Free Body Movement: Freikörperkultur

Posted on 05. Apr, 2010 by in Culture, History, People, Sports, Traditions, Travel, Uncategorized

Freikörperkultur is a German term that means “free body movement” and is oftentimes referred to as FKK.

It endorses the synergistic activity ( Die Aktivität ) of sports and community living. The joy and experience of being connected with nature becomes expressed through nudity, but let it be noted that such nakedness eschews any direct relationship to sexuality. Since the 60′s nudity has been accepted in many countries as art, and particularly the free body movement ( Freikörperkultur)  that grew increasingly popular in East Germany.

FKK culture started in the 1800s, with people ( Die Menschen)  bathing ( Baden ) naked in lakes and rivers , often separately by sex. This practice soon ( wurde schnell )  became a taboo in the late 18th century yet never became truly prohibited in northern Scandinavia.

Behind the FKK movement stood, at least in Germany, an attitude toward life in which the naked body should not bear reason for shame. The nudity within FKK does not involve sexuality. In this light, the need to be nude in the shower or sauna does not relate to Freikörperkultur, since it’s a less expressive and more necessary type of living. FKK in its early days did not require prior group consensus, as opposed to today where it demands reserved zones such as separate beaches ( Die Strände)  and club areas.

After the political liberalization, conservative circles tried to challenge the increasingly popular (especially among urban intellectuals) nude baths as a corruption of morality. The most well known complaint about this was rather from Hermann Göring in 1933 Nazi Edict:

“One of the greatest dangers for German culture and morality is the so-called nudity movement. Greatly as it is to be welcomed in the interest of the public health, that ever wider circles, especially of the metropolitan population, are striving to make the healing power of sun and air and water serviceable to their body, as greatly must the so-called nudity movement be disapproved of as a cultural error. Among women the nudity kills natural modesty; it takes from men their respect for women, and thereby destroys the prerequisite for any genuine culture. It is therefore expected of all police authorities that, in support of the spiritual powers developed through the national movement, they take all police measures to destroy the so-called nude culture.”

In 1939 there was also a the first naturalist Olympic Games held in Switzerland. Several countries around Europe have picked up on FKK culture with nudist resorts or clubs. In Southern Germany, FKK clubs offer hotels, dining and a variety of outdoor activities — all nude. To some it may seem an odd sight: to see people hiking mountains while wearing nothing but hiking boots, socks, and a backpack. Dining is also done in the nude with the opposite sex, yet again is never sexual.

Facilities for naturalists are classified differently as well. A members’ naturalist club is one that owns its own facilities, while non-landed (or travel) clubs meet at various locations, such as private residences, swimming pools, hot springs, landed clubs and resorts, and rented facilities. Landed clubs can be run by members on democratic lines or by one or more owners who make the rules. In either case, they may determine membership criteria and the obligations ( Verantwortungen )  of their members.

Naturalism had many different philosophical sources and means many things to different people. One must not forget, in early time of human civilization, from the old Egyptians to the Assyrians that nudity was the most common behavior of mankind (and still is, depending on how you view it).

With so many sex offenders walking around, a place where this subject seems taboo and nudity is conjoined with sexual behavior, I find myself asking “Would I want my child to see this?” No. I personally grew up with FKK in Germany, but at some age this exposure is culturally suggested to come to a crashing stop. If they choose to explore nudity later on in life, then that should be their choice. Should such cultural movements be abolished to protect our youth? Or should any person of any age have a choice in that?

Die Aktivität- The Activity

Die Menschen- The people

Baden- Bathing

Wurde schnell- but soon

Freikörperkultur- Free body movement

Die Strände- the beaches

Verantwortungen- obligations-örperkultur

- viewer discretion is advised : Naturist Holiday

and to learn the words in German: Click here

2 Responses to “Free Body Movement: Freikörperkultur”

  1. Marita 6 April 2010 at 1:15 am #

    You guys write about the best topics! I grew up with this as well and I thought it was mostly ok. But with more and more sickos in this world it should probably be regulated some more. I agree it’s definitely not for teenagers – too weird.

  2. Brian Taylor - British Naturism 6 April 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    Thank you for a well-balanced article. I have to disagree with Hermann Göring though over the issue of it taking away men’s respect for women. In my experience it has quite the opposite effect. But then this was Hermann Göring…

    I firmly believe that there would be far fewer sex offenders about if we all grew up with this attitude to nudity. I will agree that children go through a phase when some do not want to go naked and that should be respected; we should never force anyone to do this if they don’t want to.

    By the way, as this is a language site, I feel I should point out that you should be using the term “naturist”, not “naturalist”. Naturalist = some who studies nature. Naturist = someone who connects with nature through nudity.

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