Whether it’s your local park or far away lakes you’ll see people of all ages strip down to nothing in order to enjoy the sun on their skin. It’s as much apart of the culture here as drinking beers all day and having cigarette smoke blown in your face everywhere you go. If you come from a conservative place (or really any other place) it may come as shock to you how much of your fellow Berliners you may see on a daily basis. If you already have it in your head that you’ll have to learn not to stare, it will be easier to embrace the free spirit of Berlin.
I came from a country in which women showing their breasts in public is seen as lewd (breast feeding just became legal in all 50 states in the US), it’s illegal to be naked in public spaces, and kids over a certain age had to be covered up. Nudity is treated as a dirty word and the sight of it makes people uncomfortable. Not here! While it took a bit of getting used to, one of the best things about Berlin is that everyone is free to wear as little or as much as they want without being gawked at or judged (or arrested). Here are some places where you should be prepared to see it all:
Your Neighborhood Parks
During my first visit to a park in Berlin, out of the corner of my eye I saw a child around the age of 6 running towards me with nothing but flowing locks on his head. I thought, ‘Oh, his parents are very lenient with him wearing clothes.’ Until the next week when I went to a small park down the street and a woman laid her towel next to me then began to take off every piece of clothing, including her bra. I looked around and no one even glanced in her direction. I realized that as soon as the warm weather hits, the tops, pants, and even underwear come flying off.
Lakes Near and Far
You’ve heard about the men of all ages wearing speedos on beaches in Italy. The lake goers in Berlin do them one better. Be prepared to see people letting it all hang out as they lay in the sun, enjoy drinks, and head to the lake to take a dip. Take their lead and you’ll never have to worry about tan lines again.
On the Dance Floor
At certain clubs there are fetish nights or special events where club goers check their clothing at the door and dance the night away in the nude. In order to get in, the bouncers will press you about whether you’re aware of the event going on inside. Staff at these clubs want to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and aren’t subjected to staring, inappropriate comments, or unwanted touching. Whether you’re dressed or not, don’t be shy about asking the naked guy or gal next to you to dance.
It can be empowering to see people of all shapes and sizes proudly flaunting their birthday suits without a care in the world. Hopefully seeing it will make you feel even more comfortable in your own skin. But the good thing is there’s no pressure to expose yourself if you’re not ready – unless of course you go to a sauna, they make no exceptions.