Fact Check: A Pic Shows Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte Seemingly Towering Over Putin

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images
Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images


A photo authentically shows Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte towering over Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Rating: True
Rating: True


The photo was taken in June 2013.


On March 31, 2024, a photograph of Vladimir Putin shaking the hand of an apparently much-taller man went viral on Reddit. "The Dutch Prime minister makes Putin look like an absolute toddler," the post's author noted:

This was a real photo taken in June 2013, when Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte met with Putin at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Another photograph taken by Russian state media outlet Sputnik captured the same handshake with this caption:

June 20, 2013. Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte greet each other at a meeting at the 17th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum at Lenexpo.

While perspective may exaggerate the apparent difference in height between the two men, it is factual that Rutte is 9 inches taller than Putin: Rutte is 6-feet-4, while Putin is 5-feet-7. Another photograph from the same event captured both men at an even angle:

Rutte is one of Europe's longest-serving prime ministers. At the time of this reporting, he remained the Dutch prime minister in a caretaker role; his ruling coalition dissolved in 2023, and he was set to leave office when a new government was elected.

Because the photograph is unaltered, the claim that it represents the actual height difference between Putin and Rutte is true.


Chiu, Leo. "How Tall Is Russian President Vladimir Putin?" Kyiv Post, 21 Jan. 2024,

Crisp, James. "The Dutch Are the World's Tallest People – but They Are Shrinking." The Telegraph, 17 Sept. 2021.,

Klimentyev, Mikhail. "Vladimir Putin Meets with Mark Rutte in St. Petersburg." Sputnik Mediabank, 20 June 2013,

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte Meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg Stock Photo - Alamy. Accessed 2 Apr. 2024.

Moses, Claire, and Dan Bilefsky. "Dutch Government Collapses Over Plan to Further Limit Immigration." The New York Times, 7 July 2023.,