A toilet or lavatory is part of the wastewater system that is intended for the collection and flushing urine and feces. The word toilet is used both for the enclosed space and also the object itself.

Since  the dawn of ancient civilizations there were various kind of toilet solutions but the oldest toilet systems allegedly originated from the Minoan Greeks.
In their palaces several drains and toilet remains were found. Unfortunately, their culture and the knowledge about their toilets and sewage systems, was lost during the centuries.
Although a similar system was used on a large scale in the Roman era.
In the Middle Ages the most common toilets were located in a room on the side a castle or fort which had an opening directly to the outside world.


People in that era had never heard about a flush system. The feces came (just like any other garbage) in a canal or ravine. Often the same water resources were used for dumping wastes and for drinking, therefor in these times waterborne diseases were contagious. For common people it was much simpler , they did their needs outdoors, on a dunghill, or just on the street. Sometimes a bucket was also used  indoors which once full, was emptied on the street.
In the beginning of the  18th century, the first flushing system was introduced which was an incentive for rich people to have a clean restroom.


Toilets in different countries
Around 3000 BC, toilets and sewers were invented throughout the world. Mohenjo-Daro circa 2800 BC is cited for having some of the most advanced toilets which were built into outer walls of houses. These toilets were a primitive form of the current Western-style toilets that used vertical chutes via which waste was uitwerpselenkardisposed of into cesspits or street drains.

These toilets were only used by the noble classes;  most people would have squatted over old pots set into the ground or used open pits.
The people of the Harrapan civilization in Pakistan and Northwestern India had primitive water-cleaning toilets that used flowing water in each house that were linked with drains covered with burnt clay bricks. The flowing water removed the human waste. The Indus Valley civilization had a rudimentary network of sewers built under grid pattern streets.

Near Skara Brae in Orkney, Scotland, which was occupied from about 3100 BC until 2500 BC used simple toilets with flow water to remove the waste. Some of the houses had a drain running directly beneath them, and some of these had a cubicle over the drain. Later toilets started to appear in Crete, Egypt, and Persia.

In 2012, archaeologists found what is believed to be Southeast Asia’s earliest latrine during the excavation of a Neolithic village in the Rạch Núi archaeological site, southern Vietnam. The toilet,dating back 1500 BC, revealed important clues about early Southeast Asian society. More than 30 coprolites, containing fish and shattered animal bones, provided information on the diet of humans and dogs, and on the types of parasites each had to contend with.

In Roman civilization, toilets using flowing water were sometimes part of public bath houses. Roman toilets, like the ones pictured here, are commonly thought to have been used in a sitting position. The Roman toilets were probably elevated to raise them above open sewers which were periodically “flushed” with flowing water, rather than elevated for sitting. Romans and Greeks also used chamber pots, which they brought to meals and drinking sessions. Johan J. Mattelaer said, “Plinius has described how there were large receptacles in the streets of cities such as Rome and Pompeii into which chamber pots of urine were emptied. The urine was then collected by fullers.” (Fulling was a vital step in Textile manufacture)

21st  century

Even though that having a toilet is a universal human right, according to WHO
(Wereld Gezondheidszorg) report more than a half billion people in India have no access to a toilets. This leaves no other opportunity to people but to turn to open defecation.


 Maag lever darm stichtingwc

According to the Maag Lever Darm stichting there is also a shortage of public toilets in The Netherlands. Especially for people with a disease of the digestive system, the shortage of public restrooms could  cause problems.
Maag Lever Darm stichting organised a conference on 26 January, along with different patient Organisation
groups  to find out how other countries handle this problem and to gather ideas to stop the shortage in our country.

Toilet on the train

Marian Loth, Doctor of Philosophy and also Industrial designer, designed a new train with an new toilet in it. The unique part of this concept is that, in addition to a normal toilet there is also a urinal for men.
Which ensures that the toilet stays much more cleaner than it usually is, this makes the toilet visit for women and the elderly more pleasant. On 30 August 2016, Marian presented the design and said: “My goal was to create a hygienic toilet everybody can use.”
Marian Loth for many years have been busy with researching toilets. She discovered that 85% of male toilet visitors used the toilet in a standing position. In addition, she also examined the pollution of the toilet seat while standing urination. With the use of paper she could see the invisible atomization  when men are urinating in a standing position. She therefore focused on the design of a urinal, in addition to the usual toilet bowl.


The design

The design for a family toilet focuses on specific target groups, including the elderly and families with small children. Marian indicated that from a census-paper especially older people would travel by train more if there is a proper and hygienic toilet. Separating the toilet and the urinal contributes to this.trein

In the design brackets are developed in the toilet which you can hold.
In addition the toilet must be accessible for people in wheelchairs.
Marian said that the grade depends of the frequency the toilet gets cleaned, but also the design of the new toilet will have an positive effect on the passengers.


Johan MolenbroekMember of the DTO advisory

Johan Molenbroek is an Associate Professor at the Technical Universijohanty in Delft, and he is an expert in ergonomics and design of toilets.

Molenbroek is aware of the toilet problems at the Dutch Railway trains and does research for almost 30 years now. He recently said:  ‘The toilets would be much cleaner if men would sit while peeing in the wobbly trains. But they refuse to do that. Ever since men know how to hunt, they urinate standing against a tree.’
His knowledge is well known and he is approached by researchers from all over the world  to talk about their hygienic problems of toilets in their countries. Under the instructions of Molenbroek , a student of the Technical University in Delft, developed a design for Japanese toilets. bmb
The student developed eight different images that should provide clarity what the buttons in the toilets stand for. He created this design to ensure that people from all over the world would know what the buttons do without knowing any Japanese.


 Rosa Kuijpers- Nutritionist ambassador and is called ‘mamma pee’ by many .
Kuijpers recently said; ‘We are all Pee and Poo machines , we all  need to poop and pee. But we all handle our poo and pee in different ways.’ With the introduction of the MeNst- factory in the Voedselbos in Eindhoven, our pee and poo gets the attention that it needs. For quite a long time, Rosa Kuijpers is triggering people, to make them more aware and to make them more enthusiastic.

In November 2016, on World Toilet Day, Senior Director of, Phillips multinational company, sir. J. Post opened  the MeNst- Factory. Visitors could admire the dry-toilets with their own eyes and could even try them out.
An exhibition showed the materials, where the toilet building is made of. mens
And also showed how urine and feces can be safely processed during entire cycle. The factory would like to attract the attention for the need to put people back in the ecosystem, and to break the taboos around Pee & Poo.

In the MeNst- Factory the human urine and feces is locally treated in a safe manner to become a valuable resource for the forest.
This initiative also lets you see how you can go to the toilet without being connected to any sewage system and how to save water.

Working at The Dutch Toilet Organsiation
The Dutch Toilet Organisation (DTO)was founded in 2008 and is the only Foundation in the Netherlands collecting  data and research on the need for accessible public toilets. For us access to good, accessible and hygienic toilets is an universal human right.
Our goal is to improve the general status of public toilets in The Netherlands and also in developing countries.

In addition, we are constantly looking for innovative public toirene-sieraad-1ilet solutions for policy makers, municipalities and governments.
As organization we offer students, in addition to our expertise, great research opportunities in countries which students choose for themselves.
We offer students who prefer to work at the office, a working space where they can develop their skills.
In addition, there is a possibility to write articles and to publish them on our website.
You would work in an international environment where you can gain valuable field experience while contributing to our work as a team.

Dutch Toilet Organisationsanitronics

DTO is committed to bring toilets up to meet the standards in the fields of accessibility and hygiene.
A research by the Dutch Institute for Wheelchair Accessibility from 2014, discovered that 66% of the official toilets for people with disabilities in the Netherlands are inaccessible and unusable for wheelchair users.  Now the UN convention on the subject of  the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the Netherlands is ratified.

Since January, 2017, the following principles: accessibility, equality, effectiveness and independence shall be subject.
In addition, all semi-public sanitary facilities are accessible.

The Dutch Toilet Organisation is the source of knowledge on toilets

An Organisation who has knowledge and does research on toilets which is not a common subject.
Still, we need toilets everywhere and a clean toilet provides hospitality.
The Dutch Toilet Organisation has done several research on toilets which provides a sound foundation on the characteristics of a good, accessible and clean toilet.
DTO manages and shares its knowledge and wants to seek innovations and raise awareness for sanitation. In addition to the public toilets in the Netherlands DTO is busy with improving sanitation in developing countries. According to The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, there are approximately 2,4 billion people in the world who have no or limited access to sanitary facilities.


Clean toilets stands for hospitality

Regularly, Dutch municipalities  are negative in the news when it comes to the improvement of toilets.
Toilets are often dirty and not accessible for all target groups such as transgender people and people with reduced mobility, which ruins the user experience. Several municipalities want to attract more tourists and visitors by making the city as welcoming as possible, which includes toilets too.

UN Convention, persons with disabilities, demand accessible toilets

Now that the UN Convention has been ratified in the Netherlands on 14 June,  2016 it provides that accessibility, equality, effectiveness and independence for persons with disabilities from 1 January 2017 to be pursued in all public areas.
If people with disabilities experienced that somewhere something is not in order, they can make an complaint to the Human Rights Council. This Council promotes, monitors, protects and exposes human rights in Netherlands by research, advice, information and monitoring.


 Only a few public, accessible toilets available
Research has shown that there are too many inaccessible toilets for people with disabilities.
Many toilets designed for people with disabilities do not meet the standards of NEN 1814 or the integral Accessibility Standard.

The toilets are either too small, do not have the proper handles or wrong toilet bowl height. Now that ,people in Holland have more elderly, the number of people with disabilities started to grow.
According to figures from the CBS, 13% of the population is experiencing some sort of disability.
DTO is an expert in standards and  can  advise on good, accessible toilets for all groups.

In the DTO Advisory Board, there are experts with knowledge of engineering, hygiene, water, sustainability and accessibility. wc vsg
According to DTO, a suitable toilet is hygienic, clean and can be used by all people regardless their gender or disabilities.



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Donations cover necessary costs that our Foundation has regularly. In order to maintain and remain the quality level of DTO, your help is necessary and very important. That is why we are asking you, as a sponsor, to continue and to support DTO.
Support us by making a donation.

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 Gerard van Es



Rosalie de Leeuw

Intern HBO Associate Degree Cross Media Communication



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