If there are two things I hate paying for, they would have to be tap water (saving this for a later tirade) and toilets. However, I live in Europe so there is ample opportunity to whinge about this (‘cuz I’m not in Rome).
The Netherlands is not alone in the quest to capitalize off human desperation. Charging for toilets is quite an acceptable practice everywhere on the continent. It’s just so darn inconvenient because they don’t accept AMEX.
I don’t understand why huge enterprises like V&D and De Bijenkorf insist on charging. The minimum rate in The Hague is €0.30 (e.g. at public library), but to set themselves apart from the herd, certain booths demand €0.50. Considering that the minimum wage here is approximately €8.57 per hour, you’d have to be expecting lots of traffic just to break even. Admittedly, I haven’t had the chance to delve into the business model of urinals, but I did chat a bit yesterday with the Manager of the Den Haag Holland Spoor Train Station WC. Despite the appearance of a public toilet, this is actually a privately-owned business. Things are going well and there are even framed accolades on the tiled walls. The big boss also owns toilets in Leiden.
I miss North American restrooms, water fountains and all. Conversely, it ain’t all bad here when I recall some scary and wet experiences in Malaysia, where toilet paper costs extra and is severely rationed.
Tip: If you gotta go in Den Haag Centrum, Marks and Spencer’s offers glorious, free loos and a luxurious baby changing room.