Munich's Legalization of Public Nudity is Sexy, But Not Surprising
Though many countries simply tolerate it via unwritten rules and an open mind, Munich has officially legalized public nudity by creating six designated "nudist zones" throughout the city. The zones are mostly centered around or near the Isar River, including two in Englischer Park.
Public nudity has been somewhat of a debate in Munich since statewide laws concerning nude sunbathing expired last fall, but showing skin is nothing new for the Germans. Despite all the hype and attention this news has brought, this writer can testify that nudity was more than tolerated last summer in Munich. On a visit in July, after having a drink at the world's largest beer garden, I took a walk through Englischer Park and saw many people bearing skin. It was absolutely common behavior and nothing that anyone seemed to think twice about. As noted, this was before the laws controlling nude sunbathing expired.
Other news outlets keep including the detail that one designated area is "only ten minutes from Munich's main square," which, to me, suggests a sense of concern or fear that innocent, clothed human beings might see some skin if they're not careful.
It's pretty much common knowledge these days that Europeans, especially Germans and Scandinavians, are some of the least prude people on the planet. Nudity has always been a part of their culture, especially when it comes to the spa and sauna scene, so it is something Americans need to respect when traveling abroad. This means no staring and no cameras.
From the looks of the last photo, it doesn't seem like a bad spot to find yourself on a hot day. This is, without question, a type of nude travel I understand, participating in a cultural difference while lying on the banks of a river. As far as nude resorts go, though, I'm still stumped.
[Photo: The Independent/The Telegraph]