About the changing world all around us

Nudity in Scandinavia

I have realized after moving from New York to Scadinavia that there is a very different attitude towards nutdity in the Scandinavian countries. When I lived in NY I had never gone skinny dipping in my life, but here it is no big deal. I think that is the difference. In the US it was treated as very risqué and naughty. Here they have a different attitude. Where it isn’t taboo it is less sex focused and more about the natural elements.

I would not consider myself a nudist, I am not an activist about it. I have been to the nude beach and enjoy the sun and the sea but I do not do this regularly. Its more that in the Norwegian nature there is a lot of private coves, and they use less open beaches. They have less life guards and regulations…you just hop into the sea wherever it suits you. Preferrably in a place where you can have a bit of privacy for yourself. It is normal to hop into the water naked with your family, with your friends. Not flaunting it, not sexual, just for the fun of having a little dip. Here it is also normal that one is in the hot tub, sauna or steam bath together with others.

I remember about 3 years after I came to Norway I began a new job as a preschool teaching assistant. The week I started we had one of these team building weekends which involved staying at a mountain hotel. It is more or less standard equipment in a hotel to have a sauna, and I went along with all my other new coworkers to the sauna where everyone looked forward to having a good steam, and then a cool shower. They all sit in the sauna and have lots of girl talk and fun. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I was seeing all my NEW coworkers in the buff, and that I would be considered odd if I didn’t participate in the same way!! It was really a bit of a shock for a New Yorker, but I survived the episode just fine hehehe….

Finnish footrace, in the Natural elements 🙂

But just so you know that Norwegians aren’t the only ones running around naked all the time, here is a recent news clip from Finland. It is pretty much G rated and brings up one more point that I would like to make about social nudity. One thing I have realized that I like is that it brings a realistic perspective to my image of the human body. When we are bombarded with supermodels and tv ads all the time it is quite easy to feel like your body is ugly or something to be ashamed of. I think seeing others in the buff, real people, not playboy pinups gives us a sense of that we are only human…and in the “end” we look pretty much the same as everyone else.

Visit my husband’s blog, RennyBA’s Terella, for some more natural experiences in Scandinavia, and you might even get a glimpse of his little white end hopping into the sea!!!


Comments on: "Nudity in Scandinavia" (15)

  1. Its always interesting to read your observation about how to live in Norway my dear and it always enriches my life as I learn more about others attitude, habits and views.

    I so much remember when you came over and your sons where 6 and 9: when changing clothes if we where going out to visit friends e.g. they went to their room and closed the door. I wanted to help them, but they where shocked when I entered the room.

    I’m glad you’ve adjusted so well, can enjoy a bit of skinny dipping and realise that a naked body is the most natural thing.

  2. In Belgium there is only a very small part of the population who bath naked. There is a special beach for them at the sea. I don’t like it, as you say most of the bodies are rather ugly and I prefer when they are covered at least with a bathing suit, lol !

  3. Hey Diane, how are you? It has been a while and I am so happy to see you visiting my blog 😀

    Now I would get a cultural shock too just like you when we have to just take off our clothes like that, I am a very shy person when it comes to this heheheheh…

    Still, very interesting read and yes I do know there are some nudist beaches in some countries so I am really not sure if I could ever do it 🙂

  4. i really enjoy these sorts of posts where you talk about some of the adjustments you’ve had to make. if nothing else it sounds a lot healthier in terms of seeing normal bodies presented in normal situations rather than only seeing the airbrushed and highly sexualized images the media feeds us.

    renny’s post was good too….i think i’d be more concerned about hopping in water so cold than hopping into it naked!

  5. I guess I might add that nudity isn’t aloud in Canada or the US either… Well in a lot of public places. You’ll actually get arrested for indecent exposure. There are some rare exceptions which often become part of the news here in Vancouver. We do have Wreck Beach which I know Tor knows of and we do have a biking protest in the buff. But besides that, I don’t know of much…. We have the underwear affair run too…

    That’s great to know you went through the buff with your coworkers just fine! I was worried you’d walk out being the only one in a swim suit!

  6. Yes, I found the same in Germany. My friends encouraged me to sauna and sunbath and swim nude and I’m afraid the English prude in me held her breath. LOL! Eventually I got over it, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I can hear my grandmother gasping! LOL!!

  7. I have never gone skinny dipping here in Norway, but I have to agree that it’s so liberal here when it comes to nudity in public, and non-censorship of tv shows with nudity in them. It’s quite refreshing actually.

  8. as we are in the UK… full of British reserve …this programme was brilliant .

    It shows us all that we are all shapes and sizes and not expected to look like the air brushed images we see daily 🙂

  9. RennyBA: Well I have adjusted well alltogether. I think there were even tougher adjustments then nudity…but that is one of the funniest i have to admit.

    Gatina: I’m surprised actually because I experienced Belgium as a pretty open people when I visited Brussells. Okay they can keep their suits on if you preffer LOL

    shionge: Sorry I have been quiet. Since my exam I have gone over to full time work and have been a little out of the loop but I am doing just fine! It is not so scary to go au natural when all the others are doing it. I think you could handle it hehehe.
    lime: Hopping in the cold water is quite a shock. I have done it too but I must say i am not a big fan. But as long as the boys have fun…and aren’t worried about shrinkage LOL!!!

    expattraveler: Well we don’t walk down the streets of Oslo that way, in the middle of the forest, or in a little alcove on the coast i am sure that nudity is not usually persecuted. I grew up in NY myself. Here too we have special beaches for nude bathing, but mostly I have participated in secluded areas. I don’t think I would join the Naked Finnish race hehehe. But it was a cute story.

    Maribeth: Well your grandmother wasn’t in your shoes heheh I think mine would have approved, she was a fun old bird.

    Freshmess: You could wear Lois Vittoni socks….then you wouldn’t be completely naked!! 😉

    70steen: hehehe great clip. We don’t need the airbrushes. I think we were better off before TV! Then we only saw normal people.

  10. I’ve had some fun skinny dipping moments in America. 😉

  11. Oh, so much to say on the subject…!

    As a French, I’m pretty comfortable with my body. French do see Nordic countries as *very* free but not in a bad kind of way, but come to think of it, we are close… Seeing my mum in the shower, my brother and sister naked when they were younger etc. are normal things in my family. Being topless at the beach as well, in a totally seducing-free kind of way. I value my privacy but I don’t have much to hide.

    I was very surprised the way North American dealt with their bodies. It does seem that the continent is very free in some way (plastic surgery, sexy shows on TV, sex almost everywhere) but people are actually surprisingly… prude. I was very surprised.

    I sometimes think North American have a love/ hate relationship with their body )low self-esteem, lots of cosmetic issues) despite of that “be yourself” advocacy. For that, I like the Latin way best.

    I was also surprised of the “nudity” rules, especially when it comes to young kids. I.e a lot of my friends told me father aren’t allowed to go help their young daughter (like 3-6) to get dress in the changeroom.

    Interesting post anyway!

  12. SwordMama; Glad to know somebody is skinny dipping over there!!! hehehe

    Zhu: I agree with your obsevation of a love-hate relationship with their bodies. I wonder if the extreme media and especially commercials have something to do with that. I feel l was exposed to far more unattainable images of what is feminine when I was in NY then I experience in Norway.

  13. My oncle practiced the nude beach with her wife on a special beach near Saint Tropez and I had a lot of fun when I could swim without clothes! A feeling of freedom! Another vision of our body. I came later on this place with my husband but he had a such catholic education! he tried but he is too prude to have good time like that. There is a beautiful isle called île du levant wich is a naturists paradise. Finally I’d like one day to have others naturist experiments at this place:http://www.provenceweb.fr/e/var/levant/levant.htm
    It is very interesting to learn how people all around the world have their own vision of their body depends of the cultur and the way to be in accord with their religion. If I consider the protestants in north European countries and the protestants in United States. For catholic and more musulman the body must be hide. But perhaps with the connecting via internet we will learn to open our mind and stop to be so strict when others are different. One famous man said here:” we must allow time to time!”

  14. Well, since I’ve grew up with a Finnish mother and visited Finland every summer with their saunas, I don’t know what to say. Well, I can add, that even in the “free” Sweden, I think we’re much more prude than the people in Finland. They really take it natural. Not an eye shows any interest or staring at other bodies. It’s really fully natural over there. Here in sweden you can get “sneaky eyes”.

  15. I like it, because it’s naturalist, real natural


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