Topless women can now swim and sunbathe in city’s public pools after ban lifted

Everyone will now be allowed to swim topless in public pools, Berlin city officials have stated.

The ruling has come after a woman took legal action for being booted from a public pool for sunbathing topless.

Authorities in the German capital said everyone could visit the city’s public pools topless after agreeing the woman had been a victim of discrimination.

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The decision that the unnamed woman had been discriminated against led the Berliner Baederbetriebe – which is in charge of the city’s pools – to change its policy on people swimming topless.

In December, a second woman was told at an indoor pool that she had to cover up.

Nudity is considered in many parts of German culture as a healthy and appropriate way of life.

An approach called Freikörperkultur, or free body culture, is popular in Germany and the decision from Berlin’s authorities will no doubt be welcomed by its many subscribers.

Doris Liebscher, head of the ombudsperson's office, said: “The ombudsperson’s office very much welcomes the decision of the Baederbetriebe, because it establishes equal rights for all Berliners, whether male, female or non-binary, and because it also creates legal certainty for the staff at the Baederbetriebe.

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“Now it is important that the regulation is applied consistently and that no more expulsions or house bans are issued.”

Berlin is far from the first local authority in Germany to change its rules regarding people swimming topless.

In 2022 Siegen in North Rhine-Westphalia and Göttingen in Lower Saxony both permitted topless swimming in its pools.

Hanover, the state capital of Lower Saxony, said only “primary sex organs” must be covered “in the wet area” of its city baths.

Further afield, Switzerland got rid of a ruling that had been about for 88 years.

It said in 2017 that people would be able to swim topless in Lake Geneva and the Rhone River.

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