Say what? The Dutch are getting shorter!

Arriving in the Netherlands as an international can feel as if you’ve touched down in a land of giants 🏰 — and no wonder because, for years, Dutchies have proudly held the title of the tallest people in the world.

But could that be changing? According to a new report by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) men born after 2001 are one centimetre shorter than those born in 1980. Women are 1,4 centimetres shorter! 😱

READ MORE | Being short in the Netherlands: a (short) short person’s guide

Growth stagnated after the 80s generation

Until the 80s, Dutchies were growing taller with every generation.

In the 50 year period from 1930-1980, men grew an average of 8,3 centimetres and women 5,3 centimetres. That led to the average height for the generation born in 1980 being 183,9 centimetres for men and 170,7 centimetres for women.

However, the new report shows that height has stagnated since that golden era of techno-pop and big hair.

What’s caused the decrease in height?

But why did height stagnate with the generations born after the early 80s?

The decrease is partly due to new Dutchies influencing the average height. The past few decades have seen an increase in the immigration of people from countries with generally shorter populations, this affects the statistics.

Nevertheless, growth also stagnated in generations whose parents and grandparents who were born in the Netherlands.

Gert Stulp, researcher of body height at the University of Groningen told de Volkskrant that the stagnation in Dutchies heights is not unique. Also in the US, the average height is decreasing.

While there are many factors affecting a person’s height, Stulp highlights that the stagnation may be caused by people eating less varied and consuming more oily foods. 😅

Are the Dutch still the tallest in the world?

Despite a decrease in average height, Dutchies are still topping the charts when it comes to height. 🥇

In 2020, more than one in five men in the Netherlands reported to be more than 190 centimetres tall and 7% were over 195 centimetres.

Dutch women also continue to reach above female populations in the rest of the world with nearly one in 10 girls born around the 80s measuring 180 centimetres —although that number is in decline.

READ MORE | Why are the Dutch so tall? Four possible answers

Who’s the tallest of them all? Frisians!

According to CBS, there continues to be “a remarkably large difference in height between people from the north and south of the Netherlands.”

Generally speaking, the average Frisian tends to be more than three centimetres taller than say the average person from Limburg. 😳

What are your thoughts on these findings? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: serezniy/Depositphotos

Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
A Dane with a special place in her heart for Minnesota, Christine is now falling in love with everything Dutch. Between finishing her bachelor’s degree, learning Dutch, and doing yoga teacher training, you will find her wandering about the Hague. Always up for visiting new places, she loves to explore the Netherlands with friends and takes pride in scoping out cute cafés (wherein to discuss books, big plans, and food).


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