I Can Only Imagine the Search Terms This Will Generate

Plassend Mannetje
I Google so you don’t have to.

I came across a photo of this little guy the other day, with no information other than that he is a Dick Bruna design and that he was located at Janskerkhof. Curious, and thinking perhaps he was perched atop one of the Trajectum Lumen light installations there, I decided to go see him for myself. After wandering through most of Janskerkhof and not seeing him, I began to wonder if it had been a limited-time installation. Then I saw him.

Artful Pee
For those not familiar with Utrecht, that black metal sculptural piece upon which he’s perched is, in fact, a public urinal. Once you realize that, look at bit closer at the original photo. If you hadn’t noticed it the first time around, you might notice the obvious connection now.

A number of years ago, it seems the city made a concerted effort to get people (men) to use urinals, rather than peeing in random places, so they installed these urinals. However, now the thinking seems to be that people don’t realize these structures are urinals, so now they’re adding these little figures to the tops of them. Admittedly, it took me a while to realize they were urinals, as well, but then it’s not as if I’d be able to use them anyway. Which is a whole other rant about how men get urinals all over town but women have to find a bar/restaurant/shop that will let them use their facilities or find one of the rare public toilets. In either case, you usually have to pay. So men can go for free, but women have to go out of their way to find an option and then have to pay for it.

Anyway … I think these little figures are supposed to light up at night, making them more noticeable. I’m still not sure it will really make that much of a difference, but it’s an amusing and cute attempt! What’s not so cute? Googling to find out some of the information for this post. Just imagine the search terms I had to use. As I said, I Google so you don’t have to.

6 thoughts on “I Can Only Imagine the Search Terms This Will Generate

  1. Possibly the reason there are urinals for men and not women is that women aren’t likely to engage in “wildplassen”, random peeing in unsuitable places. Anyway, this is a charming post. I like that little guy. More appealing than mannekepis in Brussels.

    Can you send me a link to the 2013 calendar you are selling?

  2. Those urinals were disguised as art a bit too well I guess, especially for the male students who are staggering home in desperate need for a wee after having too many beers. Now Dick Bruna lights the way to relief 🙂

  3. Really like that little guy at the top. He actually reminds me of one of the characters in a 1970’a Polish cartoon called “Bolek Lolek”!! Very similar.

  4. This little guy was a big part of my life as a toddler and kindergartner. I had a lot of the little Dick Bruna books. I absolutely loved them. Bruna was a brilliant artist. Simplifying to the minimum, and kids fill in the rest. How funny that his illustrations are now used to let grown men know where to pee! Kind of a wink from the local government, too, in my interpretation: Look, you’re obviously not potty-trained yet, so lets address you at the level of a three-year-old. Hilarious!

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