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(   Guide to Dutch toilet etiquette. Read all about the "inspection shelf"   ( divider line
    More: Scary  
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20497 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Feb 2003 at 2:27 PM (15 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

169 Comments     (+0 »)

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2003-02-04 10:30:56 AM  
"Fear not - we have a solution to one of these issues"

Never, EVER visit Amsterdam. I wonder if they include this article in their travel brochures?
2003-02-04 10:31:12 AM  
When I spent a month in Holland about 4 years ago I kept noticing that all of the urinals had this picture of an actual-size housefly painted on the inside. I wondered about this but dismissed it as possibly some logo of the company that made them. When I came back I was talking with a guy who also had visited Holland and had noticed these fly things as well. Both of us really didn't know what the hell that was.

Enter The Discovery Channel! On some show the title of which escapes me they explained that the little housefly painted on the inside of the urinal was a target. Their studies had shown that if you provide a target that guys (especially drunk ones) are less likely to piss on the floor or walls thus saving substatially on clean-up costs and making the toilets more sanitary.

2003-02-04 10:52:29 AM  
The shelf to which the article referred:
[image from too old to be available]
Speaking for women, what if you are out of pocket change and really have to go?
2003-02-04 11:05:15 AM  
Compared to Asia, it doesn't look like the Dutch have it too bad:
[image from too old to be available]
2003-02-04 11:08:22 AM  
BTW, that bucket beside those chinese toilets are for rinsing your hand after wiping.

I thank God for Charmin.
2003-02-04 11:10:16 AM  
Potty humor rears its ugly head on Fark again!

I always wanted to spend a week or two in Amsterdam at the ...ahem... cafes.

But after seeing Sudie's gis, I'm not so sure now. Maybe a week in Yellowstone would be more fun.

BTW Sudie you sure look great for being the mother of two.
2003-02-04 11:25:37 AM  
Yeah the toilet situation in Europe is weird. The place that brought us the bidet fancy vagina washer has some very strange toilet customs. I saw a lot of public urinals where you stand behind a partition and do your business - while people are walking right by you 2 feet away - not for the pee-shy. Imagine this arrangement at any intersection in an American city. And how would you like to be the lucky person who sits and collects the pee fee?
Then I saw the actual "toilet" which consisted of a hole in the floor with 2 foot impressions in front of it where I guess you put your feet when you squat. In the middle of the room! No paper anywhere. I remember thinking that these Europeans are so educated because they were all carrying newspapers. Then I realized what they were carrying them for.
And these were the "good" public accomodations.
2003-02-04 11:47:29 AM  
...just a few strips of paper to cover the shelf. When you flush, everything on the raft is swept away.

Just like Madonna's film career...

I would like to comment further - I really would, but I've been banned twice for previous potty thread comments (I believe 'overly graphic' was the offense.)

"Inspection shelf".....AHHHHHH!!....

[/having a hard time restraining myself]
2003-02-04 12:16:34 PM  
VINCENT: But you know what the funniest thing about Europe is?

JULES: What?

VINCENT: It's the little differences. A lotta the same shiat we got here, they got there, but there they're a little different.
2003-02-04 12:48:26 PM  
Candypink, great reference.

Yosarian, my local newspaper is not worthy of wiping my....well, you know.

WickedWanda, thanks. You made my day. :)
2003-02-04 01:01:10 PM  
Bump, your comment about Madonna made me laugh until I almost wet myself. Please don't get banned again.

Sudie, you must have a great family, you look happy and content. We call our morning paper The Daily Fishwrap.
2003-02-04 01:06:58 PM  
yuck. I don't even turn around after I poo, much less "inspect" it.
Funny-one of my friends was in London and used a public pay toilet. She spent too long in there I guess, cause after a few minutes the doors fling themselves open! (Aparently to prevent prostitutes from engaging in strange conduct in there)
2003-02-04 01:25:51 PM  
Athenax311 I must respectfully call 'foul' on that one. You don't turn around and inspect?? C'mon... you must've had some that evoked some curiousity.... When your belly's-a-achin, your bowels start a-gurglin', and your sphincter starts a-twitchin' - it is a sign that your weasle is a-knockin' at the door. After some of the close calls I've had - the mystery just demands some closure - I simply have to know what that one looked like.

It's kind of like running across some idiot driver on the road. I have a terribly strong curiousity to just see what they look like - just to put a face with it... Okay - a crappy metaphor, but you follow me,.... right?

[/takes comfort in the anonimity of the internet]
2003-02-04 02:33:46 PM  
What--no discussion on how to use the three shells?
2003-02-04 02:33:54 PM  
Holy crap, did THAT suck!
2003-02-04 02:34:52 PM  
ok that's just weird, and I don't want to think about it any more.
2003-02-04 02:34:59 PM  
Bump "Closure"... I love it
2003-02-04 02:35:06 PM  
Sudie The toilets in Jordan were even worse - same idea, squat, but there was no porcelain involved, only a hole in the cement. If you miss the hole with a #2, you are screwed. And no flushing. For six weeks I had to cart a jug of water to the bathroom with me. Sucked.
2003-02-04 02:35:18 PM  
Ah, nothing like the feet of Allah when you have digestive problems and are leaving Japanese flags everywhere.

good times.
2003-02-04 02:35:43 PM  
crappy metaphor

sorry... just found that funny...
2003-02-04 02:37:38 PM  
Damn Dutch
2003-02-04 02:37:53 PM  
"You know what they call a really good dump in Holland?"


"A royale with cheese."

"[thoughtfully]Royale with cheese..."
2003-02-04 02:38:17 PM  
"The odd shape of the toilet incorporates a shelf that rests above the waterline and acts as an examination table"

are they serious?

The Dutch have issues.
2003-02-04 02:38:51 PM  
try this again...

[image from too old to be available]
2003-02-04 02:39:59 PM  
"For women, the public toilet situation is even worse. The only option is to seek refuge in a restaurant, where by law you must be allowed to use the toilet..."

They certainly don't do that here in MD. I've had to pee outside a restaurant, between 2 cars (smart girls always carry napkins) after a night of drinking cuz I wasn't a customer, therefore, couldn't use their bathroom. It was more of a bar, really. They sucked.
2003-02-04 02:40:23 PM  
A small price to pay for legalized marijuana. . .or is that just cause and effect. Cause frankly, I'd have to be stoned out of my gourd to even consider wanting a Poo Shelf.
2003-02-04 02:40:42 PM  

a very good cross reference!
2003-02-04 02:41:12 PM  
Alot of the older toilets in Korea and Japan are porceline holes in the ground.

One time when I was in the Army in Korea, we had a party on post and Korean nationals were invited, like an open house. The funny thing was, after the party we found shoe prints on the toilet seat. Some Korean didn't know how to shà t sitting down...they had to stand on the toilet seat and squat to shà t.

The thing I hated about shà tting in Japan was, I would have to take my pants completely off. I wasn't skilled enough to squat and miss my pants that were around my ankles.
2003-02-04 02:41:49 PM  
Weaps - here's an article about that "housefly on the urinal" phenomenon...with an interesting usability discussion about the painted fly. An interesting tid-bit from the piece:

"British Victorian Urinals had various 'targets' to aim for, some literally being a target like on an archery range...My favourite was that of a Bee to aim for, much like that of the fly used by the Dutch, but as an (British) English speaker it is worth noting that Latin for Bee is apis, so a rather erudite visual pun in a lavatorial setting is quite unexpected and amusing..."
2003-02-04 02:42:41 PM  
The fly-in-the-urinal is also meant as a scare tactic. It suggests that the place is unclean, and so heroin addicts will go somewhere else to shoot up.

Also common in dutch public washrooms is blue fluorescent lighting, installed to make it harder for heroin users to find a vein, and go elsewhere.

As for the raft, it is entirely necessary. Particularly as dutch washrooms are usually very small, confined spaces with a lack of ventillation. It becomes problematic.
2003-02-04 02:43:33 PM  
"Scuse me Mr. Pedestrian, but can you SPARE A SQUARE ?"
2003-02-04 02:43:46 PM  

Just......... wow.

America needs to take a new role. "The world's policeman" needs to be "the world's janitor/plumber/toiler installer". Seriously, I could go without a car (it'd be rough), I could go without fast food (no real loss), but I doubt I'd last without running water/normal toilet.
2003-02-04 02:43:59 PM  
What were they thinking when they invented this toliet??

"Gee, let's make this as stinky, gross, and uncomfortable as possible for people."

I think I'd rather cop a squat on the street too.
2003-02-04 02:45:39 PM  
Let me get these out of the way:

1) "There are only two things I hate; those who are intolerant of other people's cultures........and the Dutch."

2) "Sorry, I don't speak freaky-deaky dutch. Okay perv boy?"

3) " I don't remember eating any corn!"

Ok... that's better. Thanks.
2003-02-04 02:45:43 PM  
Easy fix for that, Sunbelly - go into the bar. If you smoke, light up, tossing the matches down in front of a stool to "hold your place. Order a beer. Smile sweetly, ask the bartender to hold your stool for you (heh...heh... I said stool...), excuse yourself before the bartender pours, and then get the hell out.

Worked for me in Bawlmer.
2003-02-04 02:46:25 PM  
Try a train in Spain. Right on to the tracks! There was a cafe we really liked in Paris called the cheval something, in marais district. They had a "toilet room" that looked like something outta terminator. Same hole, but everything was brushed steel with rivots.
2003-02-04 02:46:41 PM  
And in the "crushing every straight male Farker's fantasy" we have..."(smart girls always carry napkins)" /sigh
2003-02-04 02:46:56 PM  
" Brilliant gold taps, virginal white marble, a seat carved from ebony, a cistern full of Chanel No. 5, and a flunky handing me pieces of raw silk toilet roll. But under the circumstances I'll settle for anywhere."

how would you like to go diving for heroin filled suppositories in one of those crappers. must be a bit better than the worst toilet in scotland.
2003-02-04 02:47:46 PM  

I spent a year in Thailand in 1970. The toilets in the off-base night clubs were called bombsights. Basically a raised plywood platform with a hole cut in it.

The bathrooms on base were typical American. We had Thai "houseboys" that basically kept the barracks clean. Ever so often, I would walk into a toilet stall, and obviously, one of the houseboys had climbed up on the toilet, squatted down, and let fly. Crap all over the seat, the back of the toilet, the walls of the stall. Must have been some kind of aerial explosion...
2003-02-04 02:47:59 PM  
[image from too old to be available]

"HEH, you dont know what to do with the 3 inspection shelves! HAHA!"
2003-02-04 02:49:25 PM  
I support a war in Iraq to keep our toilets shelf free.
2003-02-04 02:50:31 PM  
Most of the shiat on that stuff is nonsense. I have lived in Holland for fourteen years now and really, every pot since 1985 or so is just straight flush, no inspectionpad.
2003-02-04 02:51:57 PM  
"And in the "crushing every straight male Farker's fantasy" we have..."(smart girls always carry napkins)" /sigh"

Not to be nasty, but would you rather have your girl drip dry? Esp. the ones that aren't wearing undies?
2003-02-04 02:52:39 PM  
I am disgusted and laughing hysterically at the same time.
2003-02-04 02:53:57 PM  
Hmm, sounds to me like the authors of this article haven't been here in Holland for quite some time... 15 years ago or so, you may have found a couple of those 'inspection-shelf toilets', but nowadays they've become a rarity.

Much like the rest of dutch society, toilet-etiquette is becoming more and more American every year. The french on the other hand...
2003-02-04 02:54:14 PM  
Just keep an eye out for those cans with motorized bidets.. Who'd want mechanical gizmos that close to their stones?
2003-02-04 02:54:42 PM  
jesus, i wondered what the hell that shelf was for when i was in the netherlands. i hope i didn't offend the family i was staying with by not brushing it clean. i had a hell of a time figuring out how to flush the things too. the water tank is way above the basin, and there's a pipe running between them. you pull the pipe down to flush it. i swear, i must have spent 10 minutes looking for the handle.
2003-02-04 02:56:49 PM  
When I was in Amsterdam last year, I thought it was just our hostel that had this crazy toilet with a shelf. It's no fun. My friend had the worst time with it. Just as we were leaving our hostel for the train station (at 8AM on Saturday), he decided to take a crap. He goes back inside and takes his time. So I'm standing out there with our luggage for 20 minutes, and I can't go back inside because I don't have the key. I considered going to the Irish pub across the street (open at 8AM because it was the first day of the World Cup) but I was pretty out of it from the food (ribs and steak), drink (lots of beer and whiskey) and weed (far too many joints for our good) we had consumed before getting all of 3 hours of sleep. All the time I'm worried that we will miss our train. When my friend finally comes out, he explains it took so long because after he crapped, the sight and smell of his dookie on the shelf made him barf all over the place.
2003-02-04 02:58:18 PM  

Just saw that again last night on HBO. But wouldn't it be more like "a Royale with corn?"
2003-02-04 02:58:34 PM  
"Not to be nasty, but would you rather have your girl drip dry? Esp. the ones that aren't wearing undies?" my head. Good. Bad. Naughty. Vile. AAAAAAARGH!
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