Historical story

Naturally naked

Last updated:2022-07-25

According to the Naturist Federation Netherlands, the number of naked walkers is still increasing. Cozy camping or sports together in your nakedness. It gives the common man goosebumps, but it happened long before the Second World War.

"It's delicious, you should try it yourself!" said Nel Molenkamp-Quist in 1973 to the Amsterdam judge before whom she stood trial for running naked on the beach of Callantsoog. Great hilarity. But Nel was acquitted and the first official nudist beach in the Netherlands was born. Until then, people who wanted to recreate naked outside had been condemned to small areas with fences around them, so that they could not cause offense.

Naturism originated in Germany at the end of the nineteenth century. It was about more than just being naked in public. As a result of industrialization and urbanization, especially people from the new middle class felt that they had drifted too far from nature. They therefore decided to avoid luxury, live healthily and renounce alcohol, cigarettes and meat. Without clothes they felt even closer to nature and the class differences disappeared.

In the late 1920s, this naturism reached the Netherlands. Harry Dissen (1898-1986) was one of the first practitioners. Every Sunday morning at six o'clock he cycled with a group of boys to Noordwijk to swim naked, do sports and eat vegetarian food. "There was no dog there, or we would put someone on the lookout," Dissen said in a radio interview in the 1980s.

The first Dutch naturist association was founded in 1931:the Bond van Lichtvrienden. With 'light' was meant 'naked', but walking naked was such a taboo that the founders did not dare to use that word in their name. Nude was mainly associated with sex. It was dirty and inappropriate. This changed in the 1970s. And with the taboo, the ideology largely disappeared. Naturism is now for most people walking around freely naked.

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