We like to illustrate with descriptions of some of encounters with clothed people, how they typically react. A poll amonst readers of a newspaper completes the picture.
At first, we narrate with some examples, how law and case law is applied in practice. Now and then, we encounter police officers during our naktivities. This can happen by accident or when police officers seek us out.
The latter may occur because someone is unfamiliar with naturist activities in nature, categorises the activity wrongly, calls the police and so distracts them from their proper duties and responsibilities. With the words of a police officer, as she stopped with her colleague in October 2017 in the Ruhr River Valley near Bochum, Westphalia:
“[…] Unfortunately, there are still people, who confuse nude activities with exhibitionism and then call the police. Since we have received several calls this evening and the number of cases of exhibitionism in our area has increased lately, we have decided to drive here and assure ourselves that here, in fact, a naturist is doing nothing but to hike and to jog in the nude. […] We wish you a nice evening!"
Here, we cite the course of contacts with police officers, which we experienced during naktivities.
“Returning on rural roads, we also reached the car park ‘Leopoldshöhe 1’ near Nottuln. Shortly thereafter, still being relaxed in the buff, a police patrol came to us. An experienced policeman and a young female colleague were obviously pleased to meet us, did not even get out of their vehicle. The policeman asked us, if we were nude hikers, informed us that they had come to us, because someone, who was ‘worried’, had called them about it.
An enlightening conversation began: We reported, that during the first WNT 2016
, we had informed the responsible police by email, but the responsible control centres had not forwarded this message. He answered us, that nude hiking etc. was so normal and well-known by now, that it was not even necessary to inform the police about it in advance. We interrupted our relaxed conversation near the police vehicle from time to time to allow cycling people to pass safely between the police vehicle and us.”
“The hikers crossed a small section of forest, reached the farming community called “Bauerschaft” and then crossed a temporary road, on which material for the construction of new road B67n circumventing villages is transported around Merfeld. A police vehicle came towards us. We gave way. The driver returned my greeting and drove on.”
“Throughout the hike, people cycling and driving gave us positive reactions as usual. So, we took it calmly, that – towards the end of the hike – a lady walking a dog insulted us savagely and wanted to call the police. Others, who hiked a shortened track, and the cycling naturists reported the same verbal abuse. In fact, the ‘lady appearing confused to us’ really made the police go on duty.
A young policewoman started by claiming, that being in the nude would be a criminal offence. We were able to inform her, that this is not the case. Finally, an article in regional daily peridical Westfälische Nachrichten “Freie Körperkultur im Venner Moor – ‘Nacktwandern ist keine Belästigung’”
[en: “FKK in Venner Moor – ‘Nude hiking is not a nuisance’”) in October 2018 had reported on statements by a spokesperson for the police in Münster (Westphalia) and a department head of the citizens' office of the city of Senden, that nude hiking is precisely not objectionable from the point of view of police and German Ordnungsamt [en: Public Order Office].
It is a pity, that police were unnecessarily made to go on a tour of duty. We are pleased, that we were able to make a modest contribution to further increasing the pool of experience on understanding law among the police. After all, the desire to be comprehensively informed about valid laws leads even studied, fully qualified lawyers, after passing all state examinations, to the realisation, that it is better as lawyers and judges to limit themselves to individual areas of law and become experts in those.”
“We also got in touch with a police patrol interested to know, if everything was alright and when the next Westphalian Naturist Days will take place. We could not yet give a fixed date, but at least inform those police officers about the URL www.nackt-wandern.de [en: www.hiking-in-the-buff.info].”
“Two policewomen came to us in the parking lot. “You don't look like, it was you, who called us. But we had to come here, because of a phone call and check up on you. Of course, you're allowed to hike or cycle nude, and you all seem to know, how to conduct yourself nude in public.” We explained that we had split into two groups of 10 people each and that we would comply with the corona regulation. At the end of the short conversation, the policewomen wished us a nice day – we gladly returned this wish.”
“While trying out a nude hiking route of the WNT, I encountered a patrol of German Ordnungsamt
, wanting to stop me because of nudity. […] ‘We didn't know that. Please excuse the interruption. We wish you a nice hike in the buff.’ was their reaction, they returned the printout neatly folded up. My hike was saved!”
“During a nude hike at Metelener Heide, we met a cyclist in Sellen, who uttered the words “Is the whole world perverted?“ We tried to explain to him, that of all the people present, no one was a pervert. However, that did not help: He nevertheless phoned the police
One day later, during a rest at the Mittelland Canal, we received another police visit
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Initiator Günther had previously informed the police station
about the plan for the hike including the location of the car park, from where the hike should start. Shortly before the start of the hike, a motorcycle patrol passed the parking lot at the Kinder- und Jugendfarm Wuppertal
[en: Wuppertal youth farm] (jugendfarm-wuppertal.de). He passed us at walking pace, turned around in front of us and said to us while passing by in the same speed: “I hope, you've put on sufficient sun cream!' Without waiting for an answer, he drove away again.
– Naktivity: 30 June 2018, Nude hike in Wuppertal
“They had a nice experience crossing country road L592 near restaurant Lintels Kotten
: Half of the hikers in the buff had just crossed the country road, when the others had to wait because of a vehicle approaching. It was a police patrol car. The officers drove on without taking any interest in us. Hiking in the buff is meanwhile so normal, commonplace, and well known.”
“[…] The cycling group had numerous encounters of different kinds: with people, with horses and with police officers – the latter had received several calls and spent more than 2 hours of their service to search for the nude cyclists. That prompted them, to ask the cyclists to be informed in advance about similar events in the future – then they could calm down callers right on the phone: “We know, that they are not doing anything bad.' […]”
“And I have to work!“
Officer of a police patrol, who saw a group of nude cyclists at 35°C and bright blue sky on their way along the Elbe River from Pirna upriver towards the Czech Republic passing him well aired.
– Experienced during a nude bicycle ride along Elberadweg to Czech Republic [14 August 2017]
“[…] Several people, who probably did not know or could not classify correctly nude hiking activities, called the police, so that we had a visit by a police patrol in between. After the policeman first spoke a bit confusing of possibly ‘perceived insult’, he finally only asked us to take care for older ladies on traffic roads. Of course we will do that! We have rejected all other allegations as unfounded. […]”
“[…] On Saturday, 9 July, then another Heath Park ranger appeared and wanted to stop the nude hike. He said, he had a mandate to advise nude hikers outside of the ‘official’ nude hiking nature trail at Undeloh that they must not be in the nude outside of this trail. In addition, he spoke of a deed ‘Erregung Öffentlichen Ärgernisses’ [en: ‘Causing a public disturbance
’], which of course is completely beside the point, because such a deed is per definition of the law always a sexual deed in public.
He did not believe that and called the police. A female officer initially spoke of ‘exposing the genitals’, but we made it clear to her, that this was not the purpose of our hike. Another police officer answered by phone and asked for the personal details of the initiator of the hike. A few hours later, he called again and said, that there was no reason to intervene.”
The initiator then passed this message on to Heath Park ranger, who now clearly found it unpleasant to have acted as ‘complainant’ to the police. […]“
“[…] Later, a blowout caused the cyclists to shorten the tour by a few km. While we were busy with the repair, two police officers, who passed us on a bike patrol, greeted us very nicely.'
A four-headed family meets us in the Teutoburger Wald (en: Teutoburg Forest). The mother: "Children, take a closer look, this is the new poverty in Germany, they cannot afford anymore to buy clothes!" Our answer: "But it is also a lot of fun, to hike free of clothes!"
"What happened to you? Have you been raided?" Our answer: "No, a few kilometers farther, there is a clothes recycling bin, where we have donated everything, which we had with us."
"Didn't you forget something?"
"Huh, if I only see you, I'm cold, don't you be cold?"
"When I come home and tell my wife, she will not believe me that, may I take a photo of proof?" We allowed it to him, but asked: "For personal use, only."
"Is something special going on here?" Our answer: "No, we're hiking every weekend!"
In the Hainich Nature Park we encountered a female hiking group. When the guide became aware of us, she explained to her fellow hikers, "Ah, there we meet a group of nacked hikers. Such nacked hikes now take place everywhere in Germany!"
During a hike in the Westerwald mountains, two clothed hikers overtook our group of about 30 people, so that many nude people hiked in front of and behind them. Two mountain bikers reached the end of the group of nude hikers. One of them shouted, "And we've already thought we're clothed curtly in our cycling jerseys, but you've still topped us!" Then they reached the two clothed hikers between the nude ones. The biker asked them in astonishment: "What is wrong with you, that you are wearing something!"
In the Arnsberg forest, we encountered two woodworkers. Says one of them: "Man, that's great, how did you come to that idea?" Our answer: "It is simply wonderful, to hike in the nude through nature and to feel as part of nature." The woodworker: "May I accompany you?" "Well, pretty sure", we replied, and he began to undress. "You're at work and stay here!" The other one vigorously spoke – he was probably the manager.
In the Bergisches Land mountains, we hiked around a dam. A young woman hurrahed to us, "Wow, you really exist, are you the nude hiking group known by TV reports on WDR (WestDeutscher Rundfunk; regional public television broadcasting station)?" – "Yes indeed, that's us!"
In August 2009, German daily regional newspaper Neue Deister Zeitung (NDZ) carried out an opinion poll among its readers on the occasion of the nude hike in the Deister mountain. The result: