The Dutch love their laws. We have many of them. And occasionally laws contradict each other. So then we just choose what fits us best. After every accident that makes the news, there is always a group that demands a new law to prevent similar accidents in the future.
With so many laws, authorities can’t check them all. This leaves room for flexibility. A well known example is the red traffic light for cyclists and pedestrians. Many people consider the red light to be just a recommendation. Then authorities decided that cyclists ignoring the red lights are too dangerous. So the police started to enforce the law and now it is more common to stop at the red light. (Or at least you are more careful to see if a police officer is watching you…)
What does this have to do with naturism? Nothing! But it brings me to an other side of Dutch law making. Sometimes laws are passed that leave room for interpretation. Basically the politicians leave it to the judges to decide what the law will be in daily life. And that is what happend with the law about public nudity.
Artikel 430a WvS
Article 430a of the Penal Code states:
"A person who is outside a place designated by the city council as suitable for undressed public recreation, undressed, or at a place intended for public traffic that is not suitable for undressed recreation, will be punished with a first-class fine."
That’s easy, isn’t it? You can read all details about this in Dutch on www.artikel430a.nl. This site is good reading if you are going to be naked in a public area that is not signed as “nudity allowed”.
On public terrain (a place intended for public traffic) you may recreate naked if the terrain, place or area is suitable for nude recreation.
The interesting part of this, is that you can decide for yourself if a place is suitable. If a police officer fines you, you only have to say the place is suitable for nude recreation. If you still get a fine, just take it to court. There the local government has to prove that at that time the place was NOT suitable for naked recreation. It is not you who has to prove it is suitable. Interesting, isn’t it?
And to make it even more interesting, when the municipality puts a sign at an area that says “naked recreation not allowed”, you can just ignore that, if you find the area to be suitable for naked recreation.
So most important is just to use your common sense. In a remote area, you can just take of your clothes. But if textile people see you, they might say something of disapproval. For most Dutch people naked recreation is something to do only at the naturist beach or sauna.
In private areas, the owner or manager determines what is allowed, so article 430a is not about that. In your own garden and house, you decide whether to recreate naked, no one has anything to do with it, even if others can see you. If you are not visible it is not a nude recreation anyway.
Only if your house or plot is adjacent to a busy public road or square and you could disturb order by being naked, the judge can impose restrictions on you after complaints. Anyone with common sense can reason whether or not you want to recreate there.