5 Peculiar Things You May Find In A Dutch Bathroom

Don’t worry, no toilet humour here. I’m not going to let this get (too) gross… just pointing out five things that you may find in a Dutch toilet or bathroom that you’re not quite used to…

1. Old faithful, the Toilet Calendar

Toilet Calendar

Go into any Dutch person’s toilet and the thing you are most likely to see is a calendar hanging on the back of the door. This is not any ordinary calendar. It is the Dutch birthday calendar or verjaardagskalendar

Never forget a birthday again! What with the Dutch being so tight I mean, thrifty, this calendar is perpetual so it doesn’t have any days of the week or years. That way, they can use it year after year without the need to replace it. After all, people’s birthdays don’t change – so it’s very Dutch, very logical.

And why in the bathroom (or toilet!) I hear you ask!? Well, without going into detail… it’s a place where you go every day and have some time and space… Kinda makes sense, don’t you think? Forget the hallway or kitchen – toilet calendars are the way forward!

2. A tiny sink with only cold water

Thriftiness strikes again. Dutch toilets are often separate from the bathroom, and they’re tiny. You have just enough space to squeeze in, spin around and plonk yourself down. No square metres are wasted here.

Do your business, then wash your hands… in the tiniest sink you’ve ever seen. Wanna kill bacteria? Get pumping on that handwash! You sure as shit aren’t going to kill any germs with the water… there’s no hot tap.

3. Inspection shelf toilet

Ok, this is a bit gross. But before you ask… I am sooooo not putting a picture of one of these on my blog. So if you wanna see a photo (you sicko) then just Google image ‘inspection shelf toilet’.

Otherwise, use your imagination. Think about the bowl of a toilet. There’s the ‘normal’ hole filled water but instead of being in the centre of the bowl, it’s at the front. At the back of the bowl, instead of sloping upwards gradually – there’s a porcelain shelf.

So you go to the loo, it lands on the shelf. Then when you’re done ‘inspecting’ – you flush it off the shelf. Apparently a German invention… and quite frankly, not one of their better ones!

4. Scheurkalender

IMG_3188a

In addition to a birthday calendar, you might also find a scheurkalender  (literally meaning tear calendar) which comes in the form of block of single sheets, almost like a notepad, for you to read and then rip off every day.

These calendars are normally funny and entertaining… or at the very least educational 😉 The idea is that you learn something new every day… or at least get a laugh…

The Dutch obviously like to keep busy when they’re on the throne!

5. Washer and Dryer

I’ve seen this in Norway too and I’m sure other countries do it… but Dutch people often have their washing machine and tumble dryer in the bathroom.

Often they’re stacked on top of one another to save space. Typically, in England, you’d find this equipment in the kitchen, but I like the Dutch way much better! Means there’s more room in the kitchen for an oven and dishwasher!

So, anything missing from this list? Are there any other strange quirks you’ve noticed about Dutch bathrooms / toilets?

Hayley x

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28 comments

  1. I really like your blog! I’m Dutch living in France, so often a bit nostalgic reading you…. I would like to say 2 things concerning this post:

    -the shelf-toilet is a very good invention, it has saved a lot of lives in the past; In the modern one-hole-ones, you can’t detect any problems as blood in your pooh….the first sign of bowlcancer for instance.
    -Scheurkalender is not a blockcalendar, but literally a “tear-calendar….

    Hope to read you very soon!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Spot on!! And for those who don’t like the idea: you don’t need to look always. Moreover, you need need to jump up to stay dry, everytime you let drop something.

      Like

  2. I find the verjaardagskalender a great invention but its not going in my bathroom! I have it, but just on the wall of my study.

    Speaking of sinks, I find the English invention of separate taps for hot and cold water the most useless bathroom device ever. What was the thought behind this segregation? Why not actually MIX the hot and cold water and regulate the temperature at which you wash your hands?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Scheurkalender literally means ‘rip-off calendar’, a calendar from which you rip of the pages.
    Famous is de ‘bescheurkalender’ (something like ‘laugh your ass of calendar’ and of course a play on words) by ‘Kees van Kooten’ en ‘Wim de Bie’.

    As a Dutch ex-pat to the UK, I must say the hot water at the bathrooms in the UK is splendid!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I want to let you know that I really enjoy reading your blog. I don’t live in the Netherlands, but my mom is from there and I have family there whom I have visited a number of times. Your observations are right-on and so funny — this recent one, the bathroom calendar really made me smile!! I always look forward to your posts!! Thank you. Cindy

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Spot on! But to asure all readers, that daily piece of paper you rip-off that ‘scheurkalender’ you only use for reading. We Dutch are not so tight we use it for ‘something else’ in the bathroom!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Birthday calenders are awesome!
    What about tiles with the so called ‘tegeltjeswijsheden’? The funny, rhyming statements/expressions like
    “denk niet bij het laatste vel
    wie na mij komt, die redt zich wel”
    Are they common in other places across the globe, you think?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The shelf-toilet is not only a very good invention because of the reason Danielle mentioned before, but there is another great advantage: when your sitting on this tolilet nothing sloshes up! So your… equipment keeps dry!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I never could figure out why the Brits had their washing machine in the kitchen: clean clothes mixed with dirty dishes, yuck!
    But on-the-mark observations about the Dutchies!

    Like

  9. At first I thought the toilet birthday calendars were a bit strange but now I am very much afraid that I will put one up in our bathroom (sign I’ve become too Dutch already and should avoid moving to NL like the plague?) mainly because my man is super forgetful 😀

    The cold water taps always had me shaking my head. According to the all-knowing internet it is possible to wash off the bacteria in cold water as well, but you need to wash your hands for over 30 seconds!

    I’m not even going to get started on the inspection shelf toilet. Worst invention ever.

    I hadn’t even thought about the scheurkalenders but now that I think of it, every single Dutch toilet I have visited has one.

    Washer+Dryer in the bathroom is very common in Finland as well. I guess it has something to do with the plumbing and water pipes, but I think that the risk of water damage to the house is also smaller if the washer or dryer breaks down in the bathroom instead of the kitchen. Very practical.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Iave another “funny” tegeltjeswijsheid: Heren kom gerust dichterbij. Hij is kleiner dan u denkt….
    Gentlemen, come close please. It isn’t as tall (long, big?) as you think.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on Integrated Expat – a British expat's ode to Nijmegen, Arnhem & the Dutch and commented:
    This is a funny blog about the things that surprise expats in Dutch toilets. I can think of a few more:
    1. Mirrors up too high for non-Dutchies to see into
    2. Mini guest towels that are too small to dry your hands on
    3. Strange flushing mechanisms that require explanatory notices: “Pull down on the pipe to flush”
    4. Shelves displaying knick-knacks and candles, photos, boards for children’s artwork; I’m not sure I’ve ever seen decorated toilets elsewhere (wracks brain)
    5. Nifty toilet roll holders with lids – http://bit.ly/17SXeVZ
    6. Clever multi-roll wall-mounted toilet roll storage units – http://bit.ly/1EQ2dAv
    7. Wet wipes for adults. I wasn’t sure if this was something that came to on the market in the UK / USA when they were already in normal use here, but judging by the hoo-ha surrounding the launch of One Wipe Charlies in the USA in 2013, I’d say not – http://business.time.com/2013/06/06/the-straight-poop-on-dollar-shave-clubs-wet-wipes-for-guys/

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Oh my the inspection shelf sounds…odd. I’m from the USA and my family always has a scheurkalenders in our bathroom! Though we aren’t Dutch at all…I wonder where my parents got the idea to put a calendar in the bathroom.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hoi! Love your blog! I am also in a relationship with a Dutch man and it puts a smile on my face when I end up relating to your experiences! Great job and keep on posting!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi, I’m also here because of my Dutch husband: been here for almost 18 years! I would add that the WC is almost never heated, so mid-winter it’s COLD to sit down! And here in Groningen the bathroom often includes a “Groninger Almanak”: a tiny book with all sorts of info and bits of wisdom in it, much like the American “Farmer’s Almanac” but much smaller.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. One thing several of my Dutch friends had in their Amsterdam toilets was those little hand-turned music box mechanisms. One friend had half-a-dozen. She could sit there and play six different tunes just by turning the little handles! I liked the idea but discovered that they don’t work in US bathrooms… where the toilet and bath are in the same room, for the same reason the birthday calendars don’t work so well… The bathroom steams up, the music box gears rust, the paper of the calendar gets soggy and buckles. So I guess these ideas only work in true “water closets,” but not in full baths.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi! I just came across your blog today and have been reading for the past three hours I guess, it’s so witty, funny and helpful, thank you! Hopefully it’s not prohibited to comment old posts, lol. What I wanted to say is that I found this post particularly surprising –– I live in Russia and it’s funny how many similarities do Dutch and Russian bathrooms have! To be exact, all of these things you’ve mentioned can often be found here, too.
    A great amount of Russian apartments have separate toilet and bathroom; it’s even considered a more comfortable option, because here (unless you are rich) you only get one toilet/bathroom. Guest toilets are virtually unheard of.
    All kinds of calendars are welcome in Russian toilets. Sometimes even public toilets have these, lol. The ‘tear calendars’ used to be very popular in the USSR, now declining in popularity, though they are still often used mainly by old people. Can feature literally anything, but Christian Orthodox ones are especially popular, I think. Honestly, before this post I thought these calendars were an exclusively former USSR thing!
    As for ‘inspection shelf toilets’, they were greatly popular, again, in the USSR. I would even say they were the only option. These can still be found in some old apartments.
    Lastly, having a washer/dryer in the kitchen would be considered weird here! These are almost always in the bathroom, taking most of the space (the top of it is almost always used as a shelf). Dryers however are a rare thing, we have one and some of our guests didn’t even know what it was. It’s not that they’re particularly rare or expensive, I think Russians are just used hang their clothes on strings above their bath or on the balcony and don’t feel the need to get a dryer –– or don’t have enough space for one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment, Sonja. Funny to hear there are so many similarities with Russian bathrooms – I’ve never been. Thanks for the nice comments about my blog too, 3 hours!!! I’m very flattered! 😊😊

      Like

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