Berlin authorities to allow women to go topless in public swimming pools

Nude woman going for a swim - stock photo
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It's long been known that Germans have a penchant for public nudity, and now, Berlin's authorities have ruled that women will soon be allowed to swim topless in the city's public pools.

While Kiwis may struggle to comprehend sunbathing sans swimmers in front of strangers - in a park, that is - it's quite common for Germans to ditch the duds in shared spaces like beaches, lakes and public gardens.

The decision to jettison bikini tops at public pools came after a woman took legal action for being evicted from an open-air pool for sunbathing topless, reports BBC, adding that a second woman said she was told to cover up while at an indoor pool in December.

Authorities agreed the women had been victims of discrimination and decided all visitors to Berlin's pools would be entitled to bare their boobs if they wished to do so.

The decision will prove popular among those who champion 'free body culture', referred to as freikörperkultur, which touts the benefits of being naked in the sun and air, and nudity as a communal activity.

Last summer, Göttingen in Lower Saxony and Siegen in North Rhine Westphalia allowed women to swim topless, as per BBC.

Berlin's swimming pool operator the Berliner Bäderbetriebe (BBB) has not yet changed its official rules, which outline that swimming costumes must cover the private parts.

According to New Zealand's Citizens Advice Bureau, there is no specific law against nudity in New Zealand, however there is a law against obscene or indecent exposure as well as offensive and disorderly behaviour. This means rocking your birthday suit in a shared space is probably not the best idea if there's a chance bystanders may take offence.

However, there are nudist communities in Aotearoa which you can participate in if you feel so inclined. There are also several beaches in New Zealand where nudity is generally accepted.

The Free Beaches website has a list of nudist beaches in New Zealand, while Nude Beaches New Zealand has guidelines for going naked without causing offence. Your local naturist society may also be able to tell you about beaches where nudity is accepted.