Facebook Twitter Email. CNN — When I was a kid, my father always used to sunbathe nude in our garden at weekends. In public pools, children of all ages were allowed to run around naked all the time. Even now I'm comfortable with getting naked in the sauna or gym changing room. Maybe it's because I'm German. Nudism is traditionally popular in Germany, a country considered buttoned up and conservative compared with, let's say, Italy. When you travel there, you'll see that baring all is normal in saunas, swimming pools, the park and on the beach. Summer in the parks of Berlin and Munich brings the chance of encountering a middle-aged, bronzed German wearing only a hat and the BILD-Zeitung, Germany's favorite tabloid. Forget sausages and beer, the sign of true German-ness is publicly disrobing with absolutely zero self-consciousness. For me, it's often just quicker and easier to do a clean strip at the pool or sauna than frantically trying to hide the bits that everyone else is already displaying without batting an eyelid.
The healthy hobby
German Birthday Suits on the Bike Path, at the Gas Station
Nothing new about being told off, as even liberal Berlin, to which I recently moved, is full of baffling rules. For the Germans, this is as normal as a trip to the supermarket. As in Scandinavia, saunas are revered here for their relaxing effects, circulatory benefits and power to make you sweat a pint in 10 minutes.
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A 'free body': Germany's nudist culture
During the Cold War and especially after the construction of the Berlin Wall in , many parts of the world had few ways of fully ascertaining what life was like in East Germany. Indeed, the Eastern Bloc state was isolated from the West in both the physical and ideological sense for decades. By Erin Kelly. Like this gallery? Share it: Share Tweet Email. A pantomime theater group eats on a rooftop in East Berlin, A German punk youth in East Berlin, Armed guards watch over a public soccer event to make sure the hooligans in the crowd do not get out of hand. Harald Hauswald.