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Reader’s report: Scoop law sign from Amsterdam, and living with a pet in the Netherlands

Reader Melissa kindly sent me this shot from, I think, Amsterdam (you’ll see why I think that in a moment):

“Niet op de stoep” means, I now know, “not on the sidewalk” in Dutch. You see similar warnings elsewhere in Europe, and they’re just so baffling. Who can predict when their dog will feel the urge to purge? It seems more sensible to acknowledge that sidewalk poop happens, and to address, instead, the issue of picking it up and disposing of it properly. Also, although I like the font and that stylized dog is terrific (note how from one angle, he’s stooping to poop, and from another angle, he’s lifting a leg), I have a bone to pick about the kerning, and the layout, overall, gives me heartburn.

Melissa also sent me a picture of Gracie, her beautiful Miniature Poodle (“dwergpoedel,” in Dutch), on the train to Amsterdam:

A quick aside at this point to tell you that small pets in carriers travel free on Dutch trains, while leashed dogs will need a 3 € day pass, regardless of destination. This link takes you to the NS pet policy (“Meenemen huisdier”).

Melissa has nothing but good things to say about having a pet in the Netherlands: “I would highly recommend all dog lovers come visit The Netherlands. There can’t be a better country in the world for dogs. I take Gracie on all forms of transportation and into all sorts of shops and restaurants as well. The park/woods in our urban neighborhood allows dogs off leash. Dutch people love dogs. Once I was in a tiny cafe and a woman with an American accent said quite loudly, ‘They allow dogs in here!?’ I moved away from her, and then the waitress appeared, carrying an enormous dog dish with water and a treat, too.”

Well, almost nothing but good things: “The only problem — the  poop! Even though there are no poop signs all over the place, and special bins to put it in, there is dog poop everywhere.” It’s the graphic design that’s the problem, in my opinion — fix the kerning, and people will pay closer attention to the scoop law signs….

Thank you so much, Melissa, for the pictures and the information! Amsterdam is one of the handful of places I’ve seriously considered throwing Seattle over for, and Melissa’s report is reminding me of how happy we’ve been there. I’m adding this post to Dog Jaunt’s scoop law sign collection — to see others, click on the “scoop law” tag below this post, or type “scoop law” in the search box.


  • Audra de Bont

    I live half my time in the US and half my time in the Netherlands. My husband is Dutch and so I go back and forth with my chihuahuas pretty frequently. Holland is an extremely friendly place to be with dogs. I encourage anybody who likes to travel with their dogs to go there!

  • Monica McLaughlin

    I completely understand why the Dutch do not want dogs pooping on the sidewalk where people walk. Even if the owner picks it up, they leave plenty of poop in a smear behind. People walk on it and then bring it into their homes on their shoes.

    I live in Manhattan, NY with 2 Westies. When they are about to poop, I slip a paper towel underneath their butts. They poop on the paper towel. I then put it into a plastic baggie and throw it out. This is so simple to do and is easier than wiping the sidewalk clean(ish). More people should do it.

  • How clever, Monica! Thank you so much — that would never have occurred to me, but you’re right — it’s very do-able, and much tidier.

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