Women can now swim topless in Berlin’s swimming pools

The move reflects Germany’s tradition of nudity | PLUS: Is your city topless?

“An Instagram website page celebrating “topless tourism” has been a hit, with more than 30,000 online followers getting behind the social media trend that sees travellers baring their bosoms to the world.” – NZ Herald

Women in Berlin can now swim topless in the city’s public pools if they choose to – just as men can.

As well as being hailed as a step forward for gender equality in the German capital, the measure introduced this week is symptomatic of Germany’s love of Freikoerperkultur – literally translated as ‘free body culture’ – which has its roots in the late 19th century.

Berlin’s authorities took action after a female swimmer said she was prevented from attending one of the city’s pools without covering her chest in December 2022.

The woman lodged a complaint with the city’s ombudsman’s office at the Senate Department for Justice, Diversity and Anti-Discrimination.

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Authorities agreed that the woman had been a victim of discrimination and this week said that all visitors to Berlin’s pools, including women and those who identify as non-binary, are permitted to go topless.

“The major contrast in attitudes towards nudity in Germany compared with the UK and America is that naked people in Germany are not kept separate from others.”

It follows a similar incident at a Berlin water park in the summer of 2021. French woman Gabrielle Lebreton sought financial compensation from the city after security guards ordered her to leave the premise when she refused to cover up her breasts.

She was with her five-year-old son when the incident happened. Speaking to German newspaper Die Zeit at the time about why she believed it was gender discrimination, she said: “For me — and I teach this to my son — no, there is no such difference.

For both men and women, the breast is a secondary sexual characteristic but men have the freedom to remove their clothes when it is hot and women do not.”

Berlin’s state government confirmed the move in a press release Thursday. “As a result of a successful discrimination complaint, the Berlin bathing establishments will in future apply their house and bathing regulations in a gender-equitable manner,” the statement reads.

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“The ombudsman very much welcomes the decision of the bathing establishments because it creates equal rights for all … ”


GOTOPLESS.ORG – The following U.S. cities are officially topless “tested”:

  • Asheville, NC
  • Austin, TX,
  • Boulder, CO
  • Columbus, OH
  • Eugene, OR
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Keene, NH
  • Key West, FL at Fantasy Fest
  • Madison, WI,
  • New Orleans, LA, at Mardi Gras
  • New York City
  • Portland, Or,
  • Santa Fe, NM
  • South Miami Beach, FL (on the beach)
  • Washington, DC

It is also legal to be topless in public in Canada.

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