There clearly is (or has been) a problem with men and their bladders in Amsterdam.
Whether this is linked to inebriated gentlemen falling into canals whilst obeying a call of nature I cannot say.
Nevertheless the city has provided metal 'pissoirs' at strategic points.
It is thought so important that gentlemen find the appropriate facilities that it is necessary, on occasion, to signpost them.
I have to say I noticed no such signs (or conveniences) for ladies anywhere I wandered, other than within the station and cafes/bars/restaurants/museums etc. What this tells us about male and female continence or incontinence I would not like to say.
*A further warning for ladies*: If you are wandering along the canalside, enjoying the view, and you suddenly hear the sound of trickling water do not, as I did, look around to see where it is coming from. You may (as I did) get quite another, and entirely unexpected, view! :-)
It seems that many gentlemen still fail to spot either the pissoirs or the signs pointing them out (see tip above).
This must cause them some difficulty, but causes far more difficulties (and annoyance) for the owners of properties with convenient recesses.
I spotted the metal shielding in the photo in more than one location. By creating a 'splashback' effect, I am sure they prove an effective deterrent to phantom wee-ers.
Mind you, that might mean more gentlemen fall into the canals..........
I think women are generally out of luck here, but understand that there are some models of urinals that are “female friendly,” but from photos I have seen, a woman would probably want 3 or 4 friends shielding her from public view. Evidently there are quite a number of these public conveniences around Amsterdam with more in the areas of the Red Light District and bars. There got to be a problem with men relieving themselves in doorways and sides of buildings so Amsterdam, instead of trying the expensive and doubiously effective alternative of policing it, provided a more acceptable outlet. Strangely there was one just in front of our hotel which I had to investigate.
There are 2 different kinds of pissoirs in Amsterdam----this is the one where basically you are pissing on your shoes in public behind a round metal guard-----placed regularly around Amsterdam for the gents use....
At first I wasnt sure what these were but the are obviously only for men. This is ingenious though. We need these in LA. I saw some guy peeing into one of these and I thought "What the he@*!"
Then of course Rob figured he needed to pee too. Of course.
The cleanest toilet around is at the Central Train Station at track 2A.
It's 50 Eurocents admission, but worth while.
Downtown during daytime just go to the 4th floor of the V&D department store or make a stopover at the many Amsterdam Café's (with varying facilities though).
Women are a bit discriminated, because men can make use a the typical Amsterdam "Krul" pissoirs, you find on many downtown locations.
The green pissoirs here in Amsterdam never fail to bring to mind the old joke about the Admiral and the Field Marshall at the annual Combined Services Dinner:
As the Field Marshall finishes his business with a quick shake and a rezip and heads towards the door the Admiral admonishes him, "Excuse me Sir! At Dartmouth we were taught to wash our hands after using the toilet."
To which the Field Marshall responds, "Actually Dear Chap, at Sandhurst we were taught not to pee on our hands in the first place!"
Ha, OK "Toilet Humour"! but the point is that the green pissoirs are just that, so follow the Field Marshall's example ;P
I do find them funny. they are placed on friday and removed sunday so only for the weekends when people going out.
Now they need to figure something out for woman.
This one is at the blauwe brug between rembrandtplein and waterlooplein
The Dutch do care about people's health and the smell of the city. As they don't like men to go pee in a random place, they built the green "cages" around the city as a public toilet. However, as a woman, I feel it's rather unfair cos all these public toilets are for men only...where are we women supposed to go pee then? Hold it till home?
There are several "urinals" around the center of Amsterdam. They are metal half circles that cover only your middle part. So you shouldn't be surprised to see a guy watching the street scene around him as he urinates in one of these. And of course the urine just flows to the ground below him... but that's better than the in the canals.
I think one of the most interesting things I've come across in my travels, is the fly in the urinal. Well, no I didn't personally come across it. But I did hear about it from collegues. Why is there always a fly painted on the porcelain of urinals?
A bit of research taught me that the Dutch manufacturers realized that the fly nearly always became a "target" for men using the facility. And the fly is positioned in precisely the right place for minimal spillage or splashback.
Clever those Dutch!
Well not really, but in another stroke of social tolerance, AmDam has placed free standing "urinals" in public. They are basically walls with a backstop. Four people can use them at once, and besides the part of you that is facing the "wall", you are out there peeing in public. One such urinal was right int he middle of an intersection! But again, they realized that instead of wasting money and resources on prosecuting people who have to pee, lets just make it clean and safe! WTG AmDam...
if you're a bloke, and had a few and don't want to get too close to the edge of the canal in case you fall in mid-pee. Or even if you are another "colourful local" and need somewhere to get changed in a hurry!
When you gotta go, you gotta go and in Amsterdam, being a guy has its advantages. You'll see these public urinals on the street, so instead of yellowing up the canals, you can take care of your business right here, with all the world watching as you shake the dew off the lilly.
well its not really cultural as such but the one tip I would give is that you carry plenty small change as there are very few public toilets in Amsterdam and those that there are mostly charge (even in MacDonalds etc). It was usually about 20 or 25 cents..
Also be very careful crossing roads in the city as its the bikes you really need to watch out for. They often don't stop at traffic lights and seem to rule the road over the cars and trams!