• Sweden edition
 

Antique toilet becomes interactive tourist attraction

Published: 03 May 2007 18:22 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 May 2007 18:22 GMT+02:00

The ancient lavatory, in Åsens By, south-eastern Sweden, has been carefully restored as part of an attempt to show visitors how their ancestors relieved themselves.

The outdoor facility, which could be the oldest in Sweden still in use, was originally a dry toilet built over a latrine. It is housed in a small red hut set back from the rest of Åsens By, a village with parts dating back to the 15th century and which is now a cultural reserve attracting visitors from Sweden and abroad.

In previous centuries most Swedes used similar facilities said Patricia Blaker, who led the project to restore the venerable dunny.

"We get lots of school classes who come here and most haven't used an ordinary outside toilet," she told The Local.

"Now they can get the chance to use it like people used to."

New environmental rules mean that the dry toilet has had to be converted into a compost lavatory, but otherwise the experience is just the same as it was hundreds of years ago.

"We're also building a new disabled toilet nearby," Blaker added.

The restoration of the antique outhouse is part of a project to improve public conveniences across Sweden, with outdoor toilets a particular priority.

"The tourist board got fed up with all the negative newspaper articles about toilets, particularly outdoor toilets - they were dirty and poky," Blaker said.

James Savage (james.savage@thelocal.se)

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