trump’s policies.

Category Top nation
Exports Japan
Goverance Canada
Culture France
People Canada
Tourism Italy
Immigration / Investment Canada

Of course, there’s lots of reasons why Germany should rank highly. Germans enjoy the world’s highest quality of life, and the country is a geo-political power with the world’s strongest economy. It’s people value work-life balance, it enjoys a labor-friendly style of capitalism, and Germany absorbed 1 million refugees without political upheaval.

The US was ranked first last year, and Antholt says its fall was reminiscent of a similar plunge in 20o5, following the reelection of president George W. Bush. The US quickly regained the top spot, though, and rarely stays down for long, he says.

And, of course, ranking anything as complicated as a country or its image is essentially an impossible task. Lest anyone think the Nation Brands Index is definitive, note that Germany was toppled from the top spot in a ranking of the world’s best countries this year, falling to fourth. No. 1? Switzerland.

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