Rigardus Rijnhout required about five times as much food as most men. His poor family struggled to feed him growing up. Later on, to remedy this, he rented some of his free time as a walking billboard for local companies
The seven-foot, 6.5-inch giant was the second tallest Dutchman ever, after Albert Jan Kramer. He weighed over 500 pounds and wore size 29 shoes. Rijnhout suffered from acromegaly, a hormonal disorder in the pituitary gland. He seemed like an average baby when he was born in 1922, but by the time he was three years old, he’d begun to grow at an accelerated rate.
He became disabled after a bicycle wreck and remained in a wheelchair for the final years of his life. His health deteriorated and he had to be lifted by a crane to the second floor of the hospital where he died from a pituitary tumor at 36 years old.
In June 2011, a life-size bronze statue sculpted by artist Herman Lamers was unveiled in Rotterdam to keep his legend going strong. Considered an underdog, Rijnhout gained notoriety for his stature, but he was often bullied. The Giant of Rotterdam Foundation says Rijnhout is a symbol for growth in the city.
The statue stands in a park close the giant’s old house, which is now a Chinese supermarket, with the same extra large door installed for Rijnhout so many years ago.
Know Before You Go
Five minutes walk from Central Station, in a small but nice park. In the Chinese part of the street.