In regulatory law, nudity is defined as a regulatory offence only here and there, namely in some German local governance law.
Sometimes, section 118 ot the Act on Regulatory Offences is cited with regards to activities in the nude. The regarding article does assess this matter in detail. Bottom line: Section 118 of the Act on Regulatory Offences is not applicable to nude hiking (or a similar naturist activity) in nature.
But, 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 behaviours may be tolerated, so that nude swimming or activities on the beach / on the bank might be allowed or tolerated. For this, you should inform yourself on site or adapt the customs.
German Ordnungsrecht [en: regulative law] comprehends the entirety of all law, which serves to protect public security and order against dangers and disturbances.
The general regulative law comprehends the police law, thus the matter of Gefahrenabwehr [en: danger defence], namely dangers to public security and order:
- Public security means both the protection of the state and its institutions as well as the protection of the individual (i.e. the individual right of the citizen), thus protecting the entire written legal order.
- Public order, on the other hand, means all those practices which are not covered by legal norms, but which are nevertheless indispensable for a balanced human coexistence.
- A danger is an unusual condition which has occurred by any cause, in which, according to specific circumstances, the occurrence of a damage is probable.
The so-called special regulative law comprehends a variety of law, which either serve for special danger defence or contain order regulations for specific areas. The special regulative law includes:
- Waste Legislation
- Aliens Law
- Building Regulations Law
- Fire Prevention Law and Law for Disaster Control
- Fishing Law and Forest Law
- Statute Governing Restaurants and Industrial Law
- Trade Law
- Federal Control of Pollution Act
- Press Law
- Right of Assembly [as lex specialis to the general Police Law]
Source (in German): juraforum.de
The Regulative Law is largely a matter for the federal states. In addition, however, administrative district, cities and municipalities also maintain their right to order in so-called local government law. In order to avoid a variety of completely different local government law, some state governments (e.g. in Lower Saxony) give recommendations to municipalities, which contain prototype local government law – which, however, are not binding for municipalities.
Although, the federal states and the municipalities define the regulative law, there is a nationwide law, which applies certain violations against the regulative law as an regulative offence and sconces them with civil penalties (not to be confused with penalisation): The German Ordnungswidrigkeitengesetz (OWiG) [en: Act on Regulatory Offences].
For our question about regulations, which concern nude activities in the public (hiking, sports etc. in the nude) are to be considered:
- The Local governance law and
- The German Act on Regulatory Offences
All other regulatory constructs do not deal with this issue.