Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

The Blonde vs. Brunette Map of Europe

This map, indicating the varying degrees of blondness in Europe, shows how fair hair gets rarer further away from this core area – towards the south, as one intuitively might presume.

Q: How do you get a blonde out of a tree?


A: Wave

According to this map – and if you really believe that blondes have less brains – a nasty fall like that is more likely to happen in the central parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, where at least 80% of the population is fair-haired, the highest figure in all of Europe.

This map, indicating the varying degrees of blondness in Europe, shows how fair hair gets rarer further away from this core area – towards the south, as one intuitively might presume, but also towards the east, west and even towards the north.

The consecutive bands (coloured in such a way as to approximately represent the ‘average’ hair colour in each area) surrounding the core blonde area in Scandinavia in most cases don’t correspond with national boundaries, but could be taken to represent certain degrees of ethnic variation, often with a possible historical explanation.

  • The highest percentages of fair-haired people can be found around the Baltic Sea (e.g. Denmark, the Polish coast and the Baltic states), making it in effect an almost entirely blonde-bounded lake.
  • Only the German part of the Baltic coastline is remarkably un-blonde.
  • Iceland was settled by mainly Norwegian colonists, and Icelanders still share the same degree of blondness with the largest part of Norway.
  • The southern border of the fairer-haired part of Great Britain seems to correspond quite well with the southern border of the Danelaw, which was ruled and settled by the Danish in the early Middle Ages.
  • The northern border of the 50-79% blonde area in Britain excludes the Highlands, perhaps indicating this was a refuge for the darker-haired Celtic people of Scotland.
  • The darkest-haired part of France seems to correspond with those areas most heavily populated by its more ancient Gallo-Roman inhabitants, lighter-haired regions possibly reflect a later influx of Celts (in Brittany) and a more pronounced settlement of Frankish tribes of Germanic origin (in northern France and down towards Burgundy).
  • Galicia prides itself on its Celtic heritage. Maybe this explains the relative blondness of that north-west corner of Spain.
  • The darker-haired area of Switzerland seems to correspond with the areas where Rhaeto-Roman and Italian are spoken.
  • The blonder area in northern Italy might reflect a larger Germanic, Celtic and/or Slavic component of the local population, a similar area in the heel of Italy, way down south, is more of a mystery.
  • A significant blonder-darker divide cuts through the Balkans, dividing Serbia in two (whilst Montenegro lands on the ‘blonder’ side of the border, and Kosovo on the ‘darker’ side).
  • Romanian areas closest to the Hungarian border are equally blonde – many ethnic Hungarians live in Romania, possibly most of them closest to the border.
  • Moldova, ethnically Romanian, is equally dark-haired.
  • As is an adjacent part of the Ukraine, which for the largest part is as blonde as most of central and eastern Europe (all the way down to Georgia).
  • The darker areas in Russia’s far north (the Kola peninsula) and further east (Siberia) are probably due to the prevalence of native, darker-haired peoples, e.g. the Saami (formerly referred to as the Lapps - see also #481), who also account for the darker area at the very north of the Scandinavian peninsula.
  • I’ve no idea which year this map is from, but it seems fair to say - pun intended - that the larger mobility of people nowadays would make for a more diffuse distribution of hair colouration. Which dovetails nicely with this blonde joke:

    Q: What did the blonde do when she heard that 90% of accidents occur around the home?

    A: She moved.

    --

    The map was sent to me by Faluvégi Balázs from Hungary, and can be found here on eupedia.com, together with other interesting maps showing the distribution of eye-colour, religion, ethnicity, GDP per capita, legal age to purchase and drink alcohol and even the legal status of cannabis.

    Strange Maps #214

    Got a strange map? Let me know at strangemaps@gmail.com.

    The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

    Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

    Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
    Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
    • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
    • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
    • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
    Keep reading Show less

    Climate change melts Mount Everest's ice, exposing dead bodies of past climbers

    Melting ice is turning up bodies on Mt. Everest. This isn't as shocking as you'd think.

    Image source: Wikimedia commons
    Surprising Science
    • Mt. Everest is the final resting place of about 200 climbers who never made it down.
    • Recent glacial melting, caused by climate change, has made many of the bodies previously hidden by ice and snow visible again.
    • While many bodies are quite visible and well known, others are renowned for being lost for decades.
    Keep reading Show less

    Creativity: The science behind the madness

    Human brains evolved for creativity. We just have to learn how to access it.

    Creativity: The science behind the madness | Rainn Wilson, David Eagleman, Scott ...
    Videos
    • An all-star cast of Big Thinkers—actors Rainn Wilson and Ethan Hawke; composer Anthony Brandt; neuroscientists David Eagleman, Wendy Suzuki, and Beau Lotto; and psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman—share how they define creativity and explain how our brains uniquely evolved for the phenomenon.
    • According to Eagleman, during evolution there was an increase in space between our brain's input and output that allows information more time to percolate. We also grew a larger prefrontal cortex which "allows us to simulate what ifs, to separate ourselves from our location in space and time and think about possibilities."
    • Scott Barry Kaufman details 3 brain networks involved in creative thinking, and Wendy Suzuki busts the famous left-brain, right-brain myth.

    New study explores how to navigate 'desire discrepancies' in long term relationships

    With the most common form of female sexual dysfunction impacting 1 in 10 women, this important study dives into how to keep a relationship going despite having different needs and wants in the bedroom.

    NDAB Creativity / Shutterstock
    Sex & Relationships
    • A new study highlights the difficulties faced by women who struggle with decreased sexual desire, and explains how to navigate desire discrepancies in long-term relationships.
    • Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is one of the most common forms of female sexual dysfunction, impacting an estimated 1 in 10 women.
    • Finding other ways to promote intimacy in your relationship is one of the keys to ensuring happiness on both sides.
    Keep reading Show less
    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast