Germans are no longer the world champions of nude sunbathing

It’s a cover-up
It’s a cover-up
Image: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch
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Germans, globally notorious for their love of sunbathing in the nude, are being outshone by their Austrian neighbors.

A June 10 survey (link in German) by travel website Expedia reveals that one in three Austrians have sunbathed naked in public at least once in their lives, compared to one in four German respondents. The survey polled 11,000 people in 24 countries on their beachwear habits.

In several polls from years prior, Germans consistently reported sunbathing in the nude more than any other nationality. This year’s change likely does not reflect a significant cultural shift. FreikörperKultur (free body culture, or nudism) has deep roots in Germany, especially in the former East, where it was considered a form of relaxation and escape from the strict rules of the communist German Democratic Republic.

Three-quarters of Germans polled this year said it’s still “absolutely acceptable” to be naked or partially naked on the beach, although one in four women and one in five men admitted preferring to cover up with a wrap or t-shirt.

More than half of German respondents said they viewed teensy Speedos for men as acceptable beach wear. Only 3% said they actually wear them.

Spanish beachgoers held third place for public nudity in the poll, with 16% saying they enjoy a spot of naked sunbathing.