Finding a public toilet when travelling can become a holiday obsession. You’re in an unknown city; you don’t know you’re way around. One thing you can be sure of: when you’re looking for a public toilet, you won’t be able to find one.
A Dutch woman has recently been fined for urinating in an alleyway in Amsterdam, when she could not find a public toilet in the city. The offence is known as wildplassen in Dutch. The case has highlighted the discrepancy between the number of public urinoirs available for men and the number of equivalent facilities available for women.
In Britain, the fine for being caught short in public can be £45 under a fixed penalty notice, or greater if the case is taken to court under the 1986 Public Order Act.
The French are attempting to combat al fresco weeing with a poster campaign:
Surely there is a better solution: build more public toilets. Signpost them clearly. Keep them maintained, safe and fit for use.
Although the colours of these toilets would suggest that they were encountered in France, they are actually located in a square in central Oslo. Clean, convenient, even humorous: it can be done.
© E. C. Glendenny
Travel writer, E. C. Glendenny, attempts to maintain a ladylike discretion at all times.