|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia. (February 2012)|
Freikörperkultur (FKK) is a German movement whose name translates to Free Body Culture. It endorses a naturistic approach to sports and community living. Behind that is the joy of the experience of nature or also of being nude itself, without direct relationship to sexuality. The followers of this culture are called traditional naturists, FKK'ler, or nudists. The German nudist movement was the first worldwide and marked the start of an increased acceptance of public nudity in Germany. Today, there are only few legal restrictions on public nudity in Germany.
Beginnings in the 18th century
In many parts of central Europe up until the 18th century, people bathed naked in rivers and lakes, although often separately by sex. Beginning in the late 18th century, public nudity became increasingly taboo, though this never penetrated into sparsely-populated Scandinavia. At the same time, Lord Monboddo (1714-1779) practiced and preached nude bathing as a revival of Ancient Greek attitudes toward nudity. This found literary reference in Georg Christoph Lichtenberg's (1742-1799) book Das Luftbad.
"Nude culture" and life reforms - up to World War I
In 1898 the first FKK club was founded in Essen. In 1900 more and more Swedish baths arose in rooms in Berlin and on the North and Baltic seas. A few years before there were mixed sex baths in many places, which, although requiring contemporary, modest bath clothes, were either forbidden or regarded as immoral. Also, in 1900 the naturist movement began in France.
Behind the FKK movement lay, at least in Germany, an attitude towards life in which the naked body is not shameful. The nudity of FKK should not involve sexuality. In this light, the need to be nude in the shower or sauna does not belong with Freikörperkultur, since it's practically necessary. In FKK, nudity has prior group consensus, and therefore demands no reserved zones, such as separate beaches or club areas.
A while later, after the political liberalization, conservative circles tried to challenge the increasingly popular (especially among urban intellectuals) nude baths as a corruption of morality.
Naturism between World War I and World War II
The first nude beach in Germany was established in 1920 on the island of Sylt. In 1933 after the Hitler government came to power, nudist organizations were banned or integrated into Nazi organizations. The first dissertation about the FKK movement was written in the 1930s. The first naturist Olympic Games took place in Thielle in Switzerland in August 1939.
From 1945 to present
In 1949, the Deutscher Verband für Freikörperkultur (DFK) (German Association for Free Body Culture) was founded, which today is a member of the German Olympic Sport Federation (DOSB) and the largest member of the International Naturist Federation (INF).
The nude beach in Kampen on the Sylt island in Germany was particularly popular due to extensive media coverage. FKK resorts in Yugoslavia, France and on the coast of the Baltic Sea became popular holiday places. Naturist organizations also gained many new members in the 1960s. Since the end of the 1960s nudity has been an accepted artistic means of expression in many countries.
Nudism was particularly popular in East Germany, possibly because of a more secular cultural development. Especially in the later decades of the 20th century, nudism became very popular. Beach culture was often intermixed - nude and dressed people would bath together and nudity was widely tolerated.
Anglo-Australians are conservative about nudity. However, the Freikörperkultur movement is very slowly gaining traction in Australia, due largely to the influence of German Australians, but nudity is still forbidden on Queensland beaches.
In response to an influx of German FKK enthusiasts crossing the Alps, the Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, which became a popular destination for naked hiking, created laws making nude hiking illegal in 2009.
Germans reacted with ridicule and a lack of understanding for the legal regulations of their Swiss neighbors. Local regulatory authorities punished public nudity with fines, that many nudists refused to pay. Many nudists filed a group lawsuit, pleading for legalized nudity, but the case was dismissed in 2011. One nudist had to pay a fine after passing through a Christian rehab center. In 2012, a nudist from Austria overflew Innerrhoden by parachute, but was caught by local authorities.
- Freikörperkultur at the German language Wikipedia
- Social nudity
- Lotte Herrlich (1883-1956). She is regarded as most important female photographer of naturism of Germany.
- The Skinny on Nudism in the U.S. - National Geographic
- Josie McLellan: State Socialist Bodies: East German Nudism from Ban to Boom. in: The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 79, No. 1 (March 2007), pp. 48-79 
- Naked ramblers face Swiss fines from BBC. Collected 30 Jan 2009.
- Was stört die Appenzeller an Nacktwanderern? - Süddeutsche Zeitung
- Nacktwanderer kapitulieren - 20min
- Nackter Fallschirmspringer provoziert Innerrhoden - Zeitung