Saturday, May 1, 2010

Groningen : Noord-Nederland (The Netherlands)

The oldest document referring to Groningen's existence dates from 1040. However, the city already existed long before then: the oldest archaeological traces found are believed to stem from the years 3950 BC–3720 BC, although the first major settlement in Groningen has been traced back to the 3rd century AD. Originally a part of Frisia, Groningen became a part of the Frankish Empire around 785.

Low Saxon is the vernacular language of the area as opposed to Low Franconian dialects spoken in the western Netherlands and Belgium.

Low Saxon in the Netherlands

  • Sample :
Full scale

  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 :
Light complexion (medium light hair, light eyes, ...), brachymorphic, general robust features, squared-box face, high and broad forehead, little and broad nose that can get concave, deep jaw, wide-set eyes
~ Borreby

A very common type in Northern Europe, it is well representated in this area. It'll be interesting to detect where in the Netherlands Borreby phenotypes are best widespread : are linguistic divisions an illustration of distinct ethno-cultural areas ?

- Type 2 : Light complexion (blonde hair with ash-blonde shades, ...), leptomorphic, general robust features, high forehead, rather wavy nose, large and strong jaw, pointy chin, close-set eyes
~ Nordid

Those individuals constitute the basis for an archetypal "North Germanic" phenotype. Darker and dinaromorphic individuals remind us of the infamous "horsy" phenotype found in Dutch-speaking Belgium.

  • Final morphotypes :


  1. Hi, I'm a great fan of physical anthropology and I love your blogs. I have a curious question and I hope you'd excuse me because I'm a novice in these matters. Why are almost all Borreby men depicted as bald or balding? Is that a very common Borreby trait only? I can imagine the high forehead would give an impression of a receding hairline, but I would love to see what Borreby men would look like with a full head of hair.

  2. I don't have any definite answer as only genetics could help us on that matter. It could just be that aged people tend to be more brachycephalic (fat deposits, ...) : consequently, my classifications would be biased as old people would fall into my Borreby category hence the over-representation of balding men.

    Another solution could be that bald people appear to have high foreheads hence why I unwillingly and instinctively classify them under the Borreby category.

    Yet, I can't help noticing a pattern in real life between baldness and round-headed types. I'm clueless.

  3. In Groningen there are lot of Borreby type's and i know that because i live in Groningen and see them every day


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