The duit was a copper Dutch coin worth 2 penning, with 8 duit pieces equal to one stuiver and 160 duit pieces equal to one gulden. In Dutch Indonesia 4 duit pieces were equal to one stuiver. To prevent smuggling, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) ordered special coins with their monogram embossed upon them. Only those pieces were valid in Indonesia. It was once used in the Americas while under Dutch rule.

The name of the coin was preserved for a long time in the 'fourduitcoin' (or plak), because it was worth 4 duiten = half a stuiver (or 2.5 cents).

In the Dutch language, there are many expressions, proverbs and sayings which feature the word 'duit'.

  • "Putting a duit in the bag" (Een duit in het zakje doen) – to contribute something
  • "He is a duit-thief" (Hij is een duitendief) – he is very greedy
  • "He has much shit, but little duit" (Hij heeft veel kak, maar weinig duiten) – he is a boaster
  • "To be courageous like a three-duit haddock" (Moed hebben als een schelvis van drie duiten) – to be cowardly
  • "To give someone of four duit back" (Iemand van vier duiten weerom geven) – to tell someone the truth


The single largest recipient of Dutch duit coins was Java. Ceylon and Malabar did also circulate the coins.[1] The word duit was absorbed into the Malaysian and Indonesian vocabulary, becoming a slang word for 'money', besides wang (Malay) and uang (Indonesian).

The duit is also referred to as the "New York penny" due to its use as a Colonial monetary unit in Dutch New Amsterdam (later New York) and for years later, long after Dutch rule had passed. It was part of the coinage used to purchase the island of Manhattan from the locals.

The Duit circulated also in the duchy of Cleves and Guelders, which may be the reason why in the 18th century the expression kein Deut entered the German language, meaning not a bit.[2]

Non-copper duit

In addition to copper, proof coinage of the duit was also minted in silver and gold.[3]


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