Yes, that’s right in Amsterdam you can go pee in the open on the sidewalk. Many might think this is a crude and disgusting way for a city to handle public bathrooms. However, the clever Dutch might be on to something. Not only are these toilets free but they cut down on public urination on streets and side walks. Amsterdam is known for its more open-minded approach to issues in society than most places. For example, its famous Red Light and sex district is home to many prostitutes and sex shops. It is also very popularly known for its liberal use of marijuana in many coffee shops scattered throughout the city.
Most bathrooms in Europe cost money and can be quite expensive depending on what city you are in. It is so rare that the BBC actually did a story on Paris installing free public restrooms in the city. In fact, free public restrooms might start becoming more popular in Europe because of the increasing problem of public urination. For example, a city in Ireland is having such a problem with people urinating in public that they proposed hiring urine wardens. They hoped to discourage people from public urination by handing out fines and reporting them to the police.
Amsterdam may be considered a visionary by not only creating toilets that are free to the public, but are also little maintenance to the city. They are becoming so popular, that there is a Facebook group for people who have used the urinals.
Two Americans who have a blog travel around the world and write about their experiences on a blog site I found called Travelpod. They blog about Amsterdam multiple times and take a few pictures of people enjoying the urinals.
The Dutch are also pretty creative, almost artistic, when it comes to urinals, they make sure people want to hit their target. In a blog I found called nudge writes about urinals that have a tiny black fly painted on the toilet to improve accuracy. The article jokes that the fly is there to give men something to aim for while they are using the bathrooms in airports and other public places.
Amsterdam may not be the first place to come up with this ingenious idea. In a blog called Say No to Crack, it cites China as the first place to install public urinals meant for out in the open daytime use. Germany also has similar free public toilets, although they are not quite out in the open as urinals in Amsterdam are.
Are these places on to something? Or is it too disgusting to imagine walking down the sidewalk and seeing someone peeing right in front of you? Either way, you have to admit it would be fun to try something so out of the ordinary.
But where are the free toilets for women? Well, I guess that will be Amsterdam’s next challenge.
For another perspective of the public urination problem check out fellow blogger Monica Germinario’s post PiPi Problem in France.