Toilet-friendly municipality of Groningen

18 January 2021

Friday 19 November 2021 was World Toilet Day. On this day, attention is paid to the importance of good sanitation and access to clean and safe toilets for all.

There is work to be done in the Netherlands, because recent research has shown that one in five people regularly stays at home because of a lack of toilets. We can therefore say that there is a social problem. In order to draw attention to this problem, we annually announce the well-known ranking of "the most toilet-friendly municipality in the Netherlands" on World Toilet Day. But it is not only on World Toilet Day that attention should be paid to (the solution of) this social problem. As far as we are concerned, it should always be on the agenda.

Toilet shortage: a social problem

From research commissioned by the Toilet Alliance showed that a lack of toilets keeps one in five people at home occasionally or regularly. Among women, this is as high as one in three. Also, one in three people indicate that the shortage of toilets affects their quality of life,' says Bernique Tool, Director of the Gastrointestinal Society. The number of people who say they are inconvenienced by a shortage of toilets makes this a social problem.


CSN chairman, urologist Prof. Ruud Bosch: 'It is estimated that in every municipality 1 in 20 residents stays at home for fear of "accidents". These people then become isolated. The aim of the [UN] Convention [on Disability] is that everyone can participate in society regardless of disability or chronic condition, so even if the disability or condition results in incontinence. Municipalities are partly responsible for the implementation of the UN Convention. Municipal councils can give a push in the right direction'.

Groningen Province: number of inhabitants per toilet

Groningen municipality is the most toilet-friendly municipality in the province of Groningen, followed by Het Hogeland and Eemsdelta. In the leading municipality 2,482 inhabitants share a public toilet. This compares to 4,059 inhabitants of the municipality of Pekela, the least toilet-friendly municipality of the province.

The number of people sharing a toilet is one of the six indicators on which the national ranking is based. In order to give a clear picture of the seriousness of the problem HogeNood has carried out research into the number of people within the municipality who have to share one public or open toilet. Only residents were included. Tourists visiting the municipalities have not even been counted,' says Bastiaan Meindersma - developer of the HogeNood platform.

The ranking of Groningen province

The complete ranking of the municipalities within the province of Groningen is listed below. You can read the list as follows:

Name of municipality / Position within province / Number of inhabitants per toilet / Position on the Dutch ranking list / Points on the national ranking list (max 1000)

Groningen / position 1 / 2,482 / position 124 / 534 points
Het Hogeland / position 2 / 2,392 / position 169 / 466 points
Eemsdelta / position 3 / 3,039 / position 185 / 447 points
Oldambt / position 4 / 2,392 / position 207 / 417 points
Westerkwartier / position 5 / 2.769 / position 230 / 395 points
Stadskanaal / position 6 / 3,175 / position 259 / 374 points
Westerwolde / position 7 / 2,622 / position 264 / 362 points
Midden-Groningen / position 8 / 2,892 / position 267 / 353 points
Veendam / position 9 / 5,483 / position 289 / 330 points
Pekela / position 10 / 4,059 / position 336 / 169 points

Room for improvement

It is possible for every municipality to reach a total of 1,000 points in the annual ranking; therefore, there is plenty of room for improvement in the different municipalities. There are more than enough feasible opportunities for the municipalities to become more toilet-friendly and thus not only more inclusive, but also more hospitable.

For example:
1. Make the toilets of municipal locations available to passers-by.
2. Placing public (seasonal) toilets at busy locations.
3. Asking local businesses if their toilets can be made available to passers-by.
4. Making toilets clearly findable by becoming a partner of HogeNood and registering toilets and keeping track of dates in the HogeNood CMS, placing signs at
that lead to the toilet and placing stickers at toilet locations themselves for extra indication.
5. Maintaining a sustainable toilet policy so that not only now but also in the future, sufficient hygienic toilets are ensured within the

Want to become a toilet-friendly municipality? Then get in touch.

Example: Municipality of Groningen in action

The municipality of Groningen is already very active in improving the toilet-friendliness. There, they are making efforts to create more and more findable toilets for residents and visitors. Alderman Glimina Chakor (Accessibility): "The ability to go to the toilet is part of a hospitable municipality. This year, two more toilets will be built in the city centre, but we mainly want to improve the visibility of the existing toilets. We will do this with the HogeNood-app, so that people can choose a toilet in advance based on distance, photos and facilities.

The complete ranking of toilet-friendly municipalities of the Netherlands 2021

For those of you who want to find out where your own municipality has ended up, we have written an article about the complete rankings of all 352 municipalities. Here you can find your own municipality and find out how the list was made. We have also developed a map showing the proximity of all toilets registered in the HogeNood app.

Monthly updates on each province via the newsletter

From now on, we will be publishing an article every month focusing on one of our 12 provinces. If you want to be the first to know about the most toilet-friendly town in each province, sign up for the newsletter at the end of this article. That way you can be sure to get the latest list in your inbox as soon as it is published!

Note: The dates used in this article are a snapshot of World Toilet Day 2021, it is possible that changes have occurred in the meantime.

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