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Germany Found a Cheap Way to Fix Its Lack of Public Restrooms

Welcome to the “Nice Toilet.”
relates to Germany Found a Cheap Way to Fix Its Lack of Public Restrooms
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There are few things more frustrating than struggling to find a public restroom when you’re desperate. Hunt for a city-run facility and too often you can’t find anything nearby (and if you do, the chances are it’s a dump). Dive into a café or bar and you either have to go through the charade of pretending you’re a customer or hope that staff are too busy to stop you. None of this is meant maliciously, of course. Public restrooms are expensive to maintain, while few employees relish cleaning up after people who aren’t even contributing to their wages. Still, you can’t help wishing there was some sort of solution.

In Germany, it looks like there may be one that really works. The country’s Nette Toilette (“Nice Toilet”) system has created a compromise between public and private restrooms that makes such obvious sense it’s hard to believe that other countries aren’t doing it already too. It works like this. German cities pay businesses a monthly fee of anything from €30 to €100 ($33 to $110) a month to open up their restrooms for the general public. These businesses then put a sticker in their window to let the public know they’re welcome to use the facilities even if they’re not buying. First launched in 2000 and now including 210 member cities (including some in Switzerland), the network is a private one that charges participating cities a modest fee to use their branding. Sixteen years in, it’s still on a roll. At the end of October, the network announced that it is expanding to Munich, which will be its largest urban area yet.