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Old Dutch units of length or distance

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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 lengths of these units varied from place to place. Cardarelli[1] gives an equivalence of 0.2830594 m for the voet in Amsterdam and that value is used in the table below.

Name of unit Translation Value in terms of smaller units Value in terms of the meter Value in terms of United States customary measure
lijne line 0.0019656903 0.0773894 in.
duim “thumb,” inch 12 lijnen 0.0235882833 0.9286726 in.
voet foot 12 duimen 0.2830594 11.1440709 in. = 0.9286726 ft
elle ell 2½ voeten 0.7076485 2.3216814 ft = 0.7738938 yd
roede rod 51/5 ellen 3.6797722 4.0242478 yd = 0.0022865 mi

Note that Cardarelli writes "lyne" rather than "lijne" but the latter seems to be the correct spelling. He also writes "voeten" (which is, apparently, actually the plural form)[2] rather than "voet" (and similarly, "duime" rather than "duim", and "roeden" rather than "roede") and that there were 12 duime in the Amsterdam voet, while the Wikipedia article[2] states that there were 11. The following table shows, according to Wikipedia, the relationships among the units in various localities:

Place Duimen (inches)/voet (foot) Voeten (feet)/roede (rod)
Amsterdam 11 13
Bloois 12
Friesland 12
Gelderland 14
Putten 14
Rijnland 12 12
Schouw 12
's-Hertogenbosch 20

ReferencesEdit

  1. Cardarelli, François (1998). Scientific Unit Conversion. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 3-540-76022-9. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wikipedia article on "Dutch units of measurement"

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