Why Are Dutch People So Tall?

dutch flag, tall dutch people

I spent a year living in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The first day when I arrived I had to go the bathroom. I went in, found the urinals and unzipped. Then I noticed a very unusual thing. The urinals seemed to be a lot higher than what I am used to.

I am above average height for most countries (6’1 or 184cm), however in the Netherlands I was just average (sometimes I felt even below average). I am used to urinals being way below my crotch level, however here it felt like I almost had piss up instead of down. 🙂

This is one of the first things that you notice when you arrive in the Netherlands (besides the fact that everything is flat and there are bikes everywhere), the people are much taller than in other places.

They seem to tower above you. They are quite lanky and not too built, but they are tall. I remember my first day at school, sitting down at a table next to one Dutch guy. He seemed pretty thin and not very big, so I did not pay particular attention. Then he stood up from his chair and was almost a full head taller than me! While sitting down he seemed small, but when standing up you had a completely different image of him.

It wasn’t always so. In fact a few generations ago, the Dutch were one of the shortest people in Europe. Almost all the other countries had on average taller people. This changed rapidly, especially after World War 2.

Height seems to be linked to nutrition and health. The average height of Dutch people started shooting up after World War 1, but declined sharply during World War 2, to again start rising sharply after the end of the conflict. The explanation is that during war times, people don’t really have access to adequate amounts of food and nutrition and their health declines, which means they also end up not growing as much.

Two factors have been linked to the enormous increase in the average height of the Dutch, their nutrition and healthcare, where they have a high standard and expectant mothers even have access to advice on nutrition for their kids.

Their diets are simple, but are heavy on dairy products, such as milk and cheese. This means they have a high supply of protein and calcium, which then helps their bones grow, as well as other parts of their bodies. Sometimes they even drink milk for lunch!

So here is something to be learned. If you want to grow taller, you need to incorporate a lot of dairy products in your diet. Most of you are probably already past the age of growth, but maybe it’s still not too late for any potential kids that you might have. 🙂

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