‘Where people drink, people urinate’

(Article in De Ondernemer)

UriLift in De Ondernemer van De Stentor

In 2000, Marco Schimmel installed his first Urilift, a pop-up urinal for the night hours. It offers people going out for the evening a solution when the need is urgent. Apeldoorn was the first city in the world to install this public toilet in the centre to combat urinating in public places. As soon as the sun comes up and the pub-crawlers make way for the shoppers, the Urilift disappears below ground.

Since then, more than 150 pop-up urinals have been installed in The Netherlands. Pop-Up Toilet Company recently developed a new urinal for women. Owner and inventor Marco has been preoccupied with toilet facilities since his school days. “When Apeldoorn began a trial to combat urinating in public, I set up temporary urinals every Friday and Saturday evening in various places. I collected them the following morning. That was at the expense of my social life – I spent the time just carting toilets around.” After the trial period, Apeldoorn wanted a permanent solution, and Marco invented the UriLift.

Enthusiasm

Apeldoorn was the cradle for Pop-Up Toilet Company. Now there is enthusiasm for the toilet abroad, too: Belgium, Germany and the UK, in addition to Holland, constitute UriLift’s core business. The company is also active in Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy and Republic of Ireland and discussions are being held in Spain, France and South Africa. The first combi-UriLifts – the model with two urinals for men and one for women – will soon be on their way to Australia.

“There are great opportunities, but it’s not easy. We currently dominate the Dutch market quite nicely, but the rest of the world awaits us.”

Civil Servants

The British are enthusiastic Urilift purchasers. However, the economic crisis threw a spanner in the works. “We were occupied with Manchester, but when ten thousand civil servants were dismissed there, the problem of urinating in public was put on a back burner. Fortunately, the British market is picking up again.”

Germany also has a number of Urilifts, although Marco thinks there are still far too few of them. “Some twenty of them, but there could be hundreds. German has a different culture from The Netherlands when it comes to urinating in public. The problem is no different, but Germans don’t like talking about it. What’s more there are lots of older civil servants who have little sympathy for the problem of urinating in public places.”

Women

Marco has an unshakeable belief in his product. “Wherever people go drinking, they will need to urinate. That’s when Urilift is the ideal solution against urinating in public. We can keep the city centre clean at night.” The first UriLift for women was installed in Amsterdam in March.

Source: De Ondernemer