Hotel is "proud to be dirty and carry a wide variety of bacteria."


Better living through exposure to microbes at the the infamous Hans Brinker Budget Hotel in Amsterdam. After reading Wild Fermentation, I'm all for it!


  1. Interesting marketing campaign. I would like to introduce my new drink called “Cesspool”. Guaranteed to boost your immune system or kill you, which ever comes first.

  2. I actually agree with the intent behind this ad. In general, I think the germophobia in the US has gotten way out of hand.

    I had a friend that wouldn’t hug his children when they were sick. I also know people who bring cans of lysol with them to hotels and use the whole can before they can sit on the bed.

    Good hygiene is still absolutely necessary of course, but people are starting to take it too far.

    I like this ad and it does make me more inclined to at least poke my head in and see how serious they actually are. I respect a company that can poke fun at itself.

  3. The must have great immune systems in Zimbabwe, considering all the cholera bacteria around from lack of sanitation.

    While have been making my own apple cider with the wild yeasts contained in the skins of the apples I grow, there really isn’t such a thing as too clean. Frankly, cleanliness and sanitation has been the greatest preventive of disease ever developed, and it requires virtually no modern technology and little money to carry out.

  4. I stayed at the Hans Brinker many times in the 1980’s and would have to agree with their assessment of their cleanliness.

  5. notedscholar, at BB .sig lines are material for failblog.

    For the rest of you, you could wonder why a little bit of dirty-ness (to you) is the same as a sewage cocktail.

    If you can’t figure it out, consider the work of Pavlov as seen through the eyes of Lysol’s ad agency.


  6. I’d gotten into a number of discussions about the value of anti-bacterial soaps and the like before I finally started quizzing physicians. The consensus seemed to be that the sort of logic in this post applies to children, but that typical adult immune systems are essentially formed and change only at a very slow rate and it’s always going to be healthier to practice the best hygiene possible.

  7. A marketing campaign that tries to be cool by saying the complete opposite of what is expected of them is so 90s.
    Remember those Death cigarettes for example?

  8. Clayton,
    We do have to be careful about anti-bacterial soaps and such because the last thing we want to do is create resistant strains. There is such a thing as being too concerned about cleanliness. Humans are robust organisms.

  9. it’s common for people who clean other people’s houses for a living to comment that the filthiest are:_____________________

    three points and a high colonic for the first right answer.

    For extra credit: Why? (think carefully, the prize for right or wrong answer here involves being uncomfortable for the rest of your life.)

  10. You know what you call a teaspoonful of wine in a barrel full of sewage? Sewage.

    You know what you call a teaspoonful of sewage in a barrel full of wine? Sewage.

  11. I used to get sick all the time until I started dumpstering the majority of my food intake. I don’t know exactly what it is, maybe little bits of mold here and there, but it really has done wonders for my immune system. I know there are lots of smarty pantses around here – is this anything like a vaccination?

  12. there really isn’t such a thing as too clean

    I have OCD and respectfully disagree. There can be too much of anything. “Too clean”, “too safe”, “too law-abiding” are real states with deleterious effects.

  13. Tak –

    I’ll bite. Doctors? Because, you know, they’re already exposed to everything at work + regularly super-sterilize themselves at work, so why put in the effort at home?

    Also because they tend not to be hypochondriacs?

    Do I get the points? Do you need my meatspace addy for to send the colonic?

  14. @Jstigma

    “this kind of makes my lifestyle seem like some sort of evolutionary strategy.

    I like it.”

    For some helpful advice on this pursuit, may I recommend Chuck Palahniuk’s recent book “Rant:An Oral Biography of Buster Casey”.
    It’s an excellent book in all regards.

  15. #20 it’s common for people who clean other people’s houses for a living to comment that the filthiest are:_____________________

    A: My sources say that it’s nurses.

    Like the cobbler’s and his barefoot kids, they get so tired practicing their craft at the job all day that it just seems like more work to ‘be clean’ when they get home.
    An RN’s kitchen can be a very scary place….

  16. Given the fact that cheap hotels are used for sexual tysts, patrons are already being exposed to new bacteria and viruses.

  17. “it’s common for people who clean other people’s houses for a living to comment that the filthiest are:_____________________”


  18. While it’s funny and all, the ‘germaphobia’ sometimes has good rationale. One of my siblings takes an immuno-suppresent for colitis. As a result she gets sick at the drop of a hat. And a cold or virus can hang on for weeks.

    I recall the last time she had blood drawn at the doctor’s the resulting purplish bruise was there for a month.

    Yes, we should be wary of the superbug epidemic, but there’s a reason to wash your hands and cover your mouth. Resist the backlash against normal hygiene!

    1. The funny thing is, normal hygiene requires almost no resources. Water and something to scrub with. Trachoma, which blinds millions, could be eradicated by daily face washing.

  19. Agreed about the restaurant comment – Having worked as a cook in some restaurants that have meals that cost as much as my monthly rent, I can assure you that if you are the type of person that would throw your food away rather than eat it if it fell on the floor, you never, ever, ever want to spend a week in a restaurant kitchen.

    Ironically, the cheapest restaurants (fast food, etc) are often far far more sanitary than more expensive ones.

    And it really is true – never ever send your food back to the kitchen.

    to everyone else I say relax, you’ve been eating food from cooks that just scratched their schweaty balls, processed foods with ground up unmentionables, and other gross things for awhile now.

    And don’t even get me started on what leaving your toothbrush on the sink next to the toilet means.

  20. FTW!

    So, how’s this gonna work, Tak? I’m in hippyland, I’m sure I can find a colo-crystal-macro-homeo-holo health center/dayspa without too much trouble and send BB the receipt.

    Or does BB have a corporate account somewhere?

    You mods have access to my email, I’m sure. Just send me the info and I’ll get on losing those easy five pounds and pesky intestinal flora…

  21. Robin Hood @41: Ironically, the cheapest restaurants (fast food, etc) are often far far more sanitary than more expensive ones.

    George Orwell made much the same observation in Down and Out in Paris and London, after working in a fancy Parisian restaurant.

  22. The whole toothbrush next to toilet thing is easily solved – if you close the lid of the toilet, there isn’t going to be much spray.

  23. relax Ridl (really relax), one night soon when you stumble half asleep to the bathroom – it’ll all be over before you know it.

  24. AGIES: That makes a lot of sense. I can’t buy that using anti-bacterial soap will eventually harm my immune system. It does, however, make sense that it could contribute to anti-body resistant strains. I guess it already has. Isn’t that where MRSA come from?

  25. yup, that and over prescribed antibiotics that aren’t taken properly. Every hospital should have someone standing by with a scalpel to carve the following into the bodies of those that need it:

    1. Wash your hands, stupid!
    2. antibiotics don’t cure viruses!
    3. If we give you antibiotics, take ALL of them
    the way we told you!

    Just think of it, the above would literally save millions of lives if applied world-wide.

  26. Nope, just starting to explore Orwell beyond my old favourites 1984 and Animal Farm.

    I’ll do Wigan Pier next. I had a friend who lived in Wigan, home of the legendary Wigan Casino / Empress Ballroom. Where Northern Soul happened in England.

  27. This is a good philosophy.

    With this idea in mind, when I was 19, the morning after a raging house party, I went and collected every undrunk beer in the place. I filled a large pitcher, and poured it all down my throat with a beer bong in about 30 seconds.

    I know, it’s a pretty disgusting and awful story. I don’t know who was at the party, and there were probably some cigarette butts in there. I’m not the same person anymore, I don’t even touch alcohol or any other drugs.

    But, I really do feel I have a stronger than average immune system :)

  28. Wild Fermentation is one of my fave books! Makes me want to leave Santa Monica and join the author and his pals. I’m a vegan and can’t get behind all his recipes and ideas. But I would love to grow, forage and ferment all the time like he does! Live off the land. And the author has a serious immune problem (HIV I believe). Hooray for fermentation! I wish I had time and money to do it more often. Money cos it’s hard to forage in my ‘hood. What a great, inspiring, fun book! And healthy too!

    Plus his follow-up book, “the Revolution will not be Microwaved,” but I haven’t finished reading it yet. Too busy creating my own eBooks! Which I guess I can’t submit to Apple. Wow, that was interesting post, Apple censoring a comic book. Moving on . . .

  29. I stayed in a number of scungy hostels (including this one) travelling around Europe for five months and I didn’t catch a thing. I spend two nights in a four star hotel for work and end up infected with scabies.

    And for the record, the hostel wasn’t nearly as dirty as it made itself out to be.

  30. #20
    “Humans are robust organisms.”

    They are robust as a species. As individuals, not so much.
    For example, a disease that wipes out 15% of the population would be horrible, especially if you knew someone that contracted it and died.

    But hey, 85% of the population lived, and would likely be immune to future infections. That’s pretty robust.

    The entire idea that YOU, personally, must survive is what marketers of Lysol, anti-bacterial hand soap, and uber-anal-cleanliness market to. It plays on your fear of the unknown, that disease is out to get you, and that you may, in fact, die because of tiny organisms you can’t see.

    As a species, this idea is incorrect. We *should* give our immune systems a work out, especially as children (when immune systems are most mutable). Let your children play outside, let them roll around in the dirt, and expose them to the world!

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