These are the majestic Dinaric Alps. They’re not a country—they’re a region that spans multiple countries. This region, according to one study, is home to a concentrated population of the tallest people on Earth.
The Dinaric Alps cover Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but they stretch down into northern Albania, and all the way up into Italy. Think of them as the part of Europe tucked away behind the “heel” of Italy’s “boot.” These mountains aren’t the highest in the world, but if you travel in them you probably will find yourself craning your neck a lot. They are sprouting a generation of what could be the world’s tallest people.
A study measuring adolescents in the Dinaric Alps noted that they are taller, overall, than the Dutch. Holland has the distinction of being the world’s tallest country, with their male adolescents averaging 184 centimeters (just a bit over six feet) and their female adolescents averaging 171 centimeters (5 foot 6 inches). Dinaric Alp teenagers, as a group, are topping that height. Individually, it’s more nuanced. While male adolescents average 185.6 centimeters, or just over 6 foot 1 inch, female adolescents are proportionally smaller and tie Dutch adolescents.
If that seems like a small difference in average, it comes from a big difference in density. About 28% of adolescent boys are 190 centimeters (6 foot 2.8 inches) or above. Only about 20% of Dutch teenagers reach that height.
Is anyone interested in checking out this population of Goliaths? I would like to go over there and feel petite for once, but I have a feeling that traveling around the region would involve a lot of hiking.