Our Toilet: Betteleiche


Every now and then, we will present one of the standing toilets which use this waterless, odorless, and independent concept. Today, we will focus on one which is standing at a location with a somewhat funny name: Betteleiche (oak of begging).

It was built in 2010 and is in the national park called Hainich in the central German state of Thuringia. The Hainich is recognized as a UNESCO Natural Heritage for its beech tree forests and it’s the largest coherent area of deciduous trees in Germany.

The toilet is adapted for users in wheelchairs. It features one large room with both a common toilet with handrails and a urinal for people standing. The room has a window and is well lit. The house around the toilet was built by a local company. It blends nicely with the surrounding forest and is tailored to a medium use frequency.

It is at a crossroads of two hiking paths (and important ancient roads) well inside the woods. To get to this place, people have already been walking for a while in the forest. There is a little cabin next to it where you can take shelter and use the benches to rest or picnic. Providing a bathroom there is very convenient for all visitors, and at the same time it would be extremely costly to connect the spot to the sewage system: costly both in financial terms as well as the effect the construction would have on nature.

The name Betteleiche is derived from a nearby oak tree which monks had used 500 years ago. To protect the donations, they carved a hole into the tree and put a box in where people could leave contributions and prayers. As the tree grew, this hole widened and today the lower part of the stem looks like a 2.5-meter-high gate. It is a fascinating sight and is considered one of the landmark trees of the state of Thuringia.

For more touristic ideas, get outdoors and joins us for a better resource use!

Source: ABEREUS and https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteleiche