Freikörperkultur  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

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 on 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.

Contents

History

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 in many places mixed sex baths, 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 stood, at least in Germany, an attitude to life, according to which the naked body is no reason for shame. 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.

Naturism between World War I and World War II

The first nude beach in Germany was established in 1920 on the island of Sylt. In 1933 after the Hitler government came to power the nudist organizations were banned or integrated into Nazi organizations. The first dissertation about the FKK-movement was written in the 1930s. The first naturist Olympic Games took place in Thielle in Switzerland in August 1939.

One of the greatest dangers for German culture and morality is the so-called nudity movement. Greatly as it is to be welcomed in the interest of the public health, that ever wider circles, especially of the metropolitan population, are striving to make the healing power of sun and air and water serviceable to their body, as greatly must the so-called nudity movement be disapproved of as a cultural error. Among women the nudity kills natural modesty; it takes from men their respect for women, and thereby destroys the prerequisite for any genuine culture. It is therefore expected of all police authorities that, in support of the spiritual powers developed through the national movement, they take all police measures to destroy the so-called nude culture.
Hermann Göring: 1933 Nazi edict

In 1942 the first documented nude wedding was celebrated in Elysian Fields, California. In Germany the ban against nude swimming was softened by allowing nude swimming in remote areas in 1942.

From 1945 to 1980

The first naturist holiday resorts were opened around 1950 in France (Centre-Hélio-Marin in Montalivet-les-Bains, Aquitaine, France).

The nude beach in Kampen on the Sylt island in Germany was particularly popular due to extensive media coverage. FKK resorts in Yugoslavia, France and on the coast of the Baltic sea became popular holiday places. Also naturist organizations gained many new members in the 1960s. Since the end of the 1960s nudity has been an accepted artistic means of expression in many countries.

Legal issues

In response to an influx of German FKK enthusiasts crossing the Alps, the Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden is to create laws making nude hiking illegal in 2009.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Freikörperkultur" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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