Germany: Berlin to allow women to go topless in public swimming pools
Women will soon be allowed to swim topless in Berlin's public pools, after a ruling by the city's authorities.
It comes after a woman who was thrown out of an open-air pool for sunbathing topless took legal action.
A second woman said she was told to cover up while at an indoor pool in December.
Authorities agreed they had been victims of discrimination and said that all visitors to Berlin's pools were now entitled to go topless.
The decision will be welcomed by those here who champion what's known as Freikörperkultur - free body culture.
Foreign visitors to Germany are often surprised - and sometimes downright disconcerted - by the sight of naked Germans frolicking in its lakes, snoring in its parks, or sweating in its saunas.
But this is a country which considers public nudity in some settings to be both appropriate and healthy.
The issue of whether, and to what degree, that is permissible at municipal swimming pools has plagued many a local authority.
Last summer, Göttingen in Lower Saxony and Siegen in North Rhine Westphalia allowed women to swim topless.
Berlin's swimming pool operator, the Berliner Bäderbetriebe (BBB), has not actually changed its rules, which insist that a bathing costume covers the genitals.
The BBB merely clarified that this applies to every visitor, irrespective of their gender.
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