Ask Cheryl: Do Germans Swim Naked?
This is the first post, in what may or may not be an ongoing series, called “Ask Cheryl.” When readers ask questions, I might just answer them. The more absurd the question, the more likely I’ll be to respond!
Do Germans Swim Naked?
The answer to this question, is a big, resounding yes! Some Germans (not all), do indeed and quite comfortably, swim naked.
Germans of all ages, whether they’re young or old, toss aside their clothes and swim in the nude. Without a stitch of clothing on, in their “birthday suits,” without a care in the world.
This rather “thought provoking” question was recently posed by a reader, who must have read my blog post, An Expat’s Account Of Getting Naked At A German Spa.
Nudity, a True Story
I, myself, headed to Strandbad Grünau, where I plucked myself down on my giant beach towel to grab what little bit of sun my pasty white skin could handle before I burned to a brilliant, lobster-red crisp.
I’d almost forgotten the German’s proclivity to get naked in public. As I got off the tram and walked toward the lake, I spied some naked people and said, “Oh! Yeah, that again.”
It was not exactly my first time around nudity. I’ve been to the sauna in Germany before. I’ve reluctantly come across the annual naked bike ride in Toronto. I’ve attended gay pride in San Francisco. I’ve been to Kit Kat Club a few times. The shock has looooong since worn off.
Or so I thought! It seems that I’ve been away from public nudity for all too long, and my prudish, Canadian upbringing had taken over once more.
I’ll be honest, I saw things that I’ll never be able to “unsee.” I was momentarily traumatized …
There was a good-looking, young German girl. She spent hours tanning, turning over from time to time, revealing her very hairy nipples.
Then there were four old men in their 50s, just “hanging out” (pun intended), with their hands on their hips, pelvises jutted forward as they casually chatted about life with one another. One of them sported only a utility belt with four knives. Yes, four knives! Maybe he belongs to a historic and exclusive sword fighting society like this guy?
There was another man in a wheelchair, sitting back, quietly reading the newspaper. I imagine that he was reading intellectual articles, perhaps about the complexities of the EU economy, as he sat there completely and totally naked.
Nudity, Is It cool?
Jokes aside, it was actually pretty cool to be there among all of the naked people.
While I may have kept my clothes on (as about 75 percent of the other people on the beach did), I admire the German culture and their acceptance of the human body, no matter what the form. I see it as just another unique aspect of my expat life in Berlin!
Should You Swim Naked in Germany?
Before you tear off all your clothes and get ready to jump into a pool or lake, check out your surroundings. Are other people naked? If yes, then it’s reasonable to assume that it’s acceptable for you to go naked too.
You should double check whether or not the body of water you’re about to dive into is an “official” swimming spot — or you may be unlucky like this naked swimmer.
The best place to get naked in Berlin?
Tip: As I’m such a fan of being naked in Germany, I frequently shed my clothes and enjoy the textile free policy at Vabali Spa in Berlin, a Balinese inspired spa with indoor and outdoor pools, several saunas, a gym, onsite restaurant, and more.
So, yes. To answer your question, Germans do swim naked! I saw it for myself and can tell you, it’s absolutely true.