We Need To Talk About The Water Closet - The Reykjavik Grapevine

We Need To Talk About The Water Closet

Published July 5, 2017

Valur Grettisson

For decades now, the Icelandic nation has successfully been using something called a toilet. Some call it a bathroom. But if you want to be really posh, you can say you’re going into the water closet.

To be honest, Icelanders haven’t been using the water closet for that long. Toilets were invented some thousands of years before Christ, and were pretty advanced by around 2800 BC. So, even Jesus used this practical invention.

In the early 20th century, some Icelanders used something simply called a “piss hole.” But the progress was fast, and before we knew we had toilets that resemble those of today. The first large-scale city planning for Icelandic toilets was in 1927, in Reykjavík. We can thank Dr. Guðmundur Hannesson for the progressive vision that everyone would someday use something called a toilet. Icelanders at least consider this not only a part of being civilised, but of being hygienic.

To be fair, many Icelanders have pooped al fresco since Dr. Guðmundur’s day. There are of course exceptions to the norms of civilization and hygiene, like on long hikes. But I imagine that the good doctor spins in his grave every time a tourist jumps out of their car to poop beside the highway, or in the garden of some innocent family in Húsavík.

This is in fact a mystery for Icelanders—how tourists can’t just hold it in between gas stations. At first we thought it was comical. We even understood the situation. Some of us have been in grave trouble in big cities where a toilet is hard to find.

But let’s just be clear about this: Stop it. It’s disgusting, and humiliating for all involved.  

If Jesus could use toilets, you can too. And if you really hate Jesus, just think about the guy who gave us the toilet: Guðmundur Hannesson. He deserves better from you, for God’s sake.  

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