We have to distinguish per country according to

  • criminal law,
  • regulatory law, and
  • property law.

A look at criminal law shows that – except the USA – nudity is not a crime in any of the countries considered: In criminal law, all crimes, which can be related to nudity, concern exclusively sexual deeds in public. Some countries like France, a term requiring interpretation is used in criminal law, namely "sexual exhibition". However, recent legal practice shows that in France, too, judges have come to the conclusion, that naturist nudity does not constitute an exhibition at all and is therefore not punishable.

Terms such as "causing public nuisance" or "exhibitionism", which are often quoted in Germany by uninformed fellow citizens, refer exclusively to sexual acts and have nothing to do with naturist nudity. Unfortunately, such uninformed fellow citizens often obstruct the work of the police and public order authorities with unjustified phone calls.

Even in regulatory law, nudity is only occasionally declared an administrative offence (e.g. in a few German local statutes or in Swiss cantonal law (Appenzell)) – we take these individual cases seriously and avoid any violation of such regulations.

Property law, in turn, regulates practically uniformly in all considered countries, that an owner is free to decide on the use of his property: nude or clothed or a combination of both – that is upon the owner's decision.

Law and regulation are country-specific

Traditions, historical Nudity and lawevents such as foreign rule or liberation struggles, intellectual and religious developments and much more form locally different bases for the development of law in individual countries. This is why the legal situations in different countries, even if they are neighbouring, often differ considerably. The legal classification of nudity must therefore be considered on a country-specific basis.

General note

All considerations on the topic of "nudity and law" collected here have been carefully researched by making use of numerous sources (law, juridical comments concerning law, opinions, reasons for judgements etc.). However, the authors are not lawyers. Therefore, the subsequent overview cannot be considered as legally binding statements (if existing at all) and do not replace any legal advice.

Info about nude bathing in the world

For a first overview of the legal situation or naturist practice in many countries of the world, the website "Travel topics > Concerns > Naturism" ( might be useful.