On Nov. 23, 2005 I moved to The Hague from Washington, DC. This is my new Dutch life.


If You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go

Europeans have a different perspective on public toilets than the US. Whereas we don't really have them, Europeans push the the limits of modernism with innovations in lavatory design*.

Paris features self-cleaning pay toilets. When you're done with your business and exit the WC, high-powered jets hose it down, disinfecting it for the next customer. The Swiss have a public toilet enclosed in two-way mirrors.

I guess the Dutch can't be bothered with such trivialities as doors. This toilet is in The Hague's city center, right outside a church.


Though I haven't seen anyone use that toilet, I have seen two grown men urinate in the middle of the day in front of everyone. One guy (thankfully he was drunk and a little nutty so he has an excuse) answered the call of nature on the square right out front of our apartment. The second guy took leave right next to a tram stop. That's high class.

Sure sure, I'm most definitely an uptight American, and I have a particular thing against dirty, public places (is a reason I can never truly enjoy NYC). B-'s brother laughed at me for bemoaning the garbage that litters my neighborhood's streets casting off my criticism as, "Yeah, but Americans are like that."

My response to that is this: What's wrong with a little pride of place? How about a little consideration for the rest of us who live here? Why can't you Dutchie's pick up your dog poop, put your garbage in the trash bins and pee in private? Yeah sure, the Randstad is a cramped place, but if billions of Japanese can do it, you can too. Europeans may have a deep-rooted history of living in squalor, but that doesn't mean it has to be that way.

Perhaps I should do as Are Seven and the Washington Post suggest and shame them.

* Real props go to the Japanese who have heated toilet seats.



Blogger soo doh nim said...

A door would be nice. A screen, perhaps, if they're worried about homeless folks and vandals.

For my money, the French achieved the apex of accommodating male urination needs with the pissoirs. When were they invented?

Let's see. Wikipedia has no entry. That means they don't exist. My mistake. ;)

3:06 PM GMT+2

Blogger akaijen said...

You mean these? What would Georgia O'Keefe say?

8:55 PM GMT+2


Post a Comment

<< Home