It’s World Toilet Day: sit down and take a load off


It’s something almost all travellers have in common – they make a toilet stop before boarding their flight. For them and all other visitors to the airport, we do everything we can to make sure our toilets will bowl you over. Not only do we take the best care of our porcelain, but we also use the latest technology to improve maintenance and test products that make the airport even more hygienic.

Flushed with data
Every day our toilets are flushed thousands of times. All this wastewater is treated by 83 pumping stations at Schiphol. These days, many of our toilets are equipped with sensors. These smart computers continuously collect data, identify patterns and use the input to predict when maintenance is needed. This prevents excessive wear and tear and reduces the risk of visitors finding an ‘out of order’ sign on the cubicle door. That’s what we call taking care of business!

Fresh or filthy?
The toilets at Schiphol are regularly cleaned, day and night. But of course there’s always the risk of a toilet roll ending up in the bowl, someone missing the mark or another sanitary slip-up. That’s why all our toilets have feedback consoles so that users can rate their visit. If a lot of negative reactions come in, the cleaning company sends someone over right away.

Hygiene experiment in living lab
Do you feel like washing your hands or face after you have been in a crowded public space? You’re not the only one! Areas like these are often felt to be unhygienic, even if that’s not always the case. Feeling dirty is not the same as being dirty but even so, we wanted to improve people’s perception of hygiene at the airport. That’s why we turned our terminal into a living lab, installing hand sanitisers by toilets, touchscreens and wastebaskets. We then kept track of where they were most frequently used and asked travellers for feedback. Here’s what we found:

  • Visitors think the toilet is the most logical place for a hand sanitiser.
  • Users prefer a disinfectant that does not to smell too chemical.
  • In places where hand sanitisers have been placed, overall toilet satisfaction increases considerably.

Looking to the future, we plan to continue using the terminal as a living lab to test innovations in the field of toilet use and hygiene.