Exhibition: Rosalie Bak, Anna Piccoli, Catherine Millais

The NIMBY toilet

Fermentation toilet by Henriette Waal

1 Feb 2016
3 Jun 2021

A bright yellow booth on show in the Dijkspark - but mind what you do: it is not to phone, it is to pee. We think your urine is important and we want to use it for a good cause: come "donate" and you will help our park flourish.


NIMBY Toilet - Anisa Xhomaqi

A socially engaged art piece

The Not-In-My-BackYard toilet is an educative experiment by Henriëtte Waal that invites people to reflect more on their habits and to cooperate for a better outcome. The NIMBY toilet is meant to be used by a community in order to support the self-sufficiency of vegetable gardens through urine fermentation. It was designed for the BIO 50 exhibition. From the Onkraj Gradbišča garden (Ljubljana) it moved to the Dijkspark (Amsterdam) in November 2015: given its bright yellow it is almost impossible not to spot it in our garden. Moreover, the colour - that of Slovenian plywood - fits its use.

Fermenting urine

How can you contribute? You simply have to pee. The NIMBY toilet works without water. It collects urine in different containers. Put in some lacto-acid bacteria, take out the oxygen and there you go: the fermentation process is ready to begin. After four weeks (with warm weather around 15°C), all pathogens are eliminated and the urine is ready to be used to water the soil and fertilise the plants. Would you contribute?


A NIMBY toilet for a flourishing garden - An illustration to show the principle behind the NIMBY toilet and the recycling of urine for watering plants to the gardeners of the Onkraj Gradbisca community garden. Henriette Waal

Not In My BackYard

The name ironically alludes to the fact that no-one wants a public toilet close to their house. This is understandable. Yet, toilets can prove beneficial for the environment when mindfully constructed and used. Think of the NIMBY toilet: it helps produce rich, flourishing plants and healthier food. It also reduces the consumption of water together with the waste of valuable nutrients that are present in our bodily fluids. Urine, in particular, contains urea, sodium, potassium, phosphate, sulphate, creatine and uric acid.


The seat of the NIMBY toilet - The NIMBY toilet was presented by Waal during the Pis' Talk Nature vs. culture at Mediamatic. The dry toilet chair is a reinterpretation of Enzo Mari’s 1974 Sedia 1 chair, a DIY project originally thought to prompt theoretical and practical engagement in the community using the Onkraj Gradbišča garden in Ljubljana. Margherita Soldati

NIMBY toilet, by Henriëtte Waal
Currently in our garden, but closed. It will be open soon 24hrs a day, 7 days a week
Location: Mediamatic Biotoop, Dijkspark 6, Amsterdam