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A morgen was a unit of measurement of land area in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and the Dutch colonies, including South Africa and Taiwan. The size of a morgen varies from ​12 to ​2 12 acres, which equals approximately 0.2 to 1 hectare. It was also used in Old Prussia, in the Balkans, Norway and Denmark, where it was equal to about two-thirds of an acre (0.27 ha).

The word is usually taken to be the same as the German and Dutch word for "morning". Similarly to the Imperial acre, it was approximately the amount of land tillable in the morning hours of a day by one man behind an ox or horse dragging a single bladed plough. The morgen was commonly set at about 60–70% of the tagwerk (literally "day work") referring to a full day of ploughing. In 1869, the North German Confederation fixed the morgen at a quarter hectare (i.e. 2500 square meters)[1] but in modern times most farmland work is measured in full hectares. The next lower measurement unit was the German "rute" or Imperial rod but the metric rod length of 5 metres never became popular. The morgen is still used in Taiwan today, called "kah"; 1 kah is roughly 2 acres or 9,000 m2.[2]


The following table shows an excerpt of morgen sizes as used in Germany - some morgen were used in a wider area and so they had proper names. It is noteworthy that the actual area of a morgen was considerably larger in fertile areas of Germany, or in regions where flat terrain prevails, presumably facilitating tilling. The next lower measurement unit to a morgen was usually in "Quadratruten" square rods.

German sizes of morgen
Region (Timespan) Name Size in m² original definition (QR = Quadratruten)
- metric - Viertelhektar = vha 2,500 (100 QR)
Homburg 1,906 160 QR
Franconia 2,000
Frankfurt Feldmorgen 2,025 160 QFeldR
Oldenburg 2,256
Kassel Acker 2,386 150 QR
Prussia (1816–1869) Magdeburger Morgen 2,553.22 180 QR
Bremen 2,572 120 QR
Schaumburg 2,585 120 QR
Hanover (before 1836) 2,608 120 QR
Hanover (after 1836) 2,621 120 QR
Cologne Rhineland Rheinländischer Morgen 3,176 150 QR
Bergisches Land Bergischer Morgen 2,132 120 QR
Württemberg (1806–1871) 3,152 384 QR
Frankfurt Waldmorgen 3,256 160 QWaldR
Braunschweig Waldmorgen 3,335 160 QR
Bavaria Tagwerk 3,407 400 QR
Baden 3,600 400 QR
Oldenburg Jück 4,538 160 QR
Danzig ca. 5,000 300 QR
Holstein Tonne (Tønde) 5,046 240 QGeestR
Schleswig-Holstein Steuertonne 5,466 260 QGeestR
Kulmischer Morgen 5,601.17 300 QR
East Frisia Diemat (h) 5,674
Mecklenburg 6,500 300 QR
Altes Land (Harburg & Stade) 8,185
Hamburg 9,658 600 QGR
Kehdingen Marschmorgen 10,477
Altes Land 10,484 480 QR
Land of Hadeln 11,780 540 QR


The Polish terms for the unit were morga, mórg, jutrzyna, the latter being a near-literal translation into old Polish.

Comparison of Area units in Lesser Poland 1791-1876, 1 Franconian morg = 1 wiener morg (system morgi dolnoaustriackiej)
Unit Miara(Unit) Sążeń², (Viennese fathom²) Łokieć² (Viennese ell²)
1 morg (morgen) (= 0.5755 ha) 3 1600 6439.02 5754.64
1 miara (Unit) (= 19.18 are) 533.33 2929.07 1918
1 sążeń² wiedeński (Viennese fathom) 4.0237 3.6
1 łokieć² wiedeński (Viennese el²) 0.9

South Africa[edit]

Until the advent of metrication in the 1970s, the morgen was the legal unit of measure of land in three of the four pre-1995 South African provinces – the Cape Province, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. In November 2007 the South African Law Society published a conversion factor of 1 morgen = 0.856 532 hectares to be used "for the conversion of areas from imperial units to metric, particularly when preparing consolidated diagrams by compilation".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ See de:Morgen (Einheit) – German version of Wikipedia
  2. ^ Andrade, Tonio (2005). "Appendix A: Weights, Measures, and Exchange Rates". How Taiwan Became Chinese: Dutch, Spanish, and Han Colonization in the Seventeenth Century. Columbia University Press.
  3. ^ "Instructions for the Conversions of Areas to Metric". Law Society of South Africa. November 2007. Retrieved 2010-03-10.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Morgen". Encyclopædia Britannica. 18 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 836.