The Dutch - tallest people in the world?

Apr 4th, 2007, 06:46 AM
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The Dutch - tallest people in the world?

I've heard that the Dutch are the tallest people in the world with men at an average height of 6'1".

I'm 6'3" tall and have been to the Netherlands several times and didn't notice many people taller than me. Denmark was another story. I've always felt short compared to the Danes. I wonder if the Danes were included in this study?


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Apr 4th, 2007, 07:04 AM
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The Dutch Are the World's Tallest People » Netscape.comThe Dutch Are the World's Tallest People. Health & Fitness

A Google search yielded several such articles from seemingly reputable sources about the dyke-jumpers being the world's tallest folks.

Scandinavians one said average 6'0 in heigth come up an inch short over Dutch Hans's.

At 6'3 one article said you'd be in 1% of pop that tall or taller.

Danes may be dragged down, so to speak, by their sizeable Eskimo population perhaps.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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The New Yorker of April 5, 2004 has an interesting article by Burkhardt Bilger about 'The Height Gap: why Europeans are getting taller and taller - and Americans aren't.' He says the Dutch are the tallest - they have had to re-size beds, doorways, etc..

Comments about better nutrition and health insurance producing healthier, taller people in general, but there seems to be no real explanation .
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Apr 4th, 2007, 07:30 AM
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I sat next to Dutch a female biologist on a KLM business class flight from AMS to SFO. She was about 5'11".

I asked her why the Dutch are now so much taller than their parents. She told me that the government made a concerted effort after WWII to keep pesticides and other types of chemicals out of the land, and that they've had two generations of very healthy people as a result.

True or not, I don't know. She was a biologist on her way to a conference in SF, so I think she might have know something about what she was talking about.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 07:35 AM
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I'd say rubbish to that theory. The Dutch and Germanic types have always been amongst the tallest and everything i've read that every developed country shows a similar spurt in height, in percentage wise and it's inevitably linked to better nutrition as the country became more prosperous and had better nutrition.

and the Dutch may be healthy but they are not the healthiest in Europe - the French i believe have the longest life span.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 07:39 AM
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Translated from centimeters, she said her father was 5'9" and her mother 5'6". She also said her brothers were taller than she was.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 07:48 AM
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Maybe it was due to eating those tulip bulbs in WWII (or in a awful thought by a decrease in most of its Jewish population, who would be much shorter i believe on an average)
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Apr 4th, 2007, 07:51 AM
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On this wikipedia page, they have a chart of people's average height by country:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_height

and it says the Dutch are the tallest.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 07:57 AM
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I was going to write that people in Montenegro were the tallest I have ever seen, but I did not have anything to back it up with. But then I clicked the Wikipesia article mentioned in the previous post, and there it was:

"The Netherlands was in the late nineteenth century a land renowned for its short population, but today it has the 2nd tallest average in the world,[2] with young men averaging 1.83 cm (6 ft) tall and only shorter than the peoples of the Dinaric Alps (Montenegro, western Bosnia, coastal and hinterland Croatia and a part of Slovenia), where males average 186 cm (6 ft 1.1 in) tall. The Dinarians and Dutch are now well known in Europe for extreme tallness."

So, Montenegro & co wins the tallness contest.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 08:12 AM
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Aren't there a couple of really really tall tribes in Africa? I know the Masai are known for being tall but I'm sure I've seen something where the men tend to be really really tall - well over 6foot?
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Apr 4th, 2007, 08:18 AM
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I had heard this claim just before I went to Amsterdam, and I was dubious of it. But I was amazed by how many tall, fit people I saw there, out on the streets. Men and women alike.

I'm now inclined to believe it's true. File this under "live and learn."
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Apr 4th, 2007, 08:22 AM
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Let's see coffeeshops started selling legal cannabis about 25 years ago - maybe this accounts for the good health and growth spurt?
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Apr 4th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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I noticed the same thing. I thought it was all the bike riding.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 08:30 AM
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For pity's sake, people, go back to your high school math and remember how averages work:

The average of 3 guys, all of whom are EACH 6'1" is 6'1". BUT so is the average of three guys, one of whom is 5'1" (61 inches), one is 6'1" (73 in.), and one is 7'1" (85 in.). Same average, vastly different group.

The Netherlands may be a case where you have a population with everyone close to the same height, so you won't see a lot of variation in a crowd. If the average rises, you can say something maybe about nutrition or health -- which usually is the explanation when whole populations get taller (and that includes crops like corn).

The US population isn't nearly as homogeneous. The average height of Americans was once increasing with better nutrition AND immigration of taller groups such as Scandanavians (and maybe some of the taller African groups). But the largest and latest influx of population now is from shorter groups (Asian and Latin American) -- AND nutrition isn't what it used to be.

However, that's our AVERAGE, in any case. I can't believe how tall some of the basketball-player students in my neck of the woods are, and all you have to do is stand waiting for a bus or train (or plane) and see the range of heights we have in our general population.

Bottom line: averages tell you very little about variety.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 08:37 AM
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I've also noted that certain Africans seem to be really tall. From my own observations many of them come from Sudan. Are some of them from the Mandinka tribe? I'm not really sure which groups are represented in that region but that particular tribe sticks in my mind.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 08:42 AM
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WasnŽt mandinka Kunta KinteŽs tribe. They live in Gambia.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 08:42 AM
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Just wondering why we don't see many Dutch or Dutch-descendent players in the NBA? And don't tell me they don't play basketball in The Netherlands because I know they certainly do. And why do the Brazilians and Italians almost always field the best soccer teams?
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Apr 4th, 2007, 08:43 AM
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maybe Africans seem taller because they are so thin usually - Dutch are thicker and may appear shorter? Not sure about this theory... but anyway when talking about countries the tall tribes may be a minority in that country and pigmy-like tribes may be included as well?
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Apr 4th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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USNR - It is important to remember when we are talking about the tallest people we are talking about average height as opposed to the people with the tallest persons (if you get my distinction).
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Apr 4th, 2007, 09:16 AM
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I'm Dutch, and at 5,5 I was always considered to be short. Then I went to study in the US, and was about average. Same in the UK when I lived there.

I was always told the Dutch are so tall because they drink so much milk, and eat so many dairy-based desserts (if you live in the Netherlands, you will know about vanille vla, chocolade vla, and other puddings like that).
Or maybe it was just a story my mom made up to get me to drink milk.
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