Amsterdam sets up 350 toilets for King's Day; Senior center using toilets for fundraiser
During King's Day, people from across the Netherlands flock to Amsterdam to join flea markets, parties, and open-air concerts. While this generally remains festive and cheerful, also causes problems for local residents, with public urination and a lack of facilities for women being primary concerns. To address this issue, the city decided to install a higher number of toilets this year, with hundreds of public toilets placed in over 100 locations mainly in the city center, however it still is not enough, argued one senior center.
The municipality set up nearly 350 toilets throughout the city this year, an increase of 75 compared to the previous year. These facilities will include 180 urinals, 140 seated toilets, and 23 accessible toilets. Special flags and banners will be displayed to guide visitors to these locations. The toilets were scheduled to be cleaned and emptied an extra time after King's Night, ensuring their availability for a longer period on King's Day.
In comparison, only 107 toilets were available in 2019, with seven designated for women. Last King's Day, residents living in the Jordaan expressed their frustration as their neighborhood was turned into one big “public toilet,” AT5 reported. "Pee even flew into the hallway because people pissed against the door," a woman told the local broadcaster. “This has been a problem for years,” she added.
Others have decided to open their toilet facilities to the public. One senior meeting center in the Jordaan neighborhood decided to put their toilets at people's disposal and request a 1 euro contribution for their use. The money will be used to purchase upgrades for the center, known as SOOJ, De Stichting Ontmoetingsruimte Ouderen Jordaan.
“Maybe a new sound system,” a volunteer told NL Times. They decided to open their doors because they said they believe there are not enough public toilets in the Jordaan, one of the most popular areas visited during King's Day. “Especially for women,” he remarked. “They sometimes have to wait for one hour to pee.”
He added that public urination is a real problem in the neighborhood. The issue of limited toilet facilities during King's Day has been a concern in Amsterdam for several years, particularly for women, young children, and people with disabilities. Because of the limited number of toilets, men are also more likely to urinate in the canals, rivers, and almost any other public area.
Public urination is illegal in the Netherlands, and someone who urinates in public can face a fine of 140 euros. For this year’s King’s Day, signs have been placed in areas to alert people of the ban and the possible fines. Thom van der Linde, responsible for the city's additional signage during events, told Het Parool, "Last year, everything from public gardens to cars was assaulted in the Jordaan by public urinators, so we often hear now that it's good that there are signs this year.