Dutch Units of Measurement - Dutch Metric System

Dutch Metric System

In 1792 the southern part of the Netherlands was incorporated into the First French Republic and in 1807 the rest of the Netherlands was incorporated into what had now become the First French Empire and as a result the Netherlands was forced to accept the French units of measurement. In 1812 France replaced the original metric system with the mesures usuelles.

Under the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Kingdom of the Netherlands which included Belgium and Luxembourg was established as a buffer state against France. Under the Royal decree of 27 March 1817 (Koningklijk besluit van den 27 Maart 1817), the newly-formed Kingdom of the Netherlands abandoned the mesures usuelles in favour of the "Dutch" metric system (Nederlands metrisch stelsel) in which metric units were given the names of units of measure that were then in use. Examples include:

Length

1 mijl (mile) = 1 kilometre (1 statute mile = 1.609 km)
1 roede (rood) = 10 metres
1 el (ell) = 1 metre (1 English ell of 45 in = 1.143 m)
1 palm (hand) = 10 centimetres (1 English hand = 10.16 cm)
1 duim (thumb/inch) = 1 centimetre (1 inch = 2.54 cm)
1 streep (line) = 1 millimetre (1 English line = 2.12 mm)

Area

1 bunder = 1 hectare
1 vierkante roede (square rod) = 1 are or 100 m2

Volume

1 wisse or teerling el = 1 cubic metre.
1 mud (bushel) = 100 litres
1 kop (cup) = 1 litre (1 Australian cup = 250 ml)
1 maatje (small measure) = 100 millilitres
1 vingerhoed (thimble) = 10 millilitres

Weight

1 pond (pound) = 1 kilogram (1 pound avoirdupois = 0.454 kg)
(though in modern colloquial speech, 500 g is also known as a pond.
1 ons (ounce) = 100 grams (1 ounce avoirdupois = 28.35 g)
1 lood (lead)= 10 grams
1 wigtje (small weight) = 1 gram
1 korrel (grain) = 0.1 gram

In 1816, the Netherlands and France were the only countries in the world that were using variations of the metric system. By the late 1860s, the German Zollverein and many other neighbouring countries had adopted the metric system, so in 1869 the modern names were adopted (Wet van 7 April 1869, Staatsblad No.57). A few of the older names remained officially in use, but they were eliminated when the system was further standardised by the 1937 Act on Weights and Measures (IJkwet), though the pond is now used colloquially to mean half a kilogram.

In 1830 the Belgians revolted against Dutch rule and under the Treaty of London of 1839 Belgian independence was recognized. The boundary agreed in 1839 is the current Belgian – Dutch boundary.

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