Honey, I shrunk the Dutch: CBS reveals people in the Netherlands are shrinking

Honey, I shrunk the Dutch: CBS reveals people in the Netherlands are shrinking

The Dutch may be known for their blonde locks and impressive statures, but new figures reveal that the people in the tallest country in the world aren’t quite as tall as they used to be. 

The Netherlands is still home to the tallest people in the world

Don’t worry, Dutchies can still be proud to hold the accolade of the tallest population in the world, but figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) show that Dutch women and men have shrunk over the past four decades. 

Women born in 2001 are, on average, 1,4 centimetres shorter than women born in 1980. Amongst Dutch men the change is slightly less significant, but they too are getting smaller - men born in 1980 are 1 centimetre taller than those born in 2001. 

Tallest Dutchies can be found in Friesland, the shortest in Limburg

While the change may sound minor, it marks the first time in decades that the people of the Netherlands have stopped growing. Up until the eighties, each generation of Dutchies grew to be taller than the generation that came before them. In comparison to people born in 1930, men born in 1980 were 8,3 centimetres taller, and women were 4,6 centimetres taller. 

CBS attributes the apparent shrinkage to a number of factors, most notably the increase in Dutch citizens with a migrant background, and a change in eating habits. In spite of this, however, many Dutch people have an above-average height; in 2020, one in five young men were at least 190 centimetres tall, and 7 percent were taller than 195 centimetres. 

Significant height differences can even be observed between Dutch regions. The tallest can be found up north in Friesland, where young people are on average between 3 and 3,5 centimetres taller than those in the shortest region, Limburg.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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