Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Dutch Restroom

For a long time I have considered writing about the differences of Dutch restrooms and a Brazilian ones.

This is the restroom (powder room) at my Dutch house, located on the ground floor. It has some particularities that serve as a rule for most Dutch restrooms:

* The sink is always tiny and there is no warm water. You might think it is like those we see at the dentist's office. Usually when I have kids visiting us and they wash their hands, a good area of the floor becomes wet. I mean, if kids with little hands have problems using such a tiny sink, you can imagine how much practice it demands. I have been in bigger homes than mine and the sinks at the restroom remain always very small.

* No windows in the Dutch restrooms. Some have a ventilation system activated when you turn the light on. No windows in a restroom is unthinkable for Brazilians. But when you consider the fact that Holland is a cold land - it starts to make some sense, doesn't it ?

* Decoration. There is always at least one of the following items:
- a candle;
- a sachet with dry flowers/lavender/ or scents such as "caramel", "vanille", "the sea" (!);
- a calender (ugh!) with the birthdays and holidays marked on it. This is actually a mandatory item in a Dutch restroom, once the Dutch are especially obsessed with birthdays. Two mothers at my kids school were shocked to know about my aversion to calenders in the restroom.
- shells or a an artificial plant;
- photos from the kids, family and friends;
- artwork from the kids.

* The mirror - if there is one - is tiny. I prefer it big, and I have at the moment two in the restroom.
A tiny sink, a tiny mirror, a tiny candle, a tiny soap and a tiny towel.
This is what makes a Dutch atmosphere.

* There are always toilet brushes in the Dutch restrooms. You do not use it when it is cleaning day, it stays permanently parked there. It can be quite a special design thing. Have a look at the one I have in my bathroom:
* Now... something you will NEVER find in a Dutch restroom: a butt hose. I have bought mine in Brazil and had it installed near my Dutch toilet downstairs. (Yes, some relatives/friends raised one eyebrow - or two - when they spotted it for the first time). Great to wash the kids after they use the toilet but also useful if you have to clean sand off their feet before they enter the house. The downside is... it is neglected during the winter months. There is no possibility around here of having warm water in the restroom downstairs (only in the bathrooms upstairs). Have a look below:

Check what I mean with the wonders of a butt hose reading this hilarious post.


Invader_Stu said...

And then there is also the toilet 'shelf' in Dutch toilets

Simone Westerduin said...

It just remind me, in Dutch restroom I never saw this kind of plastic toilet pail we commonly have in Brazil ;)

Zoe said...

Hi Anita! Nice post!
The first difference I noticed on the Dutch restrooms was the toilet. In some old houses (inclusive in mine) the toilet has this upper part without water, and the lower part with water where the water flows away, do you know what I mean? This is horrible!!

Breigh said...

Wow, when I look at the butt hose I just imagine sitting there with my butt, the toilet and half the floor covered in water (and bits of poo). I use wet wipes, and I can't imagine NOT using them, so I can see why this becomes something you can't live without once you get used to it.

Anita said...

Stu: yes !
Simone: it is hidden inside the wall.
Zoe: I have seen such toilets with a tray and a small hole with water. Apparently the older generations after using the toilet enjoyed examining the contents of their intestins.
Breigh: for all clarity: most Brazilians use toilet paper. The hose substitutes the bidet - which is a very Mediterranean/Latin American thing. Not to worry about the usage of a hose, you can regulate it and spray for bits of seconds. It is wonderful ! Most foreigners that try it get addicted. And my little cloggie family also use wet wipes too.