Beetz Patented Urinal – Bern, Switzerland - Atlas Obscura

Beetz Patented Urinal

One of the few places in the world that let's you legally relieve yourself on a UNESCO world heritage site. 


Any building can become a monument if it survives long enough, resulting in some strange cases. This one is not only protected, it is also patented. 

The Zytglogge is a medieval clock tower and astronomical clock that, besides the bears, is the main attraction in Bern. What most visitors overlook, however, is the public urinal nested on the side of the tower, sporting a state-of-the-art 20th-century toilet design.

The Beetz urinal is an invention of the German Wilhelm Beetz, who made a name for himself in Vienna, where he popularized the concept of the public toilet. The idea soon spread across the old world, and so did his patented designs.

You can tell this is one of Beetz’s designs by the sign that hangs above the urinal. In this case, it’s a supposedly odor-free urinal that does not require water to flush, a design that is still being sold today.  

One can still find many Beetz toilets in Vienna, but most have been renovated and most of the signs have been stolen or taken down. This makes the urinal in Bern one of the rare remaining originals, and thus a monument to public relief in its own right. 

Know Before You Go

The urinal is on the street side of the tower and free to use. Despite the claim of being odor-free, it does not smell great. 

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