Saturday, January 14, 2012


Freikörperkultur (FKK) is a German movement whose name translates to Free Body Culture. It endorses a naturistic approach to sports and community living. Behind that is the joy of the experience of nature or also of being nude itself, without direct relationship to sexuality. The followers of this culture are called traditional naturists, FKK'ler, or nudists. There has been an extensive removal of restrictions on public nudity in Germany since about the 1980s.


Beginnings in the 18th century

In many parts of central Europe up until the 18th century, people bathed naked in rivers and lakes, although often separately by sex. Beginning in the late 18th century, public nudity became increasingly taboo, though this never penetrated into sparsely-populated Scandinavia. At the same time, Lord Monboddo (1714-1779) practiced and preached nude bathing as a revival of Ancient Greek attitudes toward nudity. This found literary reference in Georg Christoph Lichtenberg's (1742-1799) book Das Luftbad.

"Nude culture" and life reforms - up to World War I

In 1898 the first FKK club was founded in Essen. In 1900 more and more Swedish baths arose in rooms in Berlin and on the North and Baltic seas. A few years before there were mixed sex baths in many places, which, although requiring contemporary, modest bath clothes, were either forbidden or regarded as immoral. Also, in 1900 the naturist movement began in France.

Behind the FKK movement lay, at least in Germany, an attitude towards life in which the naked body is not shameful. The nudity of FKK should not involve sexuality. In this light, the need to be nude in the shower or sauna does not belong with Freikörperkultur, since it's practically necessary. FKK'ler put here nudity with prior group consensus, and therefore demanded no reserved zones, such as separate beaches or club areas.

A while later, after the political liberalization, conservative circles tried to challenge the increasingly popular (especially among urban intellectuals) nude baths as a corruption of morality.

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