This is the urinal at Schipol Airport, Amsterdam.
Nice isn't it? See that little black thing, middle left? It's a fly.
Not a real fly, a painted fly. The fly was painted onto all the urinals in Schipol Airport because, according to Mr Aad Kieboom, an economist, giving men something to aim at reduces spillage by 80%.
This is one of those things that someone tells you is true, you want to be true and the internet tells you is true; but you're still not 100% sure is true. Perhaps someone can tell me, is this true?
Well the radio backs it up too, because they did it on a radio station (forgot which one).
They got a little bit of brown paint, and painted just above the water line, and it worked!
Posted by: Ben H | Apr 10, 2007 at 12:39
This is most definitely true. I live in amsterdam and fly through Schiphol all the time, and I guarantee that the flies are there. :)
Posted by: mz | Apr 10, 2007 at 12:43
Only a fool, a drunk, or a man wearing someone else's trousers aims at the grating.
Posted by: David Airey :: Creative Design :: | Apr 10, 2007 at 13:33
I really don't know. I always aim at the flies sitting on the wall next to the urinal. Does that count?
Posted by: vos b | Apr 10, 2007 at 13:43
That is awesomely clever! I think ill paint something at my works toilet, cus my bosses seem to like the noise they make.
Posted by: Freeza | Apr 10, 2007 at 13:43
It's true...and awesome. Here's the truthorfiction.com confirmation: http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/u/urinal.htm
Posted by: Eddie Gonzalez | Apr 10, 2007 at 14:36
It's actually not a fly, it's a bee. The idea supposedly comes from the victorian era, when more people spoke Latin: "bee" in Latin is "apis".
Posted by: false messiah | Apr 10, 2007 at 15:31
I couldn't help but Google it as well!
Turns out that a man named Kim Vicente goes so far as to call it "human-friendly design" in a book he wrote called, "The Human Factor".
Posted by: Ahsan R. Shami | Apr 10, 2007 at 17:33
yes, i was just thru schipol; the flies are definitely there... :-)
Posted by: axelator | Apr 10, 2007 at 20:24
Don't know about the story backing it up, but I live in The Netherlands and you can see these things at a lot of urinals in the country.
Sometimes you can find these rubber mats, when you 'hit' them in the middle a message is reveiled whish says 'thank you', a logo or something like that.
Marketing while taking a pis.
Google: urinalfun and you find a company that sell these things.
Posted by: Simon van de Rijdt | Apr 10, 2007 at 20:27
I know the flies are there - I took the photos.
I want to know if the reason for it is true, but it looks like it is.
Posted by: Ben | Apr 10, 2007 at 20:34
Thoughts on other things to paint here?
Posted by: karl | Apr 10, 2007 at 22:06
Thing is, the fly makes it look unhygienic and unclean. It needs to have something different - maybe something looking a bit happier.
Posted by: Ben H | Apr 11, 2007 at 01:06
Down here, in the heat of Australia we inevitably have the real thing to pee on.
Posted by: carl | Apr 11, 2007 at 05:39
Sorry I don't have any data on its truth, but I think questioning its truthiness is a good idea. Too often too many urban legend-ish things slip by because of - like you said - a general plausiblity, and are taken to be facts regardless. This was a good reminder.
I wouldn't be surprised if it is true, though, if only because it'd be fairly easy (disgusting, but easy) to measure. The data are empirical and not subjective. But then again, maybe that's what just makes it seem so plausible.
Posted by: Dave | Apr 11, 2007 at 07:44
Just noticed the very same thing this weekend...
And I also took a picture of an(other) urinal. My disgust with designers grows by the second.
Posted by: Blip | Apr 11, 2007 at 09:17
Ha! How about a smiley face? I can't think of anyone who hasn't thought of desecrating a yellow smiley.
Posted by: Virginia Gardner | May 01, 2008 at 12:52