De Kruls of Amsterdam

De Krul means, public urinal in Dutch language.

This kind of public urinals exist in Amsterdam since 1880. Their design is still more or less the same today as it was back then. Some of them are designed for one person only and some can be used by two, or three people at the same time.

They are mostly made to prevent people from peeing in the Amsterdam canals. Did you know that on average 15 people die annually, while peeing into Amsterdam canals?

Most of them during the night time. People are drunk, it’s dark, their blood pressure is low, they loose their balance, the water is cold and they are paralyzed within minutes as soon as they fall. These deaths are very easy to spot though, because they are founded with the zippers opened.

Therefore, you should always use De Kruls. Amsterdam is very proud of its own beautiful ”De Kruls”, the curled pissoir, or urinals as they say in English.

By having so many of them, the city of Amsterdam proves how much it cares about the people in general and about  their biological needs.

Finding a public toilet in Amsterdam is not an easy task. If you think popping into a bar or restaurant to ask politely if you may use their restroom, you need to know that at most of the bars will just say no to you, or they will charge you up to €1 to take a simple piss.

Many boys and men use trees, buildings, churches and monuments and canals to relief themselves of that annoying pressure on their bladders.

Be careful though because the wild peeing as we call it in Amsterdam could set you around 90 euros in fines if you get caught by police or city officials.

So if you are about to use De Krul, while in Amsterdam be careful not to touch it in any case, because they are rarely cleaned and they are swarming with bacteria.

I was inspired to write this blog post after watching this video on YouTube made by American tourists.

Of course De Krul are made only for men. If you are a lady and you have need to pee, after drinking beers in Amsterdam,  I can recommend Burger King or MacDonald’s. There are also toilets in some department stores such as H&M, Marks & Spenser, Forever 21, Primark, etc.

As Amsterdamers we are also proud to have the world’s first retractable female toilet at the Dam square. The urinal has a door but no seat, and is designed only for peeing. In general if you see a sign Dames it is for ladies, and Heren is for gents.

In Amsterdam some of the De Kruls are situated under the sidewalks. They are rising up only at the special occasions, when a lot of people are concentrated in the city, like the King’s Day for example.

One time in late 2014, one terrible gas explosion caused one of those urinals to to pop out of the ground suddenly at the Leidseplein.


The urinal exploded upwards, launching a moped into the air, which hit a nearby pedestrian and broke eight of his ribs. This is how these pop up toilets looks like. If you see them while in Amsterdam do not mistake them for a place where you can wash your face, like the guy from this video.

If you find it hard to believe the story about the injured man, please check this post that was posted at 28 November 2014 on the BBC website.

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