Before 1816 weights and measures in Europe were hardly harmonized. Also in the netherlands each region and even each city had its own set of measures. Besides the well know "voet" (foot) and "ton" (barrel), which had a different size in various parts of the country, some others had exotic names like "lood", "schepel", "mutsje", "streep", "mengel" and "wigtje". Each city had its own inspectors to keep an eye on fair trade.
In 1816 the metric system was included in Dutch law. District verification officers (each with their own verification mark) were charged with its supervision. Some 60 years later, this responsibility was taken over by national inspectors.
Act on Weights and Measures of 1937
The task of verification was defined by the Act on Weights and Measures, which served primarily as a guarantee of honest trading. By the Act on Weights and Measures of 1937 the Legal Metrology Service (Dienst van het IJkwezen) was established as a part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, charged with the enforcement of this law.
However, the field of metrology has a much wider scope than that covered by the Act on Weights and Measures. During the eighties, privatization became a clear option. On the one hand because of a general government policy to leave executive tasks as much as possible to the private sector and on the other hand because of the advantage to be able to widen the use of the expertise available in the Legal Metrology Service. As a result of these trends, NMi was established as an independent company on 1 May 1989.