Dutch DNA: are the Dutch actually Dutch?

If I say the word “Dutch”, you probably have a very clear image in your head of what a Dutch person should look like. Way too tall, mainly, as we short folk have never actually seen the faces of these giants up close.

But on a genetic level, are the Dutch actually Dutch?

Does Dutch DNA show if they are actually Dutch?

So, what started off this whole Dutch DNA discussion?

I visited the Netherlands a few summers ago. We stayed with my half-Dutch wife’s relatives, and we were able to stay in and visit many cities.

I looked up Dutch traits and the Netherlands’ distinctions before the trip because I wanted to know how to act properly without playing the fool, know what I would be up against, and behave correctly.

I researched all the traits the Dutch are well known for, but what really interested me was the distinct look of the Dutch. I can pick a Dutchie out of a crowd easily.

The Dutch are pretty easy to spot in a crowd! Image: Freepik

Yes, in every country or area, people have specific physical traits, but Dutch DNA is complicated and intertwined. It is also not as though all Dutch people look like twins. Historically, Nederlanders were often intermixed with many ethnic groups.

According to DNA testing companies, Dutch DNA is considered mainly Germanic French, which seems a broader stroke of DNA than some common and visible Dutch characteristics that I see.

My wife recently had her DNA analysed… and surprise! Besides being a little Neanderthal (maybe she slobbered a little in the test tube), her DNA is less than 25% Germanic French.

My wife was adamant about being “200%” Dutch. How so? “My mother was 100% Dutch, and so was my father, so I am 200% Dutch”. Clearly not a math major, but a passionate Dutchie.

So here is my opinionated research on where the Dutch DNA originated from:

Early days

Before 5000 BC, the ice age was ending (apparently as a result of global warming from the tribes burning too much peat). A few Neanderthals were left running around updating their resumes.

The hunter-gatherers had started growing food, and Neanderthals died off from having to eat salad from a pottery dish. Maglemosian culture was throughout the Northern European area, and the glaciers hadn’t melted off.

As a result, the British Isles, Netherlands and Scandinavia were all one landmass.

Seas eventually rose, and with water separation, the British Isles exited North Europe (BREXIT wasn’t the first time this happened) and Scandinavia receded into the North Sea glacial melt.

Life spans were short, and generations moved quickly. (Hey, getting stepped on by Mastodons is a quick DNA eliminator. 🤷🏻‍♂️)

Netherlands speeding toward the year zero

Funnel Beaker Culture and other small farming cultures extended from Denmark into Germany and the Northern Netherlands.

Following behind them with their fancy Indo-European language spreading throughout most of North and Central Europe, was the touwbekercultuur, or “Corded Ware Culture” (makers of corded pottery), lasting into the Bronze Age.

Corded Ware Pottery. Image: Einsamer Schütze/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

If you wish to go in-depth on their DNA, for aspiring DNA PhD types, go here.

Crossover with the Beaker Culture from West Europe may have wandered into Southern Netherlands looking for sunshine. The Beakers were traders, and probably the first door-to-door salespersons. Plus, they kept alcohol in their beakers, so there was that.

Although archaeologists argue over where the Corded Ware Culture sprung from — the Black Sea or elsewhere in Europe (arguing over people dead thousands of years is their passion) — what we do know is DNA from graves shows they were widespread in North-Central Europe. 

They were the first to have wagons, therefore, wheels. I am guessing they are Dutch ancestors and invented bicycles, peddling across Europe (some things never change).

Pre-Roman Iron Age migration

Germanic groups migrated into the Netherlands around 750 BC settling in coastal floodplains “where no man had settled before” and probably invented boots and snorkels.

This uniform DNA grouping extended into Poland and migrated from Southern Scandinavia due to the deteriorating climate. Apparently, they brought it with them.

ancient germanic group migration
Early Germanic Culture group migration.  Image: Berig/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

Several groupings and languages evolved:

  • North Sea Germanics (Ingvaeones), in Northern Netherlands, south to the great rivers into Jutland. This would be early Frisians and Saxons.
  • Weser-Rhine Germanics (Istvaeones) inhabited the Netherlands south of the great rivers from which the Salian Franks would spring.

Even though this happened a couple of thousand years ago, it seems logical it was the beginning of the Dutch people.

The ever-spreading Celts and Dutch DNA

Celtic (Gaul) culture about this time was in a triathlon across central Europe, spreading their DNA everywhere.

They were more tribal than most cultures and had Chiefs and classes of people within the tribes (perhaps political conservatives’ ancestors).

They spread from the East European area to Britain and Iberia. Generally staying south of the Netherlands, Celts drifted as far north as Maastricht early on.

Apparently, they were busy irritating Romans and causing wars, and had no desire to be chased by a giant walrus in the lowlands’ mud.

The Celts integrated with Germanic tribes South of the Rhine eventually. Caesar defeated them, took their gold and assimilated them into Roman culture, where they probably invented fashion and anger management from their descriptions by Romans.

The Gauls in the fourth century were “tall and muscular, light-skinned, reddish or light-haired and eyed people who are quick to quarrel and fight”.

There are not an excessive amount of redheads in the Netherlands, though Limburg has one of the higher percentages.

Many Dutchies do fit other physical Gaul characteristics. A recent study in the UK states the Celts are not a unique genetic group, which would indicate their original Germanic cultural background.

It also showed populations next to each other can have different ancestry.

The Romans are coming

In the year 57 BC, the Romans came to town in fashionable tunics. After years of battles with Germanic tribes south of the Oude Rijn, the river became the north boundary of the Roman Empire. Roman control existed farther north too.

For four centuries the Romans ruled, integrating towns and building forts, exerting genetic intermingling in the Netherlands.

Roman Empire in Europe. Image: Andrei nacu/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

With the Celtic, Germanic and Roman cultures intermingling, even Augustus Las Vegas wouldn’t lay odds on DNA results.

Romans used both Celt and Germanic tribes as soldiers and ruled settlements where these “barbarians” would be raised for Roman armies.

Two Centuries later, the early Germanic Frisii living on the North Sea coast and occupying most areas north of the Oude Rijn were coerced by the Romans and rising seas to relocate to Roman territory and were assimilated into that society.

So much for early Frisii DNA being dominant in the future!

Salian Franks

Around 200 AD, proclaiming their own DNA, some Germanic small groups inhabiting the Netherlands emerged as the Salian Franks, many of whom settled in the south of the Netherlands.

Concentrated in the North Sea lowlands, the early Frisians, Chauci, Saxons and Angles were closely related Germanic groups. As with many close families, however, the Chauci later joined with and became Saxons.

These groups expanded after the Romans fell. Some remained in now Southern Netherlands.

Migration in the early Middle Ages

As the seas receded, (400 AD to 1000 AD), Germanic groups such as Jutes, Angles and mainly Saxons waded into Northern Netherlands (and eventually all the way to British Isles).

The ones who stayed in North Netherlands became ancestors of modern Frisians.

Generally, Frisians and Saxons settled in future Northern Netherlands, and Salian Francs in Southern Netherlands.

Viking blood

In the ninth century, Danish Vikings wreaked havoc in the Netherlands with raids and attacks. Although they maintained a presence and ruled over parts, there were few permanent settlements.

A reconstruction of a biking settlement. Image: Depositphotos

The DNA that was brought in for this short time seems of lesser influence.

During the Iron Age migration, Germanic hunter-gatherer tribes of same or similar descent fled the climate and populated the Netherlands area. The Viking DNA was probably related (but with a nasty mutated mean gene).

1000 AD to 1600 AD

The next seven centuries were a culture slug-fest, with the Netherlands often occupied or at war.

Areas now Germany, Spain, British Isles, Italy, the Holy Roman Church, and pretty much anyone with a stick, rock, or religious robe battled. Surprisingly, some lucky males survived to spread a “Y” chromosome.

There weren’t mass migrations, but significant intermingling. I imagine with all the battles going on, the general population was able to continue their own DNA propagation within their groups and settlements.

Modern centuries

From the 17th century forward, the Dutch were traders and colonised around the world. Amsterdam was a top world trade city and people came to stay. In 1650, according to Cairn.info, 8% of the Netherlands was of foreign descent.

In the early 1800’s, 85% of immigrants were from Germany, Belgium or France, all with similar ancient roots. Currently, 13.4% of the Netherlands’ population is foreign-born.

Transportation improves. Immigration and culture crossover grows. These blending trends will eventually change the Dutch DNA and that of every culture.

Having trouble seeing how any genetic group could retain its characteristics over the centuries?

Is it just the luck of the DNA draw from parents, grandparents and great-grandparents (only one-eighth from the greats)? Maybe, but enter Epigenetics.

Is there another factor?


Epigenetics studies a chemical reaction that influences who we are without altering DNA. This means that events that happened to our grandparents can be physically passed down.

Studies show events like the “Hunger Winter” in 1944-45 which caused severe malnutrition may have caused children and grandchildren born after to be smaller.

Could Dutch physical characteristics be maintained by more than Dutch DNA? Does happiness, physical activity, social society or diet of cheese and herring unknowingly in part “will” them or any culture to retain the classic Dutch look through generations?

Science continues to chime in. I just hope you enjoy knowing a little more about where the Dutch DNA came from.

My own Dutch DNA conclusions

In summary, all of the above has led me to form my own conclusions on ‘Dutch DNA’:

  • Germanic cultures are ancestors to most of what is North, Central and West Europe.
  • Isolated early groups kept cultural DNA purer, but still developed uniqueness.
  • Early European migratory cultures had closely related DNA.
  • Migrating cultures joined, creating larger unique blended cultures.
  • Culture group wars and spreading populations slowly intermingled DNA for a time.
  • Ancient genetic cultures co-existed adjacent to each other with little intermingling.
  • Genetics is advancing rapidly and will have more answers.
  • DNA data cannot yet determine if the Dutch should have their own DNA classification. If you ask me, I think they might.

Finally, what’s up with Neanderthal bashing? They were around a million years before salads ran them off! Please, don’t forget to comment with your own conclusions!

Feature Image:Pexels
Kenneth Hull
Kenneth Hull
Ken is an ex IT guy working frantically on his creative brain to recover. He lives in Nevada, USA and loved his visit to the Netherlands. Ken can be found with coffee or wine writing content, comedy skits and screenplays.

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    • My Greatgrandmother was a Böhm ,direct from Bohmen or Bohemen . Her father was Frans Böhm ,and his father was Jacob Böhm . Jidish decendant . But were made Catholic’s. I know they knew the Jewih faith . My dad had dark hair and blue eye’s . Short fingerd and broad hands .. i thaught it might interrest you. The Bierman name was also jewish . Yet that surname we found in Holland in 1696. I never did a DNA test . My mother was also from a Vos line . From the border off Germany.

      • Hi
        Just wondering about the details of ‘being made catholic’. I am trying to uncover family history and getting nowhere fast. I strongly suspect that being made catholic happened to my grandparents in south Holland, (born around 1920). Since they’ve passed and there’s a lot of family secrets, all I have is intuition to ‘rely’ on. Thanking you for your comment as it has already helped, and any future info would be very appreciated also.

      • Great article written with great humor, and very informative to boot, not to be mistaken with getting a Dutch boot under your arse.

        • PS: with respect to the comments about incredulity of having British genes:. Maybe it should be seen the other way around. The Brits, descended from Angles and Saxons from main land Europe, have DNA that matches with their compatriots left behind on the mainland; hence Dutch people having dna identified as British, but.which in actual fact is Anglo-Saxon DNA left behind on the continent, or from times before they moved to Britain. As for Viking dna in Dutch people: the Vikings were know to rape and pillage their way through Europe.

  1. I just learned yesterday that I am H4a….my mother’s mother always told us her mother’s mother’s mother was Dutch (or maybe her mother was lol), and that’s where she got her olive skin; so where did THAT come from? She said the Spanish soldiers way back….(my mother and my sister and I are olive). I also learned that H4a is most prevalent in Poland and Ireland….so glad I stumbled upon this! Europe is just a melting pot too! But still, amazing to be able to trace a maternal line and see the history behind it!!!!!!

    • Lori, there were everything from Eastern European Celts migrating through early, to Spanish wars lasting about a century, to Romans from the south, so as you said, Europe is a melting pot. In addition, Amsterdam was a huge international trade city starting about 600 years ago or so. As DNA databases get larger and better, it will tell us more. DNA is complicated, and although similarities are in higher percentage, siblings can have some completely different strands from one another. Thanks for the response.

    • Many Dutch people had migrated and lived for several centuries in Poland”Olędrzy (Polish: [ɔˈlɛndʐɨ], Singluar form: Olęder; German: Holländer, Hauländer) were people, often of Dutch or German ancestry, who lived in settlements in Poland” I have always thought my ancestors were German, but I see the last name can be also Dutch,,

    • You´re statement does not sound crazy. My great grandmother had olive skin and both my grandparents (mother side) have/had thick black hair and were small of stature. Quite the opposite from the ´normal´ Dutch people. We are from the south of the Netherlands which was indeed occupied by Spaniards (amongst others) for a vast period of time. One of my tall, Dutch, blond friends has a Spanish last name, tracing his origins back to that time which shows that genetics can work in mysterious ways.
      I have heard that people in the south (Brabant) have a higher percentage of dark haired and smaller people but I have no source for that unfortunately.

      • Yes it’s like that for me too, both of my parents were dutch, my mother from Friesland. She has olive skin and brown eyes. Two of my brothers like me, have olive skin, brown eyes and we are all average in height. One of my brothers is really tall with blond hair and blue eyes. My father was really tall with black hair and blue eyes 🤨

    • The Celtic tribe called Boii used the na.e BOII . or BÖHM . Bohemia or BOHM FAM was named after them them. The tribe enter at now Rotterdam, AD1 . I am still off the BÖHM fam tru my greatgrand mother. I still live in Holland .

  2. I immigrated to Canada ( as a Dutch person) about 5 years ago, and my husband got me a DNA test for my birthday. To my shock it said I had 32% British DNA ( broadly) And the rest was western Europe( Netherlands/Germany) And about 4% Scandinavian. I thought it was a shocking amount, since my mothers family tree goes way back and they are all Dutch. My fathers side are mostly Germans. My husband said that something about low country reference populations etc, but it all became so technical that I hardly understood it all. I think they just do not have enough reference material from Europe. Most of these companies have customers from Canada/USA. I wish a European company would start doing the same. I Might be completely wrong here.

    • There are a lot of Dutch people in the USA. My moms family came from Holland. Grandma from Rotterdam and Grandpa from Apeldoorn in 1907. My grandmothers family lived in Holland, Michigan that was all dutch schools, stores, churches the whole settlement. When I grew up in southern California in the 1950s most of the kids I went to school were from Dutch/German heritage. I was surprised that my dna was also German, Britain, and Scandinavian.

  3. Robina, DNA is an inexact science as far as what we currently know, but advancing. DNA passed from generation to generation is very much, however, a random result of an exact science. Much of DNA sampling is based on the number of DNA samples and associating them all with volunteered data. It is constantly changing as more samples are done. My great grandmother was Portuguese, but I show as 3.6% Portuguese. My wifes Mother was 100% Dutch, yer her dna results show significantly less French/German. (Northern European). DNA currently lives, in my opinion, in generalities. Siblings can recieve completely different DNA strands, though much of their DNA may be common. It makes us all unique. I am fascinated by it, yet not held hostage. Enjoy your journey!

    • Hi Kenneth, nice article. Is it true that in order to get more from your family line especially the male side you may want to get a male family member? This because of the Y chromosome being passed from father to son? Thanks.

  4. I am adopted and recently did the dna testing through Ancestry and also recently learned much about my biological parents. According to relatives, my mother always claimed to be Dutch so I enjoy learning more about it. I am greatly interested in Epigenetics and hope you write more about this fascinating topic. Thank you for your insight and clever humor.

  5. My family immigrated from Holland 50 years ago. Do you recommend a genetic testing site that serves internationally. I find that most available are only accurate if you family is from the US.

    • Then don’t call it Holland, that’s a province. It took a 80 year long war to become united as The Netherlands. Please use the right word.

  6. I had my DNA research examined by “23andme”, you are correct, I am Dutch (German, French, but now classified as Netherlands) English, Irish (a big surprise) and Scandinavian. I was born in the Netherlands, have brown eyes and an olive complexion, but my brother is very blond, blue eyed and fair. If the DNA results are correct I would have to believe that some small amounts of our ancestry are not detectable, or that our results just come from mass grouping results.

    • You may be surprised to see a reply to a comment that you made online almost two years ago. I ran across an article about Dutch DNA components and I was interested. I then saw your comment. I was born in the U.S. (Michigan), but both my paternal grandparents emigrated from the Netherlands. Grandpa was from Friesland, Grandma grew up in Groningen, they met and married before emigrating.

      Like you, I have brown eyes and, when I was younger, had olive skin (I am old and fading now, lol!). My sister is blond and blue-eyed, but neither of us has a classic Dutch look. In fact, one of my paternal great-aunts, sister of my grandmother, once looked at us at a family reunion and sniffed, “My! They don’t LOOK Dutchy, do they?” In fact, we both look a lot like my father, and he looks like almost all of his brothers: Long, narrow faces, largish noses, very French-looking. Grandma’s family had a completely different look. The family lore used to be that Grandpa’s ancestors were Huguenots who fled persecution, but that turned out not to be true. Family members have been asked whether they were Jewish or Basque. For that reason, the information about the Portuguese-Dutch link, 1,000-2,000 years ago, is interesting.

      I was surprised to see to see a lot of Norwegian ancestry in my DNA analysis, just as you were surprised to see Scandinavian and English DNA. A possible explanation is that the Viking settlements in the northeast coast of the Netherlands, as well as the Southeastern coast of England, contributed a lot of DNA to the people of those area. Possibly both you and I are descendants of Vikings who settled in the Netherlands and England (my maternal grandmother also has English ancestors).

  7. Anglo-Saxon from Denmark settelled the coast and along the rivers in the Netherlands (Friesland, Groningen, Noord Holland mainly but also Zuid Holland, Zeeland, West Brabant en Utrecht&Betuwe)*. So there is an overlapp with English (30% anglo-saxon DNA in england not wales, scotland etc) and Scandinavians. The South of the Netherlands is considered less Germanic (also not as fair haired) (Limburg, Noord Brabant Oost). The East is more like Germany. So the Dutch are all really different for such a small country and some are a mixed off all those influences.

    * Zie onderzoek Zonen van Adam.

  8. I think what Kenneth Hull is saying is the right answer.
    DNA result is gathering data and the more data is compared and analyzed the better insights we get.
    If you look at the different assessments the test labs provide you also see that some of them provide less and more expensive tests. If that’s the case you should be able to get a more specific insight about you heritage.
    For me the only way to do this right is to check theses facts wenn you make your passport. So you’ll exactly know who’s who.
    But that is probably not an issue at the moment

  9. I am Dutch, but my DNA has no German French at all.
    60% British Irish, Italian, Finish, Viking, Scandanavian makes up the rest with Italian and Finish the biggest part. My husband had the same British Irish 65% with the rest Iberian, Scandanavian and Viking. I always told him looking at his skincolour , your forefathers would have been Spanish. I was not surprise to learn that he had Iberian DNA.
    It is a very interesting subject . I could tracé my father family tree up till 1700 family came from Zeeland. Mums family (she had dark hair en a bit of olive skin and brown eyes) has been influenced from, France or Italy. I am blond and very fair skinned. The Finnish and Viking bit I reckon.

  10. A bit darker skin and dark hair and eyes is actually much longer in the regions of the Netherlands then fair skinned and light hair and eyes. 2 thousands years ago the people looked very much like the iberian Portuguese. But because 1000-2000 years ago the land in north western Europe was still very cold and difficult to work with not so much people lived in north western Europe.When later fair and lighter vikings/danes immigrated because of the low population density the eye colour went quick from 100 to 40% brown which is now the frequency of the white ethnically dutch people.

    The portuguese are quit dfferent from the dutch now but still over 3 times more genetically related to the dutch then greek people for example( according to sforza genetic distance)

  11. You: “Germanic cultures are ancestors to most of what is North, Central and West Europe.”

    Reality: Culture is abstraction. Only people can be ancestors of other people.

    Your sloppy misuse of words reveals an unscientific mind.

    • Germanic culture has influenced Central Europe, but to imply that Central Europe is part of the Germanic realm is simplistic. Central Europe cannot be lumped with Northern and Western Europe. Western Europe has also been subjected to influences other Germanic.

  12. Neanderthaler , Roman , Batavian , Saxon ,Celtic , Viking mix, who cares, I am Dutch and proud of it, I gues I am all of the above with a modern mind. Let’s face it, the Dutch wrote history, not for one year,but centuries, such a small nation and roamed and conquered the world, still best boat builders , still always looking to explore unknown things, stubborn as hell and proud of it all, well you are Dutch or you ain’t

  13. According to my personal research into my Y-DNA my “Dutch” ancestry is in fact mostly Celtic as many of the relatives up the tree were from what was then known as Galicia and today is known as Portugal and Spanish Galicia. Port U Gal was called Port U Cale by the Romans and was in fact a reference to the Cale people or Gal, Gaul, Gael, Galician, Galilean people and are descended from the tribes of Zevulun and Issachar which were exiled from Israel in 720 BC and spread from the then Assyrian empire into Europe populating the continent along with several other tribes of Israel. The Celts are descended from these two Israelite tribes and have traditionally settled on coastlines all across the globe. Their Haplogroup is I for Zevulun and R for Issachar, these two have settled together wherever they have gone and that is why the most common groups you see among these two is the I-M253 and R-M269. From all the seafaring nations you will see the I-haplogroup being the most prominent among the people as Zevulun was the first tribe to engage in global seafaring and trading, once ejected from Israel in the Assyrian exile they ended up running the Syro-Phoenician empire and sailing across the globe trading wherever they went. Wherever they have gone they have left their mark by calling name places some version of their Israelite area of origin which was between the Mediterranean and the Sea of Galilee. They settled in Anatolia(modern day Turkey) in an area they called Galatia, then in Iberia(named so after Ever the forefather of the Hebrew peoples) where the other Israelite tribes also settled such as Reuven who were later known as the Franks. In Iberia they settled the Western and Northern parts of the peninsula and called the Western part Galicia with its main port from which they sailed the globe being Port u Gal. The Etruscan & Basque & Catalan people also descend from the Israelites and their original languages were all derivatives of Paleo Hebrew just as the Welsh and Irish language Gaelge and the “Scottish” Gaelic are all derived from the same. I put Scottish in quotation marks as people called Scottish are not actually Scottish a lot of the time! The Scots were a Germanic tribe that came to the British Isles in around 300 AD escaping the ever warring Anglo-Saxons as the Scots were farmers mostly. Nowadays they wrongly assume they were an amalgamation of Picts and Celts which is just not true. The Picts and Celts and Cumbrians were the original Britons occupying all the isles including Ireland and Wales. England was the land formed by the invaders of Britain so when they say Britain has never been conquered they are telling lies! The Anglo-Saxons were the invaders and are generally a people who continually will seek to make war! They still do today, still running most of the UK and the USA they seek out war wherever they go to steal another land’s riches as they are too lazy to work for what they have! They started every war they have ever been in except for where the Saxons started it also being of these same warring people! Anyway I digressed a long way(I’m passionate about accurate history, not that which was imagined by the “historians” of the conquering military forces!) Britain by the way was a name formed from the old Hebrew B’rit Am which means the covenant people(meaning Israelites). When people speak of the Dutch you are first of all speaking of an amalgamation of many different tribes made up of people who fled the Roman Catholic Church who persecuted any who followed their old Israelite ways. The Catholics and talmudic Jews worked hand in hand to maintain the vile Babylonian religion(picked up during the Babylonian exile) and guise it under the banner of Catholic “christianity” and talmudic “Judaism”. The fact is that it had nothing to do with the true history of the Israelites but these vile religions were created to be able to oppress the peoples and control them using the ever popular tactic of divide and rule. The first republic formed in the world was the Republic of the United Netherlands and was formed by those who had fled to the Netherlands away from Catholic persecution and eventually rebelled against the descendants of Charlemagne who held the title of Holy Roman Emperor and religious freedom came to the first republic to be formed at that time in 1588 when the Spanish catholics were finally kicked out. Unfortunately through deceiving large parts of the population the Orange family destroyed the republic and turned the Netherlands into a kingdom in 1809. In 1795 the Republic of the United Netherlands ceased to be and in the interim the Batavian Republic was formed lasting only 14 years before the Orange family finally got their filthy claws into the nation and have since brought it to its knees! Even the land’s national anthem is now a harsh reminder of the fact that the Germans managed to steal the country away from the original peoples of the land! Zevulun and Issachar are only ever interested in two things, seafaring/ trading and farming! The Germanic tribes were only interested in war, obtaining by way of taking by force, always seeking the military option to getting what they want! Yes the Vikings did it too for a while and yes they too are descendants of the Celts/ Gauls or I should call them what they are, Galileans. These were divided into many subclades though and some mixed with Germanic tribes and Frankish tribes. Seafaring is in the blood of each Zevuluni/ Galilean and even the great Tsar Peter came to the Netherlands to learn how to build boats and sail them. They are still the go to people to solve any marine problem you may have such as salvage work at sea of sunken vessels or rescue work, oil rig work at sea etc. Just look at wherever you find seafaring folk and boat building folk and you will find they all share the same DNA, literally!

    • We are all dumber after reading this. I am not sure if this is some parody, but it is factually incorrect, and that’s putting it politely.

      The USA and the United Kingdom wage war, not because they are Teutonic states, but because of Capitalism and imperialism.

      Catalan, Portuguese, and Galician are Romance languages descended from Vulgar Latin. Portuguese cluster nowhere near Celts on autosomal DNA charts.

      Catalans are more north shifted than Castillians, Galicians, and Portuguese. Catalans cluster close to French. East Iberians lack the North African genetic admixture that West Iberians possess.

      Celts cluster with Teutonic peoples. Scots are descended from the Gaelic Celtic tribes, they are not Germanic. The Scots came from Eire. Modern Scots are a mixture of Celtic and Germanic.

      Vikings were Teutons who came from Norway. They were not Gauls.

      The Catholic Church did not work hand in hand with Jewish people. Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492. I have ancestors who went to Eastern Europe due to the expulsion. Other Sephardi went to the Netherlands. In the sixteenth Century Amsterdam was a Sephardi cultural capital given that they sort refuge there.

      Britain comes from Brythonic which is a branch of Celtic that includes Welsh and Bretons.

      The Celts are not a tribe of Israel. They are Indo-European people who lived in an area spanning from Switzerland to Catalonia during the Bronze Age. By the first Century they lived in an area spanning from Iberia, France, Belgium, Southern and Central Germany, Switzerland, North Italy, Austria, Czechia, to Western Hungary. The word Bohemia comes from the Celtic Boii tribe who resided in Bohemia and Bavaria. There were Celts in Anatolia around the time of St Paul but they did not come from the Levantine area.

      Batavians were a Germanic tribe. The word Dutch comes from the word Deutsch. Dutch and Flemish are forms of Low German.

    • Fact: DNA doesn’t determine one’s occupation.

      Fact: I1a and R1b U106 do not come from Israel.

      Fact: I1a is found among males in a small corner of the globe (read: Northwest Europe), and in areas where such males have migrated to.

      Fact: The Celts didn’t come from the Levant. They originated in Western Europe during the Bronze Age.

      Fact: The Protestant Church worked hand in hand with Capitalism through the Protestant work ethic. The Protestant Church removed celebrations of Saints from the calendar as they saw it as collectivist. Protestantism heralded in the dawn of rampant individualism.

      Fact: The Basques speak a non Indo-European language not related to any other language. The origin of the Basques is subject to debate.

      Fact: San Marino was the first republic.

      Fact: The Catholic Church persecuted Jews. In 1492 Jews were expelled from Spain. ( see my other comment ).

      Fact: Many Celtic males have the Y-haplogroup R1b-L21. One is hard pressed to find this haplogroup anywhere east of Germany. It is not even found in Austria or Czechia, where there Celtic settlements in the First Century CE. The Slavs have had a far greater impact on populations in east Austria than Celts have.

      Fact: Whether you like it or not Dutch comes from the word Deutsch. Dutch and Flemish are variants of Low German. Batavians were a Teutonic tribe. The Dutch are not descended from an Israelite tribe. During the Bronze Age Germanic people lived in area extending from, what is today, the Netherlands to, what is today, northern Germany.

      • “Fact: The Protestant Church worked hand in hand with Capitalism through the Protestant work ethic. The Protestant Church removed celebrations of Saints from the calendar as they saw it as collectivist. Protestantism heralded in the dawn of rampant individualism.”

        Much of what you wrote seems correct but this is almost as bad as the nonsense of guy you’re replying to.

    • Hey Rob, is there any way I could contact you personally? I would like to learn more in depth history about the Celts, and you seem to have an extensive knowledge.

  14. “Niks, absolutelijk niks” kan de ‘Celtiks’ onderminen in het bouwen van Nederland!”
    Hoorah…! ??
    Eef van Amerongen…
    Trotse Nederlander…

  15. Your article pretty much described the bulk of my DNA from various testings. I have a very large Dutch presence in my family tree research, but the tests don’t identify it usually as Dutch but as Germanic-French or undifferentiated northwestern European. I did the ancient DNA test (MyAncestry) and the Ethnogene test (because yes, I am obsessed) as well as 23andMe and Ancestry. MyAncestry identifies South and North Dutch using least squares method, and Ethnogene found a large Frisian (specifically Frisian) chunk, which is so interesting because I was completely ignorant of Frisia and had to totally look it up. I recommend MyAncestry for people like us. Great little website; ties your DNA back to the ancient digsites like the BeakerBell sites with links and even traces direct ancient ancestors, so I can more or less see where the speculation is coming from in the more commercial sites like 23andMe.

    • I’m from the U.S. (in case you couldn’t guess!) and my family came over very very early (which is why I’m so uneducated about Dutch culture, sorry for that!)

      • I’m half Dutch and also did the Ethnogene test, I got 45% Frisian, 5% Danish and some other regions that were consistent with what I know about my family. It was very accurate considering my dad was actually born in Friesland and most of his ancestors were from that area for centuries.

  16. It is expected that some people Netherlands and Britan have DNA in common. There has long been a coastal trading relationship between NL lowlands and Britan. Living in bogs is a hardship but may be better than repealing attacks from highland Saxons. In the late 1st century monks from Ireland and Britain helped coastal Dutch improve their coastal dikes and fortifications. The long relationship between NL and parts of Britain have resulted in shating similar words such as yacht.

  17. I am proudly half Dutch and recently had my DNA tested showing approximately 31 percent England, Wales and Northwestern Europe, 8 percent Norwegian and 11 percent Germanic (equaling 50 percent). I compared it to other known Dutch relatives on Ancestry and they all had similar variations of the genetic breakdown. My family hailed primarily from both the Groningen and Overijssel areas.
    I was slightly disappointed to not see a clear Netherlands component but I am recognizing that it is full of different tribes and population groups to compose an average Dutch person.

  18. We always speak about Dutch people, but I think there is a big different in DNA, length, faces (eyes, hair..) etc. between the North and South Netherlands. First: DNA testing is commercial (all Frisian I know, who did a DNA test have “English blood”?), and this is not reliable. Yes, Frisian did live for hunderds of years in England and the North of France, because of floods in Friesland, but we stay Frisian. You can ask the question the other way around: do the British people have Frisian DNA?

    I did ancestry research, and my mother have Frisian roots for over 1000 years (rich / elite family)! My grandmothers roots – from my father – 100% Frisian. My father roots – from Groningen, Ost Friesland Germany to Vlaanderen. This is the old map of Friesland. So I can’t have English DNA. Who is fooling who?

    Furthermore: Frisians, the people in the North of the Netherlands, are the tallest people of the world. Reason: DNA and diet (good food; agriculture > dairy diet). Most Frisian are (were) blond with blue eyes. Male Frisian faces have sometimes unique characteristics due to their ancestors. You see those characteristics these days less and less; genes are also globalizing.

    But the most important thing; we are al human, let’s enjoy each other’s unique qualities.

    • I am English and I do indeed get results for Frisii. North Holland is my closest Continental DNA link but it comes behind Ireland, Scotland, Orkney and Cornwall…amusingly it comes before South East England. My grandparents were U152 Z36 (La Tene Hallstatt Region then Belgae) U106 Z381 basically Scandinavian Germanics via Bavaria at times who grabbed a lot of Crowns. J2a1a1 a female line mostly found in Southern Europe but widespread at lower levels and X2c1 that for some explicable reason turned right coming out of the Middle East instead of turning Left and quite deservedly ended up in Siberia.

  19. People ask me if I have ever done DNA testing, knowing I am from the Netherlands. I usually I say ‘no why should I, I know I am Dutch’! The honest answer is that I don’t want to find out that I am really German…

  20. Cultural heritage and genetic heritage are two separate “traits” if you will. Many folks do not understand the difference and will continue to comingle the two. 😉

  21. I’m so thankful I bumped into this article. My DNA results say I’m 9% Germanic Europe so for the past couple of years I’ve been scratching my head. I believe this would be directly related to my ancestors from North UIST, South Uist & Rum in the Scottish Highlands. Thanks!

  22. Fascinating article. Thank you. My direct family roots, on my mother’s side, go back over 400 years to Northern Holland and a town called De Rijp. I was born in Amsterdam and on my father’s side, we have been Amsterdammers for over 400 years, according the Amsterdam City Archive.

  23. Very interesting article. I’m part of a little-known group called the Michigan Dutch. We’ve been called “more Dutch than the Dutch,” since our ancestors came to Michigan in the 1820s and 30s and maintained a very isolated culture. In the southern part of the state, there has been more intermarriage with other groups, but Missaukee County, up north, is still VERY Dutch. I’m only half Michigan Dutch, but my DNA is 37% Germanic French with another 19% Northwestern European (95% Northwestern European, total). I live in a different part of the country now, in a big city, and people from the Netherlands have recognized me as looking sufficiently Dutch that they walk up to me and start speaking Dutch, which, sadly, I don’t understand. People ask me all the time what country I’m from. We have a lot of Germans in Texas, so it’s not just my pale skin and eyes that cause confusion.

    Bottom line: if you want to study Dutch DNA, try the Grand Rapids, MI area or Missaukee County.

  24. Central Europe is not very Germanic genetically. The most common Y-Haplogroups in Central Europe are R1a-Z280, R1a-Z92, and I2a1b. R1b-U106, I2a2 (I2b), R1a-Z284, R1a-L664, and I1a are not common Y-Haplogroups among males in Central Europe. Autosomal studies show that people of Central Europe cluster with East Europeans as opposed to Teutons. Both Central Europeans and Teutons plot north of Southern Europeans yet Central Europeans are east shifted. Central Europe is part of the east European genetic quadrant.

  25. The Celtic Y-Haplogroup R1b-L21 is virtually non existent in Central Europe, whereas it occurs among some males in Switzerland (not part of Central Europe, despite what some people want us to believe), Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany.

    Central European culture is a mix of Magyar, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Slovene, Austrian and eastern German.

  26. The Netherlands are a nation of emigrants as would expected from any trading nation. In the 16th century half the people in Amsterdam were not Dutch (Did not speak Dutch).

    We should be very careful in deriving our identity’s from DNA. In the 1930’s this led to very wrong conclusions.

    • I respectfully disagree. My argument is: DNA studies prove how mixed we all are. So it’s a great weapon against Nazi ‘pure race’ claims. Back in the 1930s, scientists did not know as much about DNA and genetics as we do, now. The Nazis, particularly, were very ignorant! DNA studies would have proved that their absurd theories were all wrong.

  27. They say that everyone of Western European descent is related to the same small group of people if you go back far enough. I’ve been able to trace my family back to 474 AD for some threads, while others hit a roadblock. Once you realize that you have exponential descendants (16 great grandparents, 32 great great grandparents, etc) and if you follow each thread (i.e., not sticking to your own surname), if you can get past the 1800’s when everyone had multiple children and they all seemed to have similar names, it’s quite amazing to see how interconnected it all is. Ironically, my own last name, which is Dutch, I could only trace back to 1850, partly because the town they lived in no longer exists. I have German descendants that were in Bavaria since at least 1650, and I have Irish, Scottish, Welsh and English descendants which I can trace back to King Henry I at least twice. My German Bavarian grandmother has black hair, brown eyes, olive skin and a decent size nose, but is also tall and strong. My Dutch grandfather had a long face and was blue-eyed, blonde and tall. I’ve always said I come from good German farm stock.

  28. i am dutch polish. i did a dna test and the results were: 34 percent polish and 16 percent baltic (probably connected to the polish lithuanian coomonwealth), 42 percent scandinavian and 8 percent balkan. so my dutchness is actually mainly scandinavian.

  29. Hm. My results are very confusing, considering what I know about my family. Both sides came to America in the mid to late 1950’s, from DP camps. Before that they lived in Groningen and Fryslan. My family is “Frisian” with a little bit of French, and my dad is half-African. Apparently his own father didn’t know he was Gambian and not Zulu, despite his parents being kidnapped from Zululand, and despite us having many relatives there to this day. So that was shock #1, but by far the biggest shock is that the results came back German, British Isles (sorry to the guy up there who tried to say it’s not British Isles because my results are exactly British Isles). Then Indian, north & south Han Chinese, and Peruvian. I am SO CONFUSED. German?! HOW? Lol

  30. My 200% Dutch Grandma who could trace her roots back to the 15th century before DNA tests were even a thing, about had an apoplectic seizure when she found out that my cousin was dating a Spaniard. “They raped and pillaged through our country and now they want to date my granddaughter and sit down at my table?”
    And in that moment, I realized that this is also why she would yank on my dark curl as she walked by and say, “Ack, ack ack.”
    By then my stalwart Grandma was 72-years-old and I knew then that there was no reasoning with someone who had a grudge from centuries ago. I wish I would have listened to more stories then instead of rolling my eyes.

  31. Interesting addition about immigration into the Netherlands:
    In 1605 about 10% of the Netherlands was actually ethnically Flemish. Some cities as Amsterdam even more than 50%.
    After the Spanish terror there was an unbelievably massive migration from Flanders and Brabant to the Netherlands. Their most significant cities as Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp lost up to 60% of their inhabitants who fled from Spanish invasion and rule.

  32. I am dutch i come from the south part/limburg and also from the capital city maastricht my fathers side i know here from the year 1500 i did also a ancestory dna test i know my fathers side is ones mirgated to belgium and also came back afther 100 years maybe and mixt with womans from belgium my dna test give out i am 92% north west europe that means the netherlands region limburg/belgium region limburg/germany north west rijn keulen dusseldorf
    The other 8% are mixt of 2.2 italian 2.7 ibarian 2.1 english

  33. What is the definition of Dutch? It’s all about when you ‘freeze’ a population in time. All Europeans are a mixture of hunter-gatherers, neolithic farmers and steppe people, in different percentages. So yeah you will get a match on about every European country plus diaspora’s (US, Australia, South-Africa etc). It is totally useless to say Dutch are French Germans or whatever. And it is impossible to tell whether your ancestors came from abroad and from where. Unless you are matching actual persons, like in Family Tree DNA database. By the way: in small farming villages the indigeneous families tend to have actual matches on remains in bronze age mounds. And in the 1920s a Belgian was considered an exotic foreigner in southern Dutch villages. These were sort of endogamous. At the moment it is still possible to tell from which province a (non migrant) Dutch person is. So yeah many migrants and movements, but also populations that stayed put for thousands of years.

  34. Fun article, good job. I have to calm down disappointed or angry people on Facebook Dutch DNA or Genealogy pages. I can relate as I was not happy with Ancestry.com results, especially the 27% British Isles and 2% Irish. The rest being Germanic and Scandinavian.
    Instead of stewing over the results, I got busy researching the history of Nothern Europe. What a mess and what an education.!! It did not take long to figure out the Vikings were all over the map including Ukraine.

    The central part of the NL along the Rhine, was populated by the Romans with a large number of Chatti tribe members in southern/western Germany. Their only real obligation was providing Rome with warriors. Somehow the name Batavian was applied and they were everywhere the Roman Legions were, including Britain. They were instrumental in defeating the Briton forces during Emperor Claudius invasion.

    With Britain settled (mostly) the Rhine River was a constant 2-way road with people all around the Empire. After Rome left Britain and the Saxons, Engeles and Juts moved, the Saxons brought hundreds of Frisian boat builders to Britain to help them build watercraft.
    Then there’s the huge migrations of the Goths and Cimbri & Teutons which had a large enough army to defeat Roman armies in northern Italy several times. Julius Caesar clashed with a migration of several Germanic tribes who were looking for a new homeland. That’s where Julius claimed he killed 1.1 million but a realistic number was around 200,000.

    The whole continent was a bubbling cauldron of war, raids, slave trading, conquests, environmental factors like drought/famine. Later in history there wasn’t such huge migrations. The poor settled in their little villages for hundreds of years and they didn’t move much like going to other areas to seek wives. I think that’s the start of looking similar. The married close to home which means 3rd cousins or 2nd.

    Europe’s history is the opposite of boring but your head needed to be on a swivel as enemies surrounded you.


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