Between ideas of freedom and fights against prejudice
An idyllic spot in a forest near Luxembourg City. The
exact location is known only to members, or possibly
to dog owners whose four-legged friends like to retreat
into the twilight of the trees. The path leads from the
road through the bushes to a greenish gate that can
only be opened with the help of a code. Behind it is a
small “oasis of peace”, as Armand Ceolin describes it.
For many years the 65-year-old has preferred to spend
his leisure time in the four-hectare clearing, because
only here he really can be himself. Naturism is the name
of the movement that inspires a few hundred families in
Luxembourg.
The philosophy behind this rather esoteric-sounding
name revolves around living in harmony with nature,
oneself, and the people around. Small detail: being
naked.
However, anyone who immediately thinks of free love or
naked meetings à la “Commune I” will quickly be taught
otherwise by Armand Ceolin: Naturism does not mean
nudism. A nudist likes to live without any clothing. We
do that, too, but always with the focus on our philosophy of being close to nature.” As secretary of “Sports
et Loisirs Naturistes Luxembourg a.s.b.l. (SLNL) the
retiree draws a clear line between his lifestyle and other
forms of being naked. “I like the term FKK, i.e. free body
culture, quite a lot, but this term often is being used
the wrong way by the erotic industry for swinger clubs.
We want to distance ourselves from that very clearly,”
explains Ceolin.
SEX IS FORBIDDEN
Public living up of the sexuality is in no way connected
to a naturist way of life – on the contrary: “On the
grounds of naturist associations it is strictly forbidden
by regulations. Sexual acts are an absolute taboo and
lead to immediate exclusion from the community.” In
addition, one never would see a naturist walking nude
through the “Groussgaass”, true naturists are not
exhibitionists at all. Prejudices that SLNL would like
to combat. It rather is a leisure movement, which has
started at the end of the 19th century and now encourages people all over the world to drop their clothes. Of
course, within a regulated framework, because anyone
who wants to officially call him/herself a naturist needs
a licence from the International Naturist Federation
(INF-FNI).
In Luxembourg, two associations are dedicated to the
topic: besides of SLNL there is also the “Naturisme De
Poufank a.s.b.l.”, which has its grounds near Schoenfels. 154 Families, couples and individual persons are
affiliated to the SLNL. The association regularly organises meetings and activities on its premises or meets to
relay in the afore mentioned spot in the forest.
“I think that what we all have in common is that
feeling of well-being when you take off your clothes
and disregard some taboos.”, says Ceolin, looking out
through the window of the clubhouse onto the lawn.
FAMILY-MINDED AND CLOSE TO NATURE
Volleyball court, pétanque facility, swimming pool,
barbecue area, slide for the little ones – everyone
should be able to relax here. To enable peaceful
coexistence among the naturists, there is a code of
conduct. “Swimsuits, swimming trunks are not allowed
here, there are plenty of other public places for that.
Otherwise, the normal use of “common sense” simply
applies,” says Ceolin. Especially the fact that among
naturist everyone is being accepted, pleases the SLNL
secretary very much. It is not about ideals of beauty or
the sight of nude body, but about the connection with
nature, which is supposed to be intensified by being
naked. Clothing is being felt by naturists as a kind of
disturbing factor that interrupts this connection. An
idea that also finds resonance on an international level.
Events are regularly organised through the International
Naturist Federation, which members from Luxembourg
also like to participate at. Be it the swim-gala in Paris,
family meeting in Spain, beach holidays in Germany or

a World Congress in New Zealand – who really lives out
the free body feeling will find a community everywhere.
Ceolin would like to see a breath of fresh air for the future of SLNL: “We now have a new committee member,
being less than 30 years old. We have high hopes for
this person.”
To be able to continue leading the association, we hope
that the younger generation will show more interest. “As
club we are satisfied, as we reached all what we never
dared to dream of. But we also start getting tired”, says
the 65-year-old. Because despite of the balanced inner
life – thanks to the direct sunlight and the fresh breeze
on the bare skin – even Luxembourgish naturists get older at some point and look forward to the next generation taking over the helm on the hidden forest meadow.
THREE QUESTIONS TO THE SLNL
SECRETARY ARMAND CEOLIN
How did naturism start?
The idea originally came from doctors who were looking for a closer connection to nature again during their
treatments. That way, for example, light baths and heliotherapy were created. In our country there was e priest,
Abbé Neuens, who opened a naturist centre in Weilerbach. But this was rather medically oriented. Naturism
flourished in Europe, especially in Germany. In 1894 the
first association was founded in Essen, which still exists
today.
Where can you practice naturism in Luxembourg?
Of course, on our site and on the site of the other club.
Then we have a naturist area at the reservoir, and nude
bathers are also tolerated in Remerschen. There are
also two campsites for naturists: first, the “Fuussekaul”
in Heiderscheid with about 100 pitches and, second,
“Bleesbréck”, which also has a separated zone with 25
pitches for the naturists.
And what about the youth?
For that we have a nice recent experience. In May we
had been invited by the “Villa Vauban” to participate at
a nude guided tour for the exhibition “Plakeg? Nudity
around the year 1900”. In total we were 38 persons.
What had astonished me was the fact that all our
young members had registered themselves. We rarely
see most of them on our grounds, but there seems to
be quite a lot of interest in such activities also among
young people.

Text: Laura Tomassini