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Amsterdam Takes the Piss

Showing a uniquely Dutch combination of environmentalism and open-mindedness, the Amsterdam water board is setting up special locations where men can donate their pee to a good cause.

Urine contains phosphates which are a vital component of fertilizer. These inorganic chemicals, also known as organophosphates, are a salt of phosphoric acid and hugely important in the promoting the growth of plants and crops. As the population of the world exploded over the past few decades, it is no exaggeration to say that the human race became entirely dependent upon fertilizer, and for fertilizer you must have phosphates. They are usually acquired by mining but the supply is struggling to keep up with the demand.


Urine represents an untapped source with a negligible ecological impact. The trial in two Amsterdam locations – one on the De Ruyterkade and one on the Piet Heinkade – operated during the Sail Maritime Festival which ended yesterday. The goal of this trial was to collect 100,000 litres of delicious urine, ready to be processed and distributed to one of 3 different green projects in the city.

We hope that the trial will be extended into a permanent scheme – perhaps the environmental argument would be enough to persuade drunken tourists not to dribble their phosphates all over the lanes and alleys of the Red Light District every night. We are also curious to know if it might be possible to extract alcohol, THC and cocaine from the pee collected there, could be the start of a massively profitable and, again, uniquely Dutch business.

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