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Society & Folk



Despite an often robust climate, Germans are generally a lot less reluctant to take off their clothing in public than most nationalities. Community norms do however vary considerably in different parts of the country. For instance, the full nudity displayed by sunbathers in the Englischer Garten in Munich would not be tolerated in inner city parks in the Ruhr Metropolis. Topless, oben ohne, maybe.

Topless sunbathing at various outdoor swimming pool complexes has long been the norm. Topless swimming is somewhat more problematic yet also happens. Sometimes at a lakeside or on beaches, areas parts of outdoor recreational spaces are designated or tolerated for nude sunbathers.

The German euphemism for nudism is FKK, which stands for free body culture, Freikörperkultur. Sauna facilities at health spas or indoor pools are normally mixed. Locals may frown upon foreigners that wish to enter in bathing costumes. A ladies’ day, Damentag, can be offered on various days of the week, however there is seldom a day for men, Herrentag. Self-conscious foreigners can experience normal, everyday nudity in hotel saunas too.

FKK is yet another fine example of the curious aspects of Germany’s fascinating society. A nudist area in the Ruhr include the Silbersee in Haltern, Kanalwiese in Dortmund, Rheinufer in Wesel. Some indoor pools offer FKK at certain times too.

By Philipp Schiwek, edited Vincent Green Jul 31 2021

Deutscher Verband für Freikörperkultur DFK e.V.

Walsroder Strasse 62
30851  Langenhagen

+49 511 260 352 01

Beach scene with sunbathers


It may come as a surprise of newly arrived expats that beaches can be found in the Ruhr Metropolis. Fine sand and shingle are ideal for walking, playing, relaxing and picnicking. People flock to enjoy spaces beside the rivers and lakes, especially on warm and sunny summer days. Photo © Ralph Lueger.

Cyclist on narrow modern bridge


Cycling in the Ruhr Metropolis can be enjoyable and most rewarding. Bike paths criss cross the whole of the region and weave their way across most urban areas. Hop on a bicycle to discover quieter city districts or nearby villages. Try riding along the banks of local rivers, in wilder natural spaces or the open meadows of outlying regions.

Public Transport

The public transport system in Ruhr is extensive, safe and normally efficient. A dense network of trams, Strassenbahn, above and below ground as well as buses serve the cities and suburbs. Links via the local and S-Bahn train systems interconnect many neighbouring communities.

Subway station