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Overview

In regulatory law, nudity is defined as a regulatory offence only here and there, namely in some German local governance law.

To ensure public order, the municipalities adopt (at least two) so-called local governance law, in which rules for the coexistence of the people (main local governance law) as well as rules for the municipal budget (budgetary governance law) are fixed. In order to avoid, that completely different local governance law is enacted from one place to the next, some land governments issue recommendations to the municipalities; So, for example, the Lower Saxony Land Government did:

It is noteworthy, that the Lower Saxony Land Government's writing claims, that walking in the nude is be a disturbance to the public, but does not justified it by law and does not assess, whether walking in the nude is a grossly inappropriate act and whether it disturbes public order. Nevertheless, the writing threatens measures up to the complaint of an regulative offence – although it is not examined, whether all three necessary conditions for an regulative offence are met. This is as to the Interior Ministry of the Lower Saxony Land Government remarkably patchy.

Nevertheless, many municipalities have followed the recommendation of the Land's government and have imposed a fine on "nude walking" in their local statute – regardless of whether it is an regulative offence or not. For the imposition of a fine with regards to such an an interdiction, which is formulated as part of a local governance law, the decisive factor is (for the example of Lower Saxony) not the German Federal OWiG, but the NGefAG (Niedersächsisches Gefahrenabwehrgesetz) [en: Lower Saxony's Dangers Defense Law].

In other federal lands, the circumstances may be similar.

Therefore, we generally advise you, to avoid nudity within built-up areas, unless there is a corresponding permit or invitation.

At municipal waters (lakes, ponds, river banks …), the conditions may be regulated deviating from the general local law or deviant behaviors may be tolerated, so that swimming or activity on the beach / on the meadow in the nude might be allowed or tolerated. For this, you should inform yourself on site or adapt the customs.

 

As an example, we assess a text on this matter of the Lower Saxony Land Government. This text "Wegweiser für Sicherheit und Ordnung in Städten und Gemeinden" (PDF, in German) covers:

Disturbance of the public

3.1 Facts
Disturbances of the public may be i.e. walking in the nude, peeing on the street, loud utterances of obscene content on the street, labeling of buildings (as far as not already a property damage according to section 303 of the German penal code is met), turning a signpost, aggressive begging.

3.2 Regulatory offence
According to section 118 of the German OWiG, one is comitting a regulatory offence, who performs a grossly inappropriate act which is liable to disturb or endanger the public and to affect public order.

3.3 Measures

  • Inhibition according to, i.e., the police law, called NGefAG, in the German part of Lower Saxony, i.e. by sending-off up to arrest.
  • Admonishment fee.
  • Complaint of a regulatory offence

3.4 Responsibilities
Administrative authorities / Police.

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