tønde [Danish]

Literally, barrel or cask.


In Denmark, Middle Ages – 20th century, various units of capacity. In 1683, the weights and measures law of King Christian V fixed the sizes of three tønder in terms of the pot, defined as ¹⁄₃₂ cubic fod.

Unit Defined as Equivalents Used for
korntønde 144 potter 139.121 liters (about 3.95 U.S. bushels) peas, malt, meal, grain, fruit, lime, charcoal
salttønde 176 potter 170 liters salt, bark, coal
øltønde 136 potter 131.5 liters (about 34.7 U.S. gallons) oil, butter, honey, mead, tallow, soap, meat, fish, whale oil, cod liver oil


In Denmark, a unit of land area, Middle Ages – present, originally in concept the amount of land that would be sown with a tønde of seed; a seed measure of land. The law of 1683 defined it as 14,000 square alen, about 5516.2 square meters (approximately 1.363 acres).

United Nations, 1966.

Tønde in this sense is actually shortened form of tøndeland. There were a number of tøndelander; the one above is the tønde sædeland, as distinct from the tønde hartkörn, a land measure, 28,369 square meters (about 7.1 acres). Perhaps not used in the 20th century. Please see the chart of pre-metric Danish land measures for a fuller explanation.

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