The Rijksmuseum. Volume 1. Issue 1.
You’ve read the reviews on what’s up on the walls, you know what the current exhibition of some undoubtedly deceased artist is about and what some highly educated establishment art snob makes of it… but let’s cut the crap and discuss what really matters. You’ve had a long day navigating your way around the maze of canals, no doubt almost getting hit by dozens of crazed cyclists with a death wish, then traipsing around the famous Rijksmuseum, which no doubt about it has a pretty jaw dropping collection of art, but let’s pose the fundamental question we all know you are dying to want answering, something that no one has dared to review before (we break boundaries here at the Public House of Art) - it’s a review of the facilities! What are the toilets like? We read your mind didn’t we?
Beyond the elaborate gates and the ornate interiors, arcades welcome sweaty and chubby tourists alike. The entrance is in fact quite humble for such a “royal” institution - a sliding door leads to a relatively small staircase that takes us to a view of the main hall from above. The lighting is very modern with humongous square chandeliers hanging from the very high ceiling. But we didn’t come here to review the interior design. Let’s get down to business. The red arrow marks our intended destination. Let’s go check out what’s on offer Michelin-style.
What immediately springs to mind as you cast your eyes down this intimidatingly long illuminated corridor, looking not too dissimilar from changing booths at a public swimming pool (no need for verruca socks here though, thank God), is the overwhelming number of cubicles. You step into the arena, participants coming from all directions vying to choose the cleanest, freshest toilet possible. Who will come out a champion in this competitive and undisciplined battlefield? With its two-way entry, the whole queuing system is thrown completely out of the window. We are in uncharted territory here folks.
Well what about the actual facilities, I hear you asking. Unfortunately we cannot report anything particularly revolutionary or ground-breaking. Simple and effective, you have all the essentials to achieve the job. Toilet, flush, paper and a brush. What more could you need (maybe a Japanese-style heated seat wouldn’t go down amiss as the winter months creep up on us, perhaps with adjustable water-jets?)? With attendants that don’t seem to ever leave, you can be sure you won’t be stuck in that awkward “no loo roll” situation in this establishment. They are so attentive that we feel they may almost offer to wipe you down. Easy there tiger, not on my watch.
However we were slightly baffled by this questionable sign above each of the toilets. Surely a simple ‘Only flush paper down the toilet’ will do, but no, the Rijksmuseum have decided to invest in a curious symbol to prevent unwanted substances from being put in the trough. Not even in the exotic manholes of Mongolia have we ever seen such a mysterious hieroglyph. We get it, do not throw stuff in the WC or it will get clogged. But why a fizzy drinks carton? Which psycho attending this facility would imagine the toilet was the place for general rubbish disposal? Is there some hidden meaning in this we aren’t picking up on?
For those of you craving a mere moment of solitude to chill out and relax in peace away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist-filled Amsterdam streets, we can’t say this would be the ideal spot. Nevertheless in pursuit of comprehensive journalism, we tried it out to ensure this review covered all aspects possible.
Not the most comforting of spots to say the least!
Now onwards and upwards and we head back to the sink section. The soap is liquid, average aroma, not too daring. The taps are quite old fashioned, but we are nostalgic types so it doesn’t bother us too much. We prefer them to the impersonal and somehow confusing “hands-free” devices. Who knows when an unsuspecting jet of water will launch itself from the nozzle? We prefer to be kept in the driver’s seat at all times!
Our major issue now is that there is no Dyson Airblade. If there was a Ferrari of the hand-drying world, let’s face it, it would be the Dyson Airblade. We always get a slight sinking feeling in our stomachs when we are downgraded to some shoddy and slower alternative. Here in the Rijksmuseum we are faced with the measly alternative of the paper hand towel. Step it up Rijks, times are changing and we want space age from the country’s leading tourist attraction. The paper towels are abundant and of solid mixed recycled white paper. No unpleasant surprises.
So to wrap this all up, whether you’re interested in a quick in-and-out job, something that will take a little longer, or you simply just want to have some solo time and hide away for a few blissful moments, we’d give the toilets at the Rijksmuseum an overall rating of 3/10. We know thousands of people from all over the world expose themselves in this easy-to-access free toilet, but overall we were left feeling dissatisfied.
We thought we would leave our own special mark to encourage a spruce-up of things in there a little. Quite the humourists don’t you think?
Author: Charlotte Zajicek