Who has seen someone bathe naked?

If you ask Herbert why he's sitting naked at his camping table by a lake, he gets up and turns his butt towards you. There's a scar there, maybe the size of a tennis ball. It was an abscess, a boil like the one he had all over his body. Four times, a doctor almost completely removed the skin on his face, it was that bad. "The sun helps," says Herbert, he has a cigarette between his fingers, there is a cup of coffee in front of him, behind him a power line juts out into the blue sky. For 30 years he has come here almost every day when the sun is shining to the Feringasee in the north of Munich, between fields and the motorway, 70 kilometers from his home town of Mainburg in Lower Bavaria.

Anna-Maria is also at the lake in Unterföhring almost every day in summer - even naked, since the early seventies. "There weren't even any trees there, the autobahn wasn't even finished," she says. She is 75 years old, gray hair, tanned brown, a woman who says of herself that she stands by her age. Herbert and Anna-Maria don't know each other, they probably haven't even met, in this text only their first names should be important - because with nudism you are quickly with you. Between Herbert and Anna-Maria there are a good 200 meters as the crow flies and plenty of water.

Herbert sits with his camping chair on one side of the bank, on the peninsula behind a wooden sluice with a kiosk at the entrance that tells you where you have ended up: "Imbiss am FKK" is written in white letters on the hut. And Anna-Maria has spread her towel on the other side, where those who prefer to wear bikini and bathing trunks also bathe. Which Anna-Maria should actually do. And this is where the trouble begins that has been preoccupying Lake Feringa for a good four summers. Since then, security guards have been checking whether the nude bathers are where they should be, namely on the bank where Herbert is sitting naked on his camping chair. In 2014 Unterföhring issued an ordinance that bans nude bathing on its lakes, Poschinger Weiher and Feringasee, outside the official nudist area.

In Unterföhring the police have already moved in a few times

It has never been a problem that she bathes where she bathes, says Anna-Maria. And Elisabeth and Joachim and Peter say that too. They all - very tanned people between their late 50s and their late 60s - are lying naked on the wrong side of the bank on a Thursday evening in July. The four of them know each other by sight, because they come here regularly. "Munich even advertises in travel guides that you can swim naked on the Flaucher," says Anna-Maria. "In the English Garden in the middle of the city, people are also naked," says Elisabeth, 69, blonde hair, pink lipstick. But here in Unterföhring the police have even moved in a few times. Anna-Maria distributed whistles last year to warn of the security guards. So does the bourgeoisie begin behind the city limits?

You can't just leave it like this. There was also a "naked argument" in Munich this summer, as the tabloids headlined. At that time, women bathed without their bodies on the Isar, securitys warned them. And because the outcry about it was so great, the city council passed a resolution that officially allows bathing without a shirt for all people, regardless of the gender of the breasts. Otherwise there is a general nude bathing ban in Munich - except in seven specially designated areas, for example in certain zones on the Isar or in the English Garden.

The municipalities themselves have to issue an ordinance

There is no such general ban on the lakes beyond the city limits. The individual municipalities themselves would have to issue a "swimwear ordinance", as the regulation is officially called. But Unterföhring is - as far as the district office knows - the only place in the entire district of Munich that has done that. That means: Anywhere else where there is no such regulation, Anna-Maria, Joachim, Peter and Elisabeth should theoretically lie naked on the lakeshore - this would even be possible on Feringasee, only they would have to change banks. Both men and women are allowed to tan naked everywhere in the district. The security service, writes Franzsika Herr, a spokeswoman for the district office, has been informed accordingly "so that women do not have to expect to be asked to refrain from" topless "bathing". So what's the problem, one might ask.

"It was always peaceful. I've been lying here naked for 40 years. And it never bothered anyone," says Anna-Maria. "I don't understand why such a circus is now being made." There was no quarrel between naked and clothed people at the lake. Hardly anyone would complain, says Susanne Ehrt, who is responsible for public relations in Unterföhring's town hall. The district office, which hires the security service and has paid him 326,000 euros in the past four years, receives complaints from time to time, writes spokeswoman Franziska Herr. How many are not recorded. The security guards are also on duty at Heimstettener See and Unterschleißheimer See and would rely on "cooperation and understanding". If that doesn't work, they are allowed to refer back or call the police - strictly speaking, being naked is an administrative offense where it is not allowed.

"There are tensioners everywhere."

It was relaxed at the lake, says Joachim, 62. His skin is the color of chestnuts, and a chain with a small shark hangs around his neck. Joachim lives in Ismaning, but originally comes from the Rhineland, which you can also hear. "Two security guards come by every two hours. If I can see them from a distance, I quickly put on my swimming trunks," he says. And then? "I'll take them off again." Wouldn't life be easier and summer more comfortable if you were lying naked in the sun on the other side of the river, where no one scolded? "Well, but what kind of things you hear there." Joachim shakes his head. Then he and the two women tell of the rumors, of men who were sitting in the bushes in the nudist area, who took photos, who stared. They all agree that they don't want to go there.

"There are tensioners everywhere," says Herbert on the other side of the bank at his camping table. As a truck driver, he drove around Munich for years. He saw all sorts of lakes there: Feldmochinger See, Heimstettener See, Steinsee, Starnberger See - until he was in the nudist area at Unterföhringer See for the first time in 1993. "From then on I knew: this is my island." It is now almost 7 p.m. and the sun has almost sunk behind the trees and the power pole. Herbert sits in the shade. "Take a look over there." He points to the other side, where Anna-Maria, Elisabeth, Peter and Joachim are. "They have an hour longer in the sun." Herbert wants to go home slowly. But first he would like to get rid of something. "Could you please write in the newspaper that we are urgently looking for chess players over here?"