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The Netherlands: Ale of an idea: Amsterdam unveils King's Day urine plan - by Jon Henley

It is a process as natural as it is inevitable: the consumption of large quantities of beer leads to the production of large quantities of another amber liquid.

But when up 1.5 million ale-fuelled revellers take to the streets and canals of Amsterdam on Wednesday for the city’s annual King’s Day celebrations, the local water board does not intend to let it go to waste.

“We want to show what terms like ‘sustainability’ and ‘a circular economy’ really mean,” said alderman Abdeluheb Choho, outlining plans to collect 25,000 litres (44,000 pints) of urine from street party visitors and turn them into fertiliser.

“It’s particularly wonderful we can do it while the whole city is having a ball,” Choho, in charge of the sustainability portfolio on the city council, told Het Parool newspaper.

Between 600,000 and a million visitors are expected to join the Dutch capital’s 800,000-plus residents on 27 April, the birthday of King Willem-Alexander and a major national holiday.

Most will be dressed extravagantly in orange – in honour of the Dutch royal family, the House of Oranje-Nassau – and engaged enthusiastically in downing a great deal of beer (often a special low-alcohol “event beer” sold for the occasion).

Waternet, the city water board, said it would collect the urine – mainly male; female pee is apparently trickier because it tends to come with added loo paper – at three locations around the city, including two music festivals and the central Vondelpark.

The phosphate-rich King’s Day urine will be taken to a factory where Waternet successfully extracts enough of the essential plant and crop nutrient to fertilise the equivalent of 10,000 football fields every year, Het Parool said.

This year marks Amsterdam’s third King’s Day or Koningsdag, following Willem-Alexander’s inauguration on 30 April 2013. Previously, the celebration – one of the world’s largest street parties – was called Queen’s Day.

Read more: Ale of an idea: Amsterdam unveils King's Day urine plan | World news | The Guardian

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