For many decades, and in some parts of the world for over a century, people have been enjoying naturism. They have come to understand the benefits to the mental and physical health of casting aside one’s clothes and getting closer to nature.
Historically, as naturist clubs began to form, especially in Europe, national groups began to assemble in order to support naturism more widely. Seventy years ago, these national groups came together to form the International Naturist Federation, understanding then – as is the case now – that as an international organisation we are stronger together.
Today, naturism itself is flourishing in many parts of the world.
But despite that, membership of national naturist federations is in many cases static or declining.
We know that many people enjoy naturism – whether in their own country or somewhere else – without being members of their federations. In some countries it’s estimated that millions of people enjoy naturism, even on an occasional basis, without holding any kind of membership.
Attracting people to a membership organisation will never be easy when information about naturism is so readily available via the internet. But it’s worth reflecting that the fact that so many people are able to enjoy naturism, whether in clubs, associations, on beaches, in the countryside, or even in their gardens, is to a large extent the result of the untiring and effective work of volunteers from within the Naturist federations, over many years, whether in lobbying for changes in the law or in many other ways.
Let’s spell it out. If it had not been for the naturist federations, it would be much more difficult to enjoy naturism than it is now. Sadly, some countries still have repressive laws that make nudity unlawful, so the work of the federations, including the INF-FNI, is certainly not yet done.
We owe the volunteers, active at national and international level, our undying gratitude for their achievements.
But we must be clear. That would not have been possible without the support – both moral and financial – of members, whether through clubs and associations, or direct members of federations. Without members, there would be no federation. And the more members it has, the more influential the federation can be, and the more effective as a campaigning and representative organisation.
We know that many members understand this, and join their clubs, associations or federations simply to support naturism or identify with the naturist community. The other benefits enjoyed by federation members, including the ability to participate in naturist events organised by the federations and in some cases sponsored by the INF-FNI, are a bonus. Some federations also provide access to legal advice, some provide insurance; all help promote naturism in their own countries, and, by having an international voice through the INF-FNI, worldwide.
In many countries, especially in Europe, joining a club or association gives you membership of the national federation automatically. If you’re a member, you will find it on your membership card.
But that’s not always the case: in countries such as the UK, Canada, South Africa and Australia, it’s necessary to join the national federation directly, even if you’re a member of a club.
If there is no national federation in your country you can join the INF-FNI directly – but this isn’t allowed if you have the option of joining the federation in the country where you live.
Remember, by joining your national federation you are helping to protect your own freedom to enjoy naturism.
You can find a list of federations attached to the INF-FNI here.