We don’t know if you’ve realised yet, but let us break the news: people from the Netherlands are tall, in fact, they’re the tallest on the planet.
Studies show that the average height for Dutch men is 1.86 cm (over 6′) whereas an average American is 1.76 cm (5’9”). So why are the Dutch so tall, you ask? Well, here are four possible answers to why the Dutch are so vertically blessed.
1. Natural Selection
To kick start our possible reasons why the Dutchies are so tall, we have natural selection. The idea behind it is simple: with time, there were more and more Dutch with tall genes.
Scientists believe that natural selection alongside good environmental conditions perhaps helping. To say it with the words of Gert Stulp, a specialist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine:
“Height is very heritable — taller parents tend to have somewhat taller children than shorter parents. Because taller individuals would have more offspring in the next generation who would be taller, the average height in that generation would a bit taller on average than the preceding generation, if all else is equal.”
2. Sex — ooh la laa
This is where things get steamy: one of the answers to the question of why the Dutch are so tall might be sex!
According to a LifeLines study, tall men accompanied by a woman of average height have the most children. For example, the men with the most number of kids were seven centimetres above the average height. To put it statistically, they had 0.24 more children on average than the least fertile men, who were about 14 cm below the average height.
LifeLines got to this conclusion by looking into the lives and health of more than 94,500 people who lived in the northern parts of the Netherlands between 1935 and 1967.
So apart from being quite satisfied with their sexy time, the Dutch are good at making babies as well! 😉
3. Snooze time
We all love a good ol’ snooze time. Our hectic lives and busy schedules are making it impossible to get a good night’s rest sometimes, but nothing beats a good sleep. That’s why some people think that this might be the reason why the Dutch are so freaking tall.
We can’t talk much about catching a snooze as an adult, but we have some reasons to believe that there is a strong connection between getting enough sleep as a child and growth.
READ MORE | Say what? The Dutch are getting shorter!
How? Well, in order to grow, your body needs to get growth hormones. This is a hormone synthesised naturally by the body and it helps your body with “building” tissues such as muscle, skin, tendon, and bone. This means the result is better muscle tone, faster healing, and an increase in height.
This is why sleep is so important when it comes to growing because our body produces growth hormones when we are asleep. Thus; the more deep sleep we get = the more we will grow up (between the ages of 19-27). 📏
Finally, one of the biggest reasons why Dutchies are as tall as they is cheese. It’s no news that the Dutch surely love their share of dairy products.
We’re talking cheese shops on every corner, stalls and stalls of cheese being sold at the city market twice a week, and don’t get us started with the huge dairy section in every supermarket just for cheese. 🧀
Visiting Gouda, Alkmaar, or Edam Cheese markets might draw a better picture where you can take your pick from rows and rows of cheese all ready to be sliced into goodness.
How’s that related? The national cuisine of the Netherlands is mainly about dairy products, potatoes, seafood, and meat. Many households serve fresh vegetables alongside chicken, or beef, all year round.
Their breakfasts sometimes consist of yoghurt with muesli or one to two boterhammen made with cheese and/or sliced meat and a glass of milk as a favoured drink next to their breakfast or lunch well into adulthood.
As some habits die hard, the same concept applies to boterhammen as the most preferred lunch in the country.
Eating a dairy-rich diet undoubtedly helps when it comes to growth and supplies children with the energy that their bodies need to reach such towering proportions. But, is this the answer to our question as to why the Dutch are so tall? Scientists believe yes, but not entirely.
That’s all, folks!
We don’t know the exact answer to the mysteries of the Dutch height, but we can always have our take on it — After all, it’s clear that they are doing something right to earn the tallest nation title.
Got your own theory on why the Dutch are so tall? Leave it in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in February 2018, and was fully updated in January 2023 for your reading pleasure.