zaterdag 26 juni 2010

Naturism in The Netherlands

The Netherlands is known because of their tolerant attitude towards naturism. Although not every Dutch recreates in the nude, the Dutch are in common not very prude. Taking a shower together after sports, or changing clothes on the beach without the struggle with a towel around your waste are the standards.

Nude recreation
For them, who practices naturism, there are plenty opportunities. The Netherlands is blessed with a coastline of 450 km, of which is 300 km sandy beach. Spread over this sandy coastline you will find 38 nude beaches, which mean the average distance between two nude beaches is less than 10 km. If you stay along the coast, there will always be a nude beach close to you. Besides the nude beaches at the coast, you’ll find also at about 50 nude beaches and nude recreational areas in the interior of the country. These places are generally found in nature areas or recreation areas. Usually you’ll find the opportunity to swim and facilities like toilets are mostly available. Sometimes even a snack bar can serve the visitors.

Nude Beaches

The nude beaches in The Netherlands are in general good accessible by car or public transport. Depending on the location you have to count on a 5-20 minutes walk before entering the nude part of the beach. In general are the nude parts on the coast situated at the farest ends of the beaches and in the interior of the country at the more isolated areas. The farest ends of the nude beaches are in general frequented by gay men, due to the fact that it is less noisy. Some of the nude beaches offer a restaurant and a terrace.

Nude accommodation
Next to the nude beaches, you can find some secluded areas of naturist associations. These you can visit as a day visitor or stay for a few nights. Usually a membership is required. You can also find some smaller naturist camp sites, without the need of a membership and 4 bigger accommodations for nude recreation: Flevo Natuur, in the province of Flevoland, Loodsmansduinen on the island of Texel, Natukreek in the province of South Holland and Elsendorp in the province of North Brabant

Sauna and pool
All over the country there is a vast availability of saunas, over 150. Naturism is the standard in the saunas of The Netherlands and are in general mixed. A number of saunas offer special women days or women nights and some do (unfortunately) even offer special days for clothed visitors. Next to the saunas, about 60 swimming pools offer nude swimming hours.

For them who want to stay without clothes in The Netherlands, there are plenty possibilities en opportunities.

The law
What says the Dutch law about naturism?

Naturisme is beschreven in het wetsartikel 430a van het wetboek van strafrecht.

"For them who stay nude outside an area which is marked as a public area for nude recreation by the municipality, for them who are nude at or near a public road or place which is not suitable for nude recreation, will be punished with a fine of the first category (maximum € 380,-)."

This law means:
- the municipality can point out an area, which is qualified for naturism.
- if the municipality did not qualify a specific area for naturism, it will not mean that naturism is prohibited on this spot.
- the municipality can not decide whether naturism is allowed or not on a location. The judge is the only one who can.
- be alert of the fact that the Dutch police sometimes have an other opinion and the lack of knowledge of the purpose of section of the law 430a of the penal code. In The Netherlands you have the right to point that out to the police (so carry the law text with you). If you get a fine on a location where naturism was allowed or tolerated in the past, consider not paying and letting the judge speak. Most of the naturists won the cases.
- whether a location is suitable for naturism or not has to be decided by the judge. A nude walk through a shopping street will in general not be accepted, naturism at a quiet pond most likely will be.
- naturism in your own garden is right away allowed. The only restriction is that you should not be visible from the public road. Neighbors cannot complain and a judge will never let them win.

Most important is that you are not visible from the public roads when practicing naturism, unless specific regulations (some pointed out areas are visible from the public road).

In the beginning of the 19th century naturism was introduced in The Netherlands. In 1931 the history of organized naturism started with gatherings for sport and relaxation

The first nude beach in The Netherlands, in Callantsoog (North Holland), has been legalized in 1973. Two naturists provoke to get punished because of violation of public respectability. They want to give rise to a process. The naturists were found innocent by the judge and the legalization of this nude beach was a fact.

But it was still an offence to recreate nude. This changed finally in 1985. In that year the law was accepted that says that nude recreation will only be penal on places, which are not suitable for nude recreation (section of the law 430a of the penal code). This law is quite unique in the world.

Nowadays about 2 million of the Dutch practice in one or an other way nude recreation, like a visit to a sauna, a nude beach, a nude pool, a nude sunbath in the back yard or on holiday. 2 million on a population of 16,5 million, or 12% of the Dutch practice naturism!!!!!

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