Student - 10 september 2015

Dutch design: the toilet

When we arrive in a new country and intend to study and live there for a while, some of us will pay attention to a fairly important and essential item: the toilet.

Toilets in the Netherlands are unique. First, we have to pay to use a public toilet in the Netherlands. In some countries, the use of public toilets is free because these countries consider it as a natural human need. I found it interesting when my friend bought food at a fast food restaurant in the Netherlands and they gave a kind of voucher for using the toilet. In my country, we have ‘pay toilets’ as well, but this kind of voucher is new to some of us, and so is paying into a machine instead of giving cash to the person in charge.

If we want to identify any diseases we may suffer from, the shelf in a Dutch toilet makes it easier

Secondly, the Dutch toilet, which does not use much water, turns out to be a different shape. The reason for its unusual design is interesting. If we want to identify any diseases we may be suffering from, the shelf in a Dutch toilet makes it easier to examine our faeces or urine, or to take a specimen for analysis. Toilet design may be a simple thing, but when I think of the purpose behind it, I get the impression that the Dutch pay attention to detail. No doubt there are many other unique features of this country that will be interesting to learn about.
Riana Wulandari, MSc student of Food Safety, from Indonesia

Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience of going Dutch? Send it in! Describe an encounter with Dutch culture in detail and comment on it briefly. 300 words max. Send it to and earn twenty-fi ve euro and Dutch candy.

NL: HET DESIGN-TOILET De net in Nederland gearriveerde Riana valt een paar dingen op aan het toilet. Vooral de vorm van de pot is bijzonder. Je behoefte blijft namelijk op een plateautje liggen. De reden voor dit design, zo heeft Riana geleerd, is dat je je uitwerpselen en plas kan examineren om te zien of je niks onder de leden hebt. Dat zelfs over zoiets simpels als een wcontwerp wordt nagedacht doet vermoeden dat Nederlanders veel aandacht besteden aan details.