I am in Amsterdam right now for the very first time. And after I took in all the bicycles, the beautifully tilting buildings, and its iconic canals, the first thing that struck me was — get this — the height of its toilet seats.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a reasonably tall guy. So it’s not that the bowl in my hotel room isn’t comfortable or anything like that. It actually feels quite luxurious. I just know that this thing has got to be taller than your average bowl.
A typical toilet seat height can be anywhere from 15 to 19” when measuring from the floor to the top of the seat. But I think 17-19” is the most typical range. So how much taller is my Dutch bowl?
Sadly, I forgot to pack my tape measure on this trip. So I instead used the tallest book I could find in the room as a measuring stick. It happenend to be the above book by Hollywood photographer Matthew Rolston.
Matthew’s book is 36cm tall and so, by using everything I ever learned in architecture school, I am now fairly confident that my seat is currently sitting at around 21-22” off the ground.
Dutch people are tall. And so too are the bowls, it would seem.
The difference in toilet seat heights in our part of the world (Canada) is focused on “Comfort” which is to accommodate the elderly or handicapped. Sometimes they are also referred to as “Tall or Universal” toilets.
Squatting down on a toilet and getting up again becomes increasingly difficult as aging muscles lose strength or become injured. Fortunately, products are available that can help: tall or universal height toilets. For elderly people with mobility limitations, toilets with seats that are higher off the floor can be essential tools for maintaining safety and independence
If you are not so tall, like me, universal toilets (higher ones) are quite uncomfortable.
Every time I go home (France), I’m amazed at how much higher toilets are. It’s something that I didn’t notice after a few trips back, perhaps because it took my butt a few years to internalized Canadian heights…
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