Antique toilet becomes interactive tourist attraction

James Savage
James Savage - [email protected] • 3 May, 2007 Updated Thu 3 May 2007 18:22 CEST

An 18th century toilet is taking on an unlikely role as one of Sweden's newest interactive tourist attractions.


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.


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