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  • Nudity legal in what countries?

    Is there any country in the world in which public nudity is legal and/or socially acceptable?

  • #2
    Soundman

    Nudity is not actually illegal in many European countries, but the laws are so constructed that, if it does occur outside of certain accepted locations or situations, the authorities can take action to curtail it or even prosecute offenders, usually under minor public order, nuisance or public decency laws. This is unlike the US, where inappropriate nudity is often treated as a sexual offence.

    Certain parts of Germany are very relaxed about nudity, but Germany is a Federal Republic with local laws and in some states or cities they do not accept it. Spain does not ban nudity per se, but again the police can take action if it is done in circumstances which could offend (as I showed a couple of months ago when I cited the letter I received from the Spanish public prosecutor). Here in the UK, while there is no specific law against nudity, the police can direct you to cover up and they can resort to public order laws if you refuse. It's a similar situation in Denmark and Sweden, although these countries tend to be more relaxed about nudity generally, as does Holland.

    Stu

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    • #3
      Originally posted by soundman View Post
      Is there any country in the world in which public nudity is legal and/or socially acceptable?
      Spain, for one.

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      • #4
        And Moosylvania!

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        • #5
          nacktman says "Spain, for one".

          Just to save any confusion about Spain - I wrote to the Spanish Ministry for Justice to ask them the position in Spain and they replied:

          Efectivamente el nudismo está despenalizado en España y por tanto su práctica no es delito (ilícito penal) en ningún lugar. No obstante puede constituir una infracción administrativa, y conllevar una sanción monetaria, por desobediencia a las ordenanzas municipales en algunos ayuntamientos, que pueden prohibirlo dentro de sus términos municipales de forma directa o genéricamente en diferentes interpretaciones como actos que atentan a la moral o a las costumbres de las personas

          Recibe un cordial saludo


          I don't speak a word of Spanish, so I put it through an instant translator on the Internet, and it came out as follows:

          Really the nudism is legalized in Spain and therefore his practice is not a crime (illicit penalty) in any place. Nevertheless it can constitute an administrative infraction, and bear a monetary sanction, for disobedience to the municipal ordinances in some towns, which can prohibit it inside his municipality of direct form or generically in different interpretations as acts that commit an outrage against the morality or against the customs of the persons

          It receives a cordial greeting
          So nudity in Spain isn't universally legal - it can attract a fine in some towns.

          Stu

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          • #6
            [Quote]Just to save any confusion about Spain - I wrote to the Spanish Ministry for Justice to ask them the position in Spain and they replied:

            Quote:
            Efectivamente el nudismo está despenalizado en España y por tanto su práctica no es delito (ilícito penal) en ningún lugar. No obstante puede constituir una infracción administrativa, y conllevar una sanción monetaria, por desobediencia a las ordenanzas municipales en algunos ayuntamientos, que pueden prohibirlo dentro de sus términos municipales de forma directa o genéricamente en diferentes interpretaciones como actos que atentan a la moral o a las costumbres de las personas

            Recibe un cordial saludo [unquote]

            Since it seems likely that Stu is going to quote this communication to us repeatedly, it might be as well to have a more fluid translation than his computer provides. I offer the following:

            "It is correct that nudity is unpenalised in Spain and consequently its practice is not an offence (sanctionable illegality) anywhere.
            Nevertheless it may constitute an administrative offence, and carry a monetary sanction, for disobedience to municipal bylaws in some local governments, which may prohibit it within their municipal boundaries specifically or generically in different interpretations as acts which offend against the morals or practice of the people.

            With regards"

            I know that some Spanish naturists carry excerpts from the national law, which cannot in its basic intent be overridden by municipal bylaws, in order to defend themselves against over-enthusiastic officialdom with insufficient cognizance of the laws of the country. However, as we all know, if officialdom wants you badly enough they will always find something to nail you with, even if it has little or nothing to do with the original "offence".

            But let us ask ourselves the question: does anyone know of a nation with a more liberal approach to nudity than that expressed in the communication quoted by Stu? I think not, and that Spain has become the Mecca of naturism in the world today.

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            • #7
              atalanta the first sentence is the only part of that communique that actually follows Spanish law.
              The rest is personal opinion because no local statute or ordinance can override the national law in Spain, no matter how much some (read: Stu), would want it to.
              I have friends that live in Spain and only rarely don clothing of any sort - if ever.
              As you said many Spaniards and Tourists carry the national statute on cards to hand to those ignorant of the law - excerpts and full text.

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              • #8
                Agree with you totally Nacktman

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                • #9
                  atalanta

                  I am sure that Spain is probably among the most tolerant of nudism in Europe - some countries are bound to win that accolade and I'm sure that Spain is as deserving as any.

                  In most states, local laws can't countermand national laws - they don't have to - they simply supplement it and, in the criminal law, that means local authorities are free to create new offences unless there is a specific statute which permits the behaviour they seek to outlaw. There is no statute in Spain which says it is legal to be naked in public - and no statute that says it is not. It is, therefore, left up to individual municipalities to make up any gaps they find in the national law, and that's all they have done here.

                  I see you are in the UK, and there is an excellent British parallel to this. There is no statutory or common law offence or urinating in a public place in English law. Does that mean it is legal to urinate against a lamp standard? It would do were it not for the fact that virtually every Council in the country has created a byelaw which prohibits urinating in public. Of course, like the Spanish naturists, you could carry a little card saying there is no statutory offence of urinating in public - and show it to the police, and the Crown Prosecutor, and the magistrates, and they'll still fine you. And if you don't pay the fine, they'll cart you off to prison.

                  Anyone who has studied law knows that there is sometimes a gulf between what the law says in theory, and the way it is executed in practice. Sometimes, the higher courts pull up the lower courts for this, but at other times they make case decisions which legitimise their judgments for the sake of practicality and good order. The Spanish Ministry of Justice gave an opinion which would almost certainly concord with the view of most judges - and, in the final analysis, that's what matters and the please of the Spanish naturists will fall on deaf ears. And, if you recall, this is precisely what happened in Barcelona last October. Enjoy:

                  http://www.thinkspain.com/news-spain/13968

                  Stu

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                  • #10
                    In the U.S. there is a simple heirarchy.

                    1. U.S. constitution.
                    2. Federal law.
                    3. State constitution.
                    4. State law.
                    5. Local ordinances (laws).

                    I assume most democracies work about that way in which case local towns in Spain are very limited in what they can do. Since federal law allows nudism they can't override that. There's always the all purpose "disturbing the peace" (or Spanish equivalent) but that doesn't tend to go very far.

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                    • #11
                      Since federal law allows nudism they can't override that.
                      As I said, a local law can't override a national statute in most countries but, unless a behaviour is expressly allowed by statute, most local governments are empowered by their respective national governments to enact delegated legislation, normally to create their own prohibition against behaviours which that authority consider to be antisocial in some way. I don't know of any country in which nudity is mentioned as a statutory right: the absence of a prohibition by national government enactment does not preclude lesser authorities from making their own prohibition - as the man in Barcelona discovered to his cost!

                      There's always the all purpose "disturbing the peace" (or Spanish equivalent) but that doesn't tend to go very far.
                      It usually goes far enough to get you some form of sanction which is at least a financial penalty such as a ticket or a fine, and often an arrest and court appearance, too. That's usually sufficient to deter all but the most determined - like Steve Gough for example.

                      Stu

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                      • #12
                        Nudity is common, and legal in Paupa New Guinea.

                        had a great time there while doing some mission work. Wore clothes twice in 3 months! When I arrived, and when I left. Being nude in the markets was accepted and about half of the people in the market were nude in some sort of way. Some people wore head=dress or some sort of things around arms and legs but with the parts normally covered by swimwear exposed. It was a far cry different from the flea markets in the states.

                        I would say that during certain times of the year, clothing would be downright unhealthy. Although, a bug net over your sleeping area is a must.

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                        • #13
                          Stu, I am not qualified or willing to enter into a polemic about Spanish law. What you say makes sense and I certainly would not defend anyone anywhere who pretended to have the right to go naked through the centre of a city at any time; in supermarkets, churches, theatres or offices. I have read the relevant parts of the Spanish national statute but do not recall the details. However, I do think that the right to go naked is more positively established than you imply, and that local bylaws or interpretations to the contrary have been successfully challenged particularly, as it happens, in Barcelona. Win some, lose some I suppose.

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                          • #14
                            Exactly?? I don't understand. They don't exactly have X's painted on the ground where you can be nude or anything.

                            I went basically everywhere during the day, and when it was hot, the clothes came off. Some people hadn't seen a lot of 'white guys' partake in indigeonous nudity with the natives before, so I did create quite a stir a few times (although I did have a very, very dark tan!). After seeing me around a few times, I was completely accepted and nobody paid any attention to me at all. Once you have had some mud dry on you, and you have a real dark tan, it becomes difficult to make you apart from some of the 'locals'.

                            YES! You need to go there sometime. The people are amazing! I fell in love with almost everyone I met. They are so un-materialistic and 'real'. They value human life. They appreciate every little thing! I gave some Polaroid pictures of an elder to him and his son, and they were so appreciative, you would have think I gave them a new car!

                            Do it. And bring plenty of non-meltable candy for the kids. The adults prefer cigarettes, but I didn't do that since I don't smoke or condone it. I brought lots of inexpensive flashlights for the adults as there is a whole hunting 'clan' to almost every established area, and they really appreciated those.

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                            • #15
                              "disturbing the piece" applies to everything in normal life, not just nudity!! Anything can be restricted by local busybodies if the piece is disturbed to some extend for whatever reason - so to use this argument is just whirring it.

                              Nudity is legal in Holland (as is pretty much everything else is too), as it is in Spain, and the details of how to interpret the law have been already iterated over and over again. Irrespective if you are nude or not, it is always possible to disturb the piece but that by itself has nothing to do with being nude instead of textile. Generally there are a lot more textiles (both absolute and percentage wise) that disturb the piece!

                              In fact, in Holland a whole nudist (public, not a resort of some sort as in the US) neighbourhood was build as part of an existing town with the explicit statement that the area (including streets etc) was nudist, i.e., nudity is the last argument to use for suggesting that piece is disturbed. It is not entirely unsurprising that Holland has more registered (=organised) naturists/nudists then any other country!, despite the relative small population compared to say Germany and France.

                              Go figure, stew.

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