Quick tip – Dutch DNA is often identified as something else

Many Dutch people taking a DNA test are surprised by the ethnicity predictions. Instead of Dutch, they’re predicted to be French, German, English, or Scandinavian.

When you think about the history of North-Western Europe, this is not surprising. The North Sea was the highway of the Middle Ages, with many people traveling for trade or pillage. During the great migrations, whole populations moved across the continent, leaving descendants in different places. And trade between the Netherlands and other countries brought people over to the Netherlands.

For this reason, Dutch DNA is very similar to DNA from people from surrounding countries. As long as the predictions are somewhere in North-West Europe, an unexpected ethnicity prediction is no reason to suspect that the paper tree does not match the biological tree.

Ancestry's ethnicity estimate: 94% Western European

Ancestry’s ethnicity estimate for Yvette

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, MLitt, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist, writer, and lecturer in the Netherlands. She has a Master of Letters in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee, and holds the Certification of Genealogist and Qualified Genealogist credentials. Yvette served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists and won excellence awards for her articles in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. Yvette has been doing genealogy for over 30 years. She helps people from across the world find their ancestors from the Netherlands and its former colonies, including New Netherland. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Jack Taylor says

    The locations where your ancestors came from is a very rough estimate and will change as the data base increases in size. The company I tested with now has reported to me a change in mine without any new test. It seems that some places in the world DNA for Genealogical purposes has become very popular.

    However, the report resulting from comparing the DNA between 2 people is very accurate.

  2. Nancy DeVries Adams says

    I have researched all of my family lines through at least 4th great grandparents and they all came from the Netherlands. On MyHeritage, my DNA results have me at 70% Scandanavian. When I called MyHeritage, a representative told me that their ethnicity estimates go back 2,000 years, so before genealogy records are available. It is interesting that I had more exact DNA ethnicity results on Ancestry.com.

    This article is a good explanation about the history of North-Western Europe and the migrations of people; thank you!

  3. John (Johannes Jacobus) Kabel says

    I just had my 23andMe done as well. Same results: 56 percent Dutch, 11 British, 14 Scandinavian, balance NW Europe. One can adjust the confidence level in their statistical estimation. I moved my result to 96 percent broad NW Europe. It is a largely mathematical exercise. I have name and locations for most ancestors back 7 generations, one source predates William of Orange. We know the names of the Hollandgangers. And now I know my fourth cousin on my father’s side in Alexandria, VA, and a second cousin also in the US somewhere. No named ancestor yet who fell off a Viking longboat or was captured in a raid, tho they are supposed to be 6 generations ago.

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