Amsterdam still struggles with 'where to go'

 

Three years after a woman got wide publicity when she appealed a €140 fine for 'wild peeing' on grounds that the city's lack of facilities gave her no choice, and after a hundred years of on and off discussion of the issue, Amsterdam admits it is still far from a solution.

Two years ago, the City Council set a standard for improvement, mandating that no place in the city center and busy pedestrian areas should be more than 500m from public facilities. At present, that goal is far from met, with 112 open WCs, but only 56 are usable by women, and only 50 have wheelchair access.

The figures come from an 'open toilets access' report prepared for the Council. The report found that except around the Centraal railroad station and two or three other spots, nightlife areas in the city are all more than 500m from an accessible toilet. Of the accessible toilets, it was found, only 34 are free, with the others charging anywhere from 20 cents to a Euro.

A group calling itself the Toilet Alliance has been lobbying for improvement of the situation as the city recovers form the coronavirus pandemic, pointing out that having more facilities means people can stay out longer, helping with economic recovery. Their spokesperson told press that "Amsterdam, like many Dutch cities, is lagging far behind other international cities in toilet policies. The municipality should not only focus on costs, but also look at societal benefits."

Image: Men-only public urinal on Amsterdam street (Brbbi/Wikimedia)

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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