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.
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.