Berlin: All Poolgoers Can Drop Their Swimsuit Tops

German capital says that women can go topless, just like the guys
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2023 1:35 PM CST
Berlin: All Poolgoers Can Drop Their Swimsuit Tops
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/curtoicurto)

Hate those pesky swimsuit tan lines you get while sunbathing? If you're planning an upcoming vacation in Berlin, you won't have to worry about that, if you're not too modest. That's because authorities in the German capital announced Thursday that they support the concept of "Freikoerperkultur," or "free body culture"—meaning anyone is free to go topless in the city's public swimming pools, reports the BBC. Previously, women who showed their breasts while visiting Berlin's public pools were sometimes asked to cover up or leave, and some were barred from ever coming back, per the AP.

One of those women decided to file a complaint after being booted. The legalities around this seem murky, but topless swimming or sunbathing by women appears to have not been outright unlawful in the city's public pools, per the Washington Post. In a statement, the Berlin state government noted that while pools do have requirements for "all bathers" to wear "standard swimwear," such as swim trunks, swimming shorts, bikinis, and, burkinis, the rules don't specify what gender has to wear what.

Which is why Berlin's public pools operator says it's now going to make sure to apply those rules across the board. This will "[establish] equal rights for all Berliners, whether male, female, or nonbinary," as well as "[create legal certainty for [pool] staff," says the head of Berlin's ombudsperson's office for equality and anti-discrimination, per the Post. In other parts of Germany, the issue doesn't seem to be as closely regulated: The BBC notes that "foreign visitors to Germany are often surprised—and sometimes downright disconcerted—by the sight of naked Germans frolicking in its lakes, snoring in its parks, or sweating in its saunas." (More Berlin stories.)

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