Dutch people physical characteristics include being tall, having blue eyes, blond hair, and a slim build. This is a stereotype but not necessarily representative of all modern-day Dutch people.
Dutch is the term used to refer to the native residents of The Netherlands, a small country situated between Germany and Belgium in Western Europe.
Despite its relatively smaller land size, it is one of Europe’s most densely populated countries. With almost 17 million inhabitants, they have approximately 477 people per square kilometer.
In terms of heritage, the Dutch trace their roots to Germanic and Celtic tribes, though they also have close relations with Germans and the British.
Dutch People Physical Characteristics
Note: These are averages, trends, and stereotypes, and may not reflect or be representative of any individual Dutch person.
1. Very Tall
The Dutch have been hailed as the tallest people worldwide for many years. Their average height is over 6 feet for men and around 5 foot 6 inches for women.
One reason for this is natural selection since taller couples in the Netherlands appear to have more children.
Environment and diet also play a role considering the country’s world-class healthcare system, and the Dutch consume a lot of calcium-rich food like dairy, which supports bone growth.
However, reports have shown that the Dutch seem to have stopped growing in recent years. Government statisticians said that growth has stopped since 1980, partly due to the integration of other nationalities with shorter statures and the children born from them in the Netherlands.
2. Blue Eyes
While most Dutch people have blue eyes, this also depends on which region they are coming from.
With similar rates to the Danes and the Swedes, about 61% of Dutch people have blue eyes, but most of them are found in the northern part of the country.
After blue, the other eye color that can be found the most in Dutch people is brown, with about 22% of the population having this color.
3. Blond Hair
The prevalent hair color among the Dutch, generally speaking, would be blond.
A study among seven European countries, namely Denmark, Estonia, Great Britain, France, Germany, Iceland, and The Netherlands, showed that the Dutch have the largest share of blond hair at 71.45%.
4. Slim Build
A study published by the World Health Organization reported that while the world seems to be getting fatter, the Dutch are overturning the trend as they appear to be getting even thinner than they already are.
One primary reason for this is their love of exercise, sports, and the outdoors. The Dutch people love to bike and walk and try to do so as much as possible. As a result, aside from being thinner, the Dutch also walk faster than the average person.
Another reason is their healthy diet. The Dutch rarely binge on food and would eat just enough to satisfy their hunger. They also prefer healthier food choices like organic food and fish. They are also big on cheese, and while it contains fat, it can also restrict the body’s fat absorption.
However, they come in different shades, and the Dutch themselves tend to classify them separately. They consider only very light blond hair as blond, while darker blond shades are categorized as brown.
5. Broad Face
The Dutch generally have longer and broader face structures compared to other Europeans, such as the British.
Their noses are also shorter and are slightly turned up at the tip. However, as with any group or ethnicity, these are often generalizations and do not apply to the whole population.
Stereotypical Character Traits of Dutch People
6. Thrifty And Financially Savvy
A popular stereotype about the Dutch worldwide is that they are frugal people. It’s not necessarily because they don’t have the money, but they are smart about spending and saving money
This shows how much they prioritize their independence and being responsible for themselves.
Ironically, the phrase “going dutch” which refers to splitting the bill when on a date or a group meal, is not directly related to the Dutch people. It originated from German speakers who immigrated to the US, specifically Pennsylvania, during the 17th and 18th centuries.
These people were initially referred to as the High Dutch because of their origins but were eventually called Pennsylvania Dutch. They became known for paying their share in restaurants so they won’t owe money to anyone, giving rise to the popular phrase over the years.
7. Outspoken And Straightforward
When it comes to communication, the Dutch are known for being direct, blunt, and no-nonsense kind of people.
This is on point, and the Dutch society even has a term for it, ‘ bespreekbaarheid‘, meaning “speakability”. They believe that there is no sense in talking around in circles. It is always best to speak your mind because there is nothing that can’t be talked about.
Outsiders not used to this give-it-to-you-straight mentality may find their ways to be arrogant or even offensive. But the Dutch stand firm in their belief that truthfulness is more important than empathy.
On the bright side, when you are talking to a Dutch, you never have to wonder about any hidden meanings in what they are saying because you can trust them to tell you exactly where you stand.
8. Cheese Lovers
Cheese is a significant part of the Dutch diet, and you will find it incorporated into almost every dish. They manufacture about 650 million kilos of cheese annually and export almost 70% of it, making them the largest exporter of cheese in the world.
For their personal consumption, the average Dutch would also eat more than 14 kilos of cheese.
They spend 25% more on cheese and milk-based products than other nationalities like the Americans, British, and Germans.
It is such an integral part of their society and economy that cheese has become a national symbol, along with milk, yogurt, and other dairy products.
9. Avid Bikers
Some say that the Dutch are inseparable from their bikes, and this is very true.
Bicycles are the preferred mode of transportation for many Dutch people that the country has more bikes than people, having 23 million bicycles for only 17 million residents.
Aside from being more environment friendly and good for the body, studies also show that biking results in better productivity, positive social impact, and lowered health expenses for the state.
This is why the Dutch government keeps conducting activities that promote the biking culture.
Currently, the country has about 35,000 kilometers of bike paths which is 25% of the 140,000 kilometers of road network. Bikes are also given priority on shared roads, with a sign saying “fietsstraat auto te gast,” which translates to “cars are guests”.
An attitude of tolerance is highly valued, promoted, and encouraged among the Dutch people starting from their childhood.
Their term for this is Verdraagzaamheid, which communicates tolerance, inclusion, and respect for other people and their choices.
Their tolerant mindset has led to the creation of social policies that are considered very open and permissive to the rest of the world.
This includes taking a progressive stance on social and ethical issues such as euthanasia, soft drugs, freedom of speech, and LGBT rights.
FAQ: Why are they called “Dutch”?
The people are called Dutch despite their country being called The Netherlands because of the German word “Deutsch,” which means “people”. During the Middle Ages, this term was used to refer to the Germanic people.
Those who lived in the mountainous region, now southern Germany, were called the High Dutch. In contrast, those from the flatlands, which is the present-day Netherlands, were called Low Dutch.
Over time, the Germans have dropped this term, but the people in the Netherlands are still called Dutch.
The Dutch people have strong beliefs and principles that cannot be easily swayed despite the influence, differences in opinions, or even opposition from other groups and nationalities. They value freedom of speech and expression, respect other people’s choices in life, and like to take responsibility for themselves.
Physically, their most striking feature would be their height, as they have been considered the tallest in the world for many years. They tend to be physically fit as well because of their healthy diet and love for sports, exercise, and the outdoors.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.