Is it true that the Dutch are the tallest people in the world?

If you go to the Netherlands, you will immediately notice that Dutch people are extremely tall and the average height in the Netherlands seems to be higher than any other country. Are Dutch people really the tallest in the world? Three main studies have clarified this question and helped us understand the remarkable increase in average height in the Netherlands.

These three studies have shown that Dutch people are indeed the tallest. The average height of Dutch men is 182.8cm (6’0.0″) and the average height of Dutch women is 169.3cm (5’6.7″). They owe their height to high living standards, top-notch healthcare system, and natural selection.

Learn more about the average height in the Netherlands and understand how and why both Dutch men and women become the tallest in the world.

Average height of Dutch people

Three major scientific studies have shown that people living in the Netherlands are the tallest in the world. They also tell us about the astonishing average height found in the Netherlands.

The first study was published in 2016 and examined the increase in height from 1914 to 2014 (a century of human development). It also included 18.6 million people in 200 countries.

A newer study started in 2020 (height and body mass index trends of adolescents and school children from 1985 to 2019 in 200 countries and territories in a pooled analysis of 2181 population-based studies including 65 million participants) and was published in The Lancet in 2020.

The Dutch study, carried out in 2021, included 719,000 participants and examined the average height of Dutch men and women aged 19 years old from 1980 to 2020. The Dutch study examined models of average height in the Netherlands, rather than an international study of height across nations.


One of the main differences in this study compared to the other three studies is the time point for evaluating the average height growth of the population. The Lancet study conducted from 1985 to 2019, which is similar to the Netherlands study (1980-2020), both assessed the average height of the Dutch population. The first study examined a previous period extending from 1914 to 2014.

The average height of the Dutch population in these three studies is listed in the table below.

Dutch males topped the international studies in both 2016 and 2018, while Dutch females ranked second in the 2016 study but first in the 2020 study. In both studies, the body mass index (BMI) of the Dutch population for both genders was average, indicating precise height growth patterns.

A national study will be conducted in 2021 by the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) with 719,000 participants to assess the average height changes in the Netherlands. The Dutch study showed a significant difference in the average height compared to the Lancet study, proving its reliability.

Interestingly, the Dutch study also revealed that Dutch males born in 2001 were about 1 cm shorter than those born in 1980. The same was true for Dutch females born from 1980 to 2001, who were on average 1.4 cm shorter than those born before 1980. This suggests a surprising increase in height in the Dutch population has come to a halt.

The reason for the Dutch growth slowdown remains unclear, but Dutch scientists are exploring some possibilities. First, the increasing number of immigrants with smaller population groups and the children born in the Netherlands may be a possibility. However, other factors may play a more significant role in this issue, such as changes in Dutch eating habits with fewer essential nutrients for growth, while consuming more calories.

Regardless of the results of these studies, it seems that the Dutch population will continue to rank high in the world in the near future.

What is the average height of Dutch men?

What is the average height of Dutch men, including those who are the tallest in the world?

There are three separate studies, each with slightly different results, on the average height of Dutch men. However, I believe that the 2021 study conducted by the Netherlands National Statistics Office (CBS) which includes data up to 2020, is the most accurate measurement of the average height of men living in the Netherlands.

The average height of Dutch men is 182.8 cm (6’0″), making Dutch men the tallest men on the planet. The average height of Dutch men has decreased by 1.0 cm (0.4 inches) since 2000, due to changes in diets that are less nutritious and higher in calories.

However, despite the recent decline in average height, Dutch men on average are still the tallest men globally. Surprisingly, there is not much difference in height between Dutch men. Over 40% of men living in the Netherlands are shorter than the standard height by 5 cm.

There are some geographic differences in the height of men living in the Netherlands. For example, the tallest people found in the Netherlands live in the north of the country. On average, men in the north of the Netherlands are about 3 cm (1.2″) taller than men elsewhere. To date, the reason behind this is still not fully understood.

What is the average height of women in the Netherlands?

The most accurate assessment of the average height of women in the Netherlands comes from a study conducted in the Netherlands and published in 2021, which contains data up to 2020.

Dutch women are among the tallest women in the world, with an average height of 169.3 cm (5’6.7″). However, the average height of Dutch women has decreased by 1.4 cm (0.55″) since 2000. The decrease is due to changes in diet with less nutrients and more calories.

Like men, there are not many differences in height for Dutch women. However, there are differences in the height of Dutch women based on the region they reside in the Netherlands. For example, the tallest women live in the northern part of the country and are three cm (1.2″) taller on average than women living in the southern part of the Netherlands. The cause of this difference is unknown.

When did the height of Dutch people start growing rapidly?

The development of the average height of Dutch people in the past century has been truly remarkable.

According to a study in 2016, Dutch men were the tallest in the world in 2014, ranking 12th in 1914. In the past century, Dutch men have grown on average 20 cm (7.9″).

However, the height of men in the United States has only increased by 6 cm during this period. The similar growth rate is also evident in the Netherlands and other European countries. The growth rate of men has slowed down in some Western countries, while Dutch men continue to grow taller.

Most of this explosive growth for Dutch people occurred from 1950 to 2000. The increase in height has slowed down since 2000. It seems that Dutch people have reached a natural limit to their height.

The increase in height of women throughout the Netherlands is more impressive than the increase in height of men. Dutch women were the second tallest in the world in 2014, only 38 cm taller than a century ago.

Dutch women have grown on average, taller by 20 cm (7.9″) during this time. Similar to men, Dutch women continue to increase in height, while the average height in other Western countries has decreased earlier.


Why are Dutch people so tall?

Scientists have identified three main reasons that explain why Dutch people are so tall.

Dutch people are taller due to a combination of high living standards, excellent healthcare services, and natural selection. High living standards have allowed Dutch people to afford high-quality meals, and excellent healthcare services have helped to prevent many diseases in children. Dutch women and men also have a higher proportion of male offspring, which further increases the average height in the Netherlands.

Discuss the three main factors driving the astonishing growth in depth in the Netherlands.

High standard of living

The people of all social classes throughout the Netherlands have witnessed a significant increase in their standard of living over the past two centuries. The earlier expansion of the Netherlands in the late 19th century was related to the development of a democratic system in the Netherlands, leading to a significant reduction in the gap between the rich and the poor.

The Netherlands was already wealthy, but its wealth was primarily concentrated among the upper class. As democracy increased and social mobility began to spread across all classes of Dutch society, the quality of life for everyone improved significantly. This trend began in the mid-19th century and became a catalyst for the health and happiness of people throughout Dutch social life.

Furthermore, the discovery and exploration of vast natural gas resources in the Netherlands in 1960 generated millions of Euros annually, enabling the Netherlands to build a welfare state. Creating this welfare system significantly improved the standard of living.

For example, Dutch parents receive 1000-2000 EUR per child annually to provide better food and nutrition for their children. A family of three children is given 3000-4000 EUR for premium food items.

The increased standard of living in the past century has enabled the Dutch to have better food choices, and their children who consume full and nutritious meals have increased height. However, changes in dietary habits since 2000, with fewer calories and more nutrients, have contributed to a decrease in the standard height of the Dutch.

The growth of the Dutch is often due to their consumption of dairy products. Indeed, animal protein in milk and meat can be beneficial for child development.

But dairy products are not the only reason for the growth of the Dutch. The Dutch ate many dairy products before they began to increase their consumption on a larger scale. Other factors may be responsible for the development of the Dutch throughout the past century

Excellent Healthcare System

The revenue gained from exploring natural resources has been used to build an outstanding national healthcare program in the Netherlands. The Dutch healthcare system is one of the reasons why the Dutch are taller than people from other countries as it has prevented many diseases in children that can hinder their development. Moreover, newborns in the Netherlands are thoroughly checked and immediately treated if any illness occurs.

Because newborns receive top-notch healthcare throughout the Netherlands, they grow significantly healthier. For instance, vaccines against deadly diseases such as polio are completely free, and many illnesses in children have been eradicated in the Netherlands.

Natural Selection

Improved living standards and excellent health are not the only reasons for the increase in the Dutch population. Other Western countries have made similar advances in living standards and healthcare, but their populations have not grown as quickly as the Netherlands.

The trend of increasing height has slowed considerably in some European countries, in contrast to the Netherlands. Thus, other factors may play a role in the development of children living in the Netherlands.

Height is a characteristic that can be inherited across generations, meaning that parents who are taller have a higher likelihood of having taller children than average parents. It seems that in the Netherlands, taller men are more attractive to women than shorter men.

With tall women and tall men on average, the Netherlands has more children than other countries. This outstanding characteristic has led to a significant increase in the height of the Dutch population.