Why Are the Dutch So Tall?

June 30, 2014 4:22 PM

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It's fairly common knowledge that the Dutch are some of the tallest people in the world. Whereas the average American man measures in at about 5'9" (176 cm), the average Dutch man stands at well over 6' (185 cm) tall. What is it about this small, traditionally seafaring nation that breeds such extraordinarily tall people? Contrary to popular belief, it's not to keep their heads above water.

To provide a historical perspective, I charted the median male height for various countries between 1820 and 2013 below. It was surprisingly difficult to find this kind of height data, but fortunately many of these country's militaries meticulously recorded the median height of their new conscripts ...

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