Monday, September 23, 2013

Clothing is optional in Germany

Naturism is big for Germans. Around 1 in 10 take a naked vacation at least once a year, according to Kurt Fischer, president of German Association for Free Body Culture.

Lately, however, nudism has been getting some additional exposure with the circulation of a photo purporting to show a young Angela Merkel and a couple of friends out for a waterside stroll in the buff.

The photo’s authenticity is contested, but there’s no doubt that naturism was popular in East Germany when Merkel — who’s expected to stay on as chancellor after elections later this month — was growing up there in the 1960s and ’70s.

Tolerated by the Communist authorities, stripping off became a way for East Germans to commune with nature and break with the regime’s conformity. The DDR Museum dedicated to showing daily life in East Germany in Berlin has exhibits illustrating the role nudism played there — with dioramas depicting naked sunbathing and volleyball.

Even today, naturism is more widespread in eastern resorts like Glowe, on the holiday island of Ruegen, which is part of the district Chancellor Merkel represents in parliament.

Full piece is at Salon

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