When taking a stroll along the beach, you will normally stumble across people bathing in the nude; something not regularly seen in most other places.
Though you personally might be very comfortable and used to the sight of the naked human body, this isn’t the case for many, while in Germany one in three has tried out showing themselves as god created them. In the states that formerly belonged to the GDR, in particular FKK (it stands for ‘Free Body Culture’) has a standing tradition and is celebrated widely. Here almost twice as many people show themselves completely undressed, free as it were.
In places such as the Warnemünder Beach, the Mecklenburger Seenplatte, or Munich’s central park areas are specifically designated for nudist usage, but even elsewhere on beaches or lake shores, naked people can be seen and are tolerated.
Even so, FKK culture is declining, and in specific societal groups it is far less present than in others. Nine percent of men over 50 bathe naked while only 4 percent of men under 39 do. Women in general tend to cover themselves more often. 98 women, below 39, out of 100 always do so.
This however seems to be only half true. Quite often you will see women, especially young women, sunbathing topless, for it prevents tan lines from developing. This is somehow considered being a different story though this trend also seems to have declined in recent years.
There is one other place that comes to my mind where nudity isn’t necessarily associated with sexuality and where it is even expected not to wear clothes – the sauna. Unlike in other countries, it is deemed unhealthy and unhygienic to cover yourself up with a towel, a bathing suit or the likes when enjoying the hot vapors. Sometimes you can find textile saunas in swimming pool complexes, but clothing is generally prohibited (or at least unwelcome). If female and feeling uncomfortable being seen naked by others, women are sometimes granted the privilege of saunas reserved for them.
But then again one could say to visit a sauna isn’t exactly public (and being nude is normally also prohibited in public). What’s public though is taking off your clothes in the city harbor in Octobers broadest daylight which is what happens every single year. If you witness this: Don’t get confused. Such is the tradition required from the newbies at the faculty of Medicine at the university, similar to those present in many universities around the globe and is also a quite rare occurrence in Germany. Children bathing naked in public fountains or elsewhere on the other hand isn’t (rare) though you normally only see this in former Eastern Germany.
So you might see that nudity is dealt with quite openly in Germany, this is only the case for some people in specific context – so don’t go running around naked all day. It is (almost) never expected of you to undress, but if you’d like to try out, see if you can find an area where it says ‘FKK’. Otherwise it’s considered polite to keep at distance from nude people who have chosen a spot off the beaten track and try not to stare.