This page describes an obsolete unit.

The unit described on this page was in use prior to modern methods of precision measurement. It was based on a standard which is no longer available, and which is not capable of being calibrated against modern measurement units. Therefore, the equivalence to modern SI units or to current United States customary units can only be considered approximate.

The duim (meaning "thumb," but best translated as inch) was a unit of length in the old Dutch system of lengths. It was intended to be about the width of the top phalanx of the thumb of an adult man[1].

The length of the duim varied from place to place; Cardarelli[2] gives the Amsterdam voet (which he calls "voeten," actually the plural form of the word) as 0.2830594 m = 11.1440709 in. = 0.9286726 ft , and the duim (which he calls "duime") as one twelfth of that, which would make it 0.02358828 m = 0.9286726 in. .

According to Wikipedia[1], the following were the lengths of some of the various duimen in use in the Netherlands prior to metrication:

  • one Amsterdam inch (Amsterdamse duim) was 2.57393 cm = 1.013358 in. = 0.084447 ft .
  • one Gelderland or Nijmegen inch (Gelderse of Nijmeegse duim) was 2.7 cm = 1.063 in. = 0.089 ft .
  • one Rijnland inch (Rijnlandse duim) was 2.61 cm = 1.028 in. = 0.086 ft .


  1. 1.0 1.1 Wikipedia article on "Dutch units of measurement"
  2. Cardarelli, François (1998). Scientific Unit Conversion. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 3-540-76022-9. 

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