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There are a couple possibilities that merit further investigation: This is an opinion that’s not at all based on facts.
What changed after 1850 that led to this explosive Dutch growth? Drukker at the University of Groningen suggests that it has a lot to do with the distribution of wealth.
As Cecily Layzell writes: The Dutch growth spurt of the mid-19th century coincided with the establishment of the first liberal democracy.
Below: Perhaps my favorite 1960’s guitars, the Domino’s.
I have owned many Domino Californian’s over the years (the VOX Phantom copy). Domino made one of the better quality reproduction guitars in the late sixties.
You’ll notice that there’s several holes in the data set, which I simply extrapolated the trends over.
To add more evidence to the pile: Gap Minder clearly shows that the Dutch income per capita stagnated until the mid-late 19th century, right when the Dutch median height started rising as well. Make sure all of our citizens are wealthy enough to buy healthy food and their children will grow up to be bigger, stronger, and healthier.It’s not as fun an answer as we would’ve hoped for, but at least we can put this “head above water” theory to rest!
It is hard to imagine today, but in the early 1960’s having an electric guitar in your home was rare.Until 1980, the use of growth hormones, both endogenous and exogenous, was completely prohibited in Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Greece.The use of growth hormones was particularly common in the U.K., where beef production was heavily industrialized.The scientific evidence for health risks associated with the use of growth hormones in meat production was, at best, scant.Edit (6/29/2014): Several of my readers have rightly pointed out that although this data explains why many Europeans have grown taller in the past 150 years, it doesn’t necessarily explain why the Dutch are so much taller than the rest of Europe.