Amsterdam’s Outdoor Urinals

Too many drinks can catch up with people everywhere, so Amsterdam came up with a wonderful solution to the great outdoor urine stream epidemic that challenges our cities. Guys still have it easier and the man below drunkenly approves with a resounding thumbs up. Amsterdam’s outdoor urinals…sponsored by…Estee Lauder?

outdoor urinals
Queens Day (Koningsdag) in Amsterdam (soon to become King’s Day) celebrates the Dutch monarch’s birthday. Many people dress up in orange and drink heavily, resulting in quite a lot of males urinating outdoors. To alleviate this problem, the Dutch set up additional four man outdoor urinals to reduce urine streams in alleys and around people’s doorsteps. While sober, this was not an endeavour I was keen to partake in. But add some beers and desperation to the equation and I was happy to give it a go!

outdoor urinals
During summer the Netherlands is an underrated country to enjoy some great beach destinations like Texel island, Zandvoort Van Zee near Amsterdam and Scheveningen beach near The Hague. There are loads of great bars and restaurants, that come complete with proper toilet facilities, but if you’re not a customer the Dutch generally frown upon using their establishment as a public toilet. Solution? Set up picturesque 4 man outdoor urinals on the beach boardwalk, in plain sight of men, women and children.

Beautiful sunset to utilize the outdoor urinal at Scheveningen beach, Netherlands
Beautiful sunset to utilize the outdoor urinals at Scheveningen beach, Netherlands

Outdoor urinals are not just temporary fixtures in Dutch cities and beaches however, as Amsterdam also has permanent enclosed green coloured outdoor urinals along several of the beautiful canals in the city centre. Because they’re green, they’re actually not so obvious, unless you walk by and smell one. I always told Bell they should make the colour red, so they stand out a mile away- she always disagreed.

Our current home of Dublin has recently implemented a few sporadic outdoor urinals as peak drinking times tend to see many streams of urine permeate the city streets. But Amsterdam is still far ahead of the curve here, as many alley corner and doorways actually have urine splash back guards- so if you think you can just pee on someone’s door, your pants might serve as a reminder that this is a bad idea. Dubliners who wake up to Sunday morning pee (or vomit) near their door, could really make use of this simple deterrence.

What are your thoughts on potentially putting outdoor urinals in your city? Perhaps outdoor urinals in parks, beaches and high traffic areas in cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles could be a great way to get rid of those pesky urine streams.

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5 thoughts on “Amsterdam’s Outdoor Urinals

  1. As a woman, I hate it that there is this type of solution only for men! It’s still very hard for women to find a toilet on days like Queensday…. Although there are some public toilets suitable for women now that are a bit like the bathrooms in Formula 1 hotels: you use them for like 50 cents and then when you close the door, the whole thing gets cleaned automatically with soap, anti bacterial stuff and water, I suppose. But even the ones that are only suitable for men I prefer over having none because it avoids the urine on the streets.

    1. Hey there, thanks for the comment! Yeah women are almost always at a disadvantage on this front. But have you seen this? http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2013/08/urinal-for-women-selling-out-on-groupon/

      It’s certainly not ideal, but if you’re a Dutch woman who’s had too many drinks on Queen’s Day, or another major event, and you’re desperate, you can still take advantage of the outdoor urinals 😉

      I also forgot to mention the new models of permanent outdoor urinals in Amsterdam. There was that futuristic silver cylindrical 1 man unit right in the middle of Rembrantplein that would only come up from the ground on busy nights. During the day you might think it was a man hole cover. I would imagine these are the future of outdoor urinals! 😉

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