Majestic scenery from the outhouse. (Photo: Guttorm Raknes / Wikimedia Commons)
In the old days, people had to make their calls of nature in outdoor privies. Regular toilet paper was not available, so they used newsprint. In the early 1900s, weekly magazines became popular in Norway and were used for reading and wiping. On page three, the royal family was depicted, and people did not want to show any dishonor to the royal family. Therefore, the portraits were posted on the wall.
A common sight in Norwegian outdoor privies: King Haakon VII and Queen Maud. (Photo: The Royal House of Norway)
Today, many people still have portraits of the royal family on their cabin “outhouse” walls, although the toilets are rarely outdoors anymore. The tradition seems to have taken root in Norwegians.
There are many romantic connotations about the outhouse that plays a more significant role in cultural history than in practice. Through the years, strangely enough, many romantic episodes have occurred in connection with these Spartan buildings.
Today the outhouse is something nostalgic, and the carved heart on the door is not randomly selected. It symbolizes a beautification of something heinous, and as a contrast to the toilet. In addition, the heart works as ventilation. The tradition of depicting the royal family also provides a contrast between the unpleasant and sophisticated.
Text by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews