We define, what is generally understood by the term “naturism“.

We deal with one aspect of naturism, Nudity and its various manifestations. Throughout history and depending on the social context, the word nudity has had very different meanings. In medieval reports, for example, the word is also used, when a person was dressed (only) in a shirt, which was generally worn (by both men and women) at about knee-length, i.e. quite covering.

In History of nudity, we trace, when and why people at some point came up with the idea of covering themselves: shame (e.g. regarding their excretions) and pride (in worn jewellery and glamour as status symbols) were the main reasons.

A Chronology lists all events, which were historically significant for the development of mankind with regard to naturism.

Finally, we document the emergence of the naturist movement and particular forms of naturist attitudes in Highlights in the nude.

Naturism is an attitude of mind, in which humans recognise themselves as part of nature and orient their thoughts and actions towards integrating themselves as much as possible into the natural world. This includes, that the naturist tries to preserve nature as a habitat and to disturb and destroy it as little as possible, to counteract existing disturbance and destruction of nature and to try to restore that, and to only harvests (i.e. take from nature) as much as is necessary for life and as can grow again in nature.

Naturism implies a way of life, which consciously distances itself from the constraints of civilisation and societal values and norms and refers to original, nature-based value formation.


Origins of naturism lie in the closeness to nature in the earliest history of mankind. Early humans were very closely involved in the nature surrounding them and largely dependent on it. The awareness of this dependence was great everywhere, because there was no explanation for many natural processes. In all early cultures, therefore, a cult developed to worship the forces of nature: be it the luck of the hunt, the fertility of the fields, a good harvest, the development of one's own family and tribe - the forces of nature were invoked for the achievement of all goals, which were necessary for people to survive.

This nature-oriented attitude has been preserved over thousands of years. Even if the traditional fertility festivals were given an additional Christian content by the church, the Easter festival remained faithful to the hare as a fertility symbol, the Christmas festival as a festival of lights triumphing over darkness, the joy of the solstice, that the days are getting longer again. Christian contents are only superficial, put-on stories to the much older, fundamental concerns and deep motivations of human beings.

With the increasing Thalesspread of science, which began in Mesopotamia, reached its first peak in Egypt and then in Greece, was further cultivated by the Romans and Arabs in the Middle Ages, and then experienced an almost turbulent development with the modern era, people's concern with nature became less and less. It seemed, that (almost) everything could be explained, science today answers almost every question, the world formula, which explains everything, is considered to be within reach.

Natural philosophers have at all times condemned this overestimation of science and warned against too much faith in science and technology. In fact, humanity has reached a scale, which will exhaust the resources of our planet in the foreseeable future. In fact, we have long since reached the situation, where a quarter of the world's population can no longer be fed adequately. In fact, in the foreseeable future, through the release of the carbon bound in the mineral resources oil and coal, we will once again reach the CO2-containing atmosphere and the climatic conditions, which millions of years ago gave rise to the oil and coal deposits through primeval forests overgrowing everything.

The emerging naturism in the period of change from the 19th to the 20th century, apart from being a counter-movement to puritan prudery of the 19th century, was also a return to the forces of nature. All theoretical works of the early naturism movement reflect this idea.

Autochthonous naturism

Yawalapiti children in AmazoniaThe nature-based way of life Water in disposable plastic bottlesautochthonous peoples, e.g. the Yawalipiti in the Amazon region, were long regarded by naturists as a model for their own attitude. In the meantime, however, this role model function has been lost, because civilisation has contacted most of these peoples since long time: the Yawalipiti children in the picture on the right carry water in disposable plastic bottles to their village, along with other industrially processed and packaged food. Do the bottles end up in the Amazon and consequently in the sea? Are the villages connected to an “Amazon Recycling System“ (ARS)?