Aaaaaarrrrgghh!! We stopped for lunch one day at a small cafe/bar on Leidseplein. After a few glasses of Amstels a visit to the boys room became necessary. However, the first of us returned quickly from the back of the bar to say that we simply had to look at the urinals. Heck, it is very unusual for blokes to go to the loo in groups, but I humoured him and walked down the stairs to take a look.
These were indeed very strange mens urinals! You have to pee into a fierce open mouth with sharp pointy teeth. Noooooo thankyoooo!! But very unusual and stylish all the same :-) Now, I wonder what surprises were waiting in the Ladies room...
LOCATION: the small bar/cafe was on the northeast side of Leidsplein, next to the rows of parked bikes. Immediately next door to the Grand Cafe, I think.
There are very few public toilets in Amsterdam - the only ones we really saw were the green iron urinals that are scattered around the city and which, of course, can only be used by men. Cafes and restaurants usually have loos for customers' use, and there is often a charge of around 30 cents for using them. So my tip is not to leave it until you're bursting, and always keep some small change in your purse!
An interesting aspect of grungy, dark cornered areas on Amsterdam, is the city's methods to keep the city clean and odor-free by teaching those drunken fools who think every little corner is their personal urinal. Most of the buildings near the main squares in Amsterdam are equipped with "pee deflectors" that were installed by the Dutch government. This was instituted from a late 1980's survey that was conducted asking Amsterdam-ians what disturbes you most about tourists ... their answer "they pee on our buildings and stench up our alleys". 80% of the residents stated this. So city hall devised the implementation of pee deflectors that would splash the pee back on the pisser to teach them a lesson. Most of these are triangular shaped metal sheets that protrude and are angled to splash pee back on the man conducting the act. Some have sharp barbs to conduct a lesson of pain on the perpetrator. In the 1980's they had electrical charges running through some of the deflectors so that the law-breaker would be shocked, but some accidents happened and it was determined inhumane. In some of the main squares they installed open-air urinals for the men. Women were upset that they had no wear to pee in public so they staged a "*** off" on some of the bridges. In response, the city created sheltered toilettes for women, but they were taken over by heroine users and drug dealers so had to be boarded up. Now there is no place in public for women to pee, and they get a heftier fine if caught squatting than a man gets for peeing in the corner.
If you have to find a toilet and you don't find... Try harder and don't urinate on the streets !
The citizens don't like it , the police can give you 50 euros penalty.
There is a problem finding a public toilet and the pubs/coffee/restaurants will let you use the toilet for 30-50 cents (not all of them of course).
This is just something that blows my mind. Men can just walk up to these urinals (wherever they may be sitting) and urinate in the open air in front of everyone. What's really disgusting is that they have this plastic tube running into the drain right on the street! SICK!!!! And men, I'm not jealous that women can't do this type of thing!
I'm not going to tell you not to *** on the street, because sometimes you just gotta go and there's no toilet near....
Just...be very careful! Amsterdam police officers show no mercy when it comes to street urinating and you will be fined about 50 euros I think.
So just look for a dark spot and check that there are no cops around ;)
Not really a warning or a danger, but useful if you have to pee: Around Damark Street you'll find urinals on the sidewalk. Yes, if you have to pee, no need to leave your friends waiting while you look for a restroom, just pee in the street. (Too bad I don't have a picture)
Not so much a warning of danger as a warning of unsanitary conditions. I guess the drinkers have trouble finding a place to relieve themselves because there is a STRONG smell of urine prominent throughout. The only real salvation is that the aroma of marijuana in the air pretty much covers that smell. They seem to have acknowledged this problem and are addressing it by installing portable 4-sided open urinals along the canals. That's still a little too open for some people though, isn't it Randy?
Never, ever urinate in the street. If the police doesn't get you, we will. We, inhabitants of the Red Light District, don't want to see our houses crumble down by human acids and if we see anybody peeing, he'll get a bucket full of water or worse.
TIP: if you have to go, just walk in a bar and ask if you can use the restroom. Every bar MUST allow you to use it. IT IS THE LAW! Any contribution for using the restroom is voluntary, you are not obliged to pay for it. Even if you are not a visitor of the bar or café.