Day 93 of 96 – German Toilets: The Dark Side

20 Dec

I have not been fully honest with you about the German toilets. They are wonderful and amazing and all that, but it was not always so.

You see, there are many different types of toilets over here. Most of the ones you will encounter in any recently renovated buildings will be of the modern kind. They are similar to what we have back in Canada – a bowl of water with a flushing disposal mechanism. Now the older ones, they’re not like this. They’re not like this at all.

I’m reluctant to write about this (well, no, not really) but if you have issues reading about what every single human who has ever lived, does almost every single day of their lives, then you can just skip this right now and go watch my all-time favorite YouTube video.

The rest of you, let’s go.

You see, hundreds of years ago, humans used to get sick and die. Today this happens, but much less frequently. One of the ways the ancient peoples checked for heath was to inspect (I’m borrowing from Marge Simpson here) their leavings. I guess that, often times, written in the leaves, would be things that had not yet come to pass (pun *not* intended – I’m ripping off Lord of the Rings here). What I’m saying is, they could tell if they were beginning to get sick.

So the Germans looked at this and came up with a way that made the whole inspection phase of the process as efficient as possible. Problem is, that when medical science started ramping up, these inspection-efficient toilets were already installed all over the place and probably many of the factories were tooled only to make these types of toilets. I visited a Baumarkt in Dusseldorf in 2004 and they had the old toilets but none of the stores I visited on this trip did. Believe me, I looked.

Now to be fair to the Germans (and unfair to the Dutch) I was only able to find one of these old-style toilets in the Netherlands. I mean I know where I can find them in Germany, but I did not go to these places on this trip.

So with our further adieu, here for your viewing pleasure is one of the old style toilets (from Holland).

Notice anything “wrong” with this?

If you can’t see it, here’s a “proper” one to assist with your analysis (also from Holland).

See it yet?

The best thing about the old design is when people use them for the first time. A Canadian or American or Australian who first visits Germany finds everything about the country to be really advanced. It’s like being transported into the future. Everyone is driving BMW and Mercedes, the trains go super-fast, the highways are spectacular, all that stuff.

And then they encounter one of these toilets.

The first thing that goes through his mind is “when are we going to be getting these back home?” but not in the I-cannot-wait sort of way. The procedure of going to the toilet is identical so the person knows what to do, but the intermediate state of the system is quite different from what he’s expecting.

This was all much more interesting in the pre-Internet days because afterwards all you want to do is find out what the hell just happened. But if you’re a visitor to a country, this is probably not the sort of thing you want to bring up with your hosts. Most people try to be as discrete as possible in the first place – discussing what just happened in the WC is usually not considered polite dinner conversation.

I’ve often thought about installing one of these old-school toilets at my place just for shits and giggles (pun intended this time). Make the washroom ultra-modern with super-high-tech everything: heated floors, a mirror with embedded lights, fancy marble tile, gold-trimmed fixtures, but with an in-wall cistern that supports a nineteen-forties-era German inspection toilet. As the guests return to the party, the bewildered looks on their faces would make the whole effort worthwhile.

3 Responses to “Day 93 of 96 – German Toilets: The Dark Side”

  1. Jesse December 20, 2011 at 09:04 #

    Inspection toilets are still the norm in Austria, except for the very newest buildings!

  2. Simone Heesch February 22, 2012 at 18:42 #

    Hear, hear, I remember ….


  1. Vive le Québec glacé! | Die Hard Three - February 21, 2016

    […] the heated seats of the Japanese washlet standalones with built-in cold water hand sinks. From the old-school German inspection stations to the low-flow toilets they installed at my work that rendered the washrooms unusable within […]

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