Göttingen is the first German city to allow women to use public pools while topless. Located in Lower Saxony, in the centre of the country, the city took the decision after a gender identity incident that occurred last year.
Female swimmers are now allowed to use public pools without covering their chests for a summer test period, which started 1 May and will last until 31 August.
A spokesperson for the local authorities revealed that the sports committee of the city of Göttingen was the one that recommended swimmers at indoor and outdoor pools should be allowed to swim topless at weekends should wish to do so.
The testing phase is, for the moment, implemented only during weekends, as to avoid interference with school swimming lessons which take place during the week.
The recommendation came after an incident where a person was asked to cover their chest at a local pool and they refused, as they identified as male. The spokesperson confirmed that the pool guest protested for a while, but, in the end, the pool authority escorted them out and even banned them from the premises.
The controversy is even more surprising in the context of Germany’s nudity rules in other establishments. Most of the saunas in the country are not separated on the basis of sex and it is mandatory for guests to be naked while using the facilities, for hygienic reasons.
Moreover, Germany is well known for the popular nudist movement Freikörperkultur (FKK) which literally translates to “free body culture“.
Despite all this, until now, it has been mandatory for women, as well as men, at public swimming pools to wear bathing suits covering all their “private parts”.