Saturday, 11 November 2017

Spending the proverbial penny

 I am one of those unfortunate individuals who have what is sometimes called a "weak bladder". I think that with me at any rate this is partly psychological because if I find myself anywhere where there is no easy access to a toilet, I immediately want to "go" and get into a panic. The knowledge that there are a lot of people like me is cold comfort when I am struggling along the street of an evening when shops are shut and there is no public toilet in sight. So many eateries have those big scary signs which say "for patrons only" and well, when a girl's gotta wee, she's gotta wee somehow or other, even if she doesn't want to buy a coffee which will only make her want to wee again in an hour's time.

I was therefore intrigued to learn what the city of Bremen in North Germany is doing in this regard.  They have a scheme entitled "Nette Toilette" which translated roughly means "nice toilet" and you can use the rest rooms of any restaurant or cafe which has a sticker to this effect in the window. You are not obliged to buy anything. Wow! I wish more cities had this feature, it would save me many a frantic search. Participating restaurants and cafes get paid between €50 and €100 a month for providing this facility. A spokesperson for the city said that Bremen saves around €450,000 per year on the scheme compared to the upkeep of public toilets which were not always as clean as could be desired. From the point of view of the restaurants and cafes, it does direct more traffic to their premises even if not everyone actually sits down for a meal or a coffee. You can even download an app with a map of all the locations! That's what I call public service.

Click here if you understand German or simply want to view the map of free toilets in Bremen.

Bremen's free toilets (in German)
If you scroll down you will find a map giving the locations of the free toilets Nette Toilette.

This would be such a boon to me when I embark on my Christmas shopping next month. It's all psychological, I guess, but the knowledge that there are toilets easily reachable would be one of the main comforts to all that trekking around the shops!

This post is adapted from my original blog post entitled The Smallest Room - Facilitating the Facilities on my blog 

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