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Why Does Amsterdam Have Outdoor Public Urinals?

A vast number of businesses in the United States do not restrict the use of their bathroom facilities. They don’t even charge for using them, in most cases. Because of this, it might seem unusual and even distasteful to consider that some places, such as Amsterdam, have outdoor public urinals. There would be no need for them here, but there are several reasons why they are practical in Amsterdam.

  • Fines for public urination- You would much prefer to use an outdoor public urinal than face the hefty fine of € 90 if caught urinating into a canal or elsewhere in Amsterdam.
  • Hazards of public urination- Even with outdoor public urinals, there are still those that choose to use a canal, even though falling in accidentally accounts for hundreds of ambulance trips and even a few deaths each year. Those incidents would be more common without outdoor public urinals.
  • Restaurants and bars charge to use the restroom- The Red Light District, in particular, is heavily occupied by bars that either do not offer public urinals or charge a fee, with a higher one for those that aren’t a patron. Without outdoor public urinals, there would be far more public urination.
  • Keeps urine out of the canals- While the original outdoor public urinals did drain into the canals, today they are connected to the wastewater system instead.

While it might seem archaic to have outdoor public urinals in as fine a city as Amsterdam, the good news is that they’ve improved on them over the years. For example, there are some units that drop down below during the daytime and rise up into place during the evening hours when the bars are open. Incidentally, Amsterdam is not the only place to find pop-up public urinals, as they have also been installed in London’s nightlife district.

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