Swedish women fight to bathe nude in the sun

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Swedish women fight to bathe nude in the sun
Nude women bathers in sauna-sunlight squabble

Women who sunbathe nude in southern Sweden have filed a complaint with local officials against a planned new sauna that threatens to block their precious evening sunlight.


The Skarpe Nord bathing area in Varberg, 50 kilometres south of Gothenburg, is soon to fall victim to afternoon shade. Nudist sunbathers are not impressed.

In fact, a group of outraged women have filed an official complaint with the county executive board (Länsstyrelsen) against new additions to the sauna, which include an accompanying break room and a protective screen.

Karin Gustafsson, who is leading the protests, explains that over 100 people have signed up so far.

“They think we’re just a handful of old ladies, but this is not the case,” she told the local Hallands Nyheter newspaper (HN).

“We even have a whole bunch on the list who were born in the 80s.”

One woman who hasn't got her knickers in a twist about the sauna extension is Monica Christensen.

She is one of a 99-strong group supporting the building plans, but concedes that nude sunbathing an important part of life on Sweden’s west coast.

“There is a tradition of sunbathing nude in Sweden, and in Varberg especially. This is the west coast, everyone’s sunbathing,” she told The Local.

“The ladies sit there in the summer evenings and look out at the sea. They want a place to be when the sun is going down."

"But we want a meeting place that can be used year-round,” Christensen said about the break room.

And it is the break room and the adjoining screen, rather than the sauna itself, that is causing the kerfuffle. Opponents say the new build will block the sun’s rays from the designated nude hangout area.

However, Arne Sjögren, department head of the construction team, has already been given clearance to start building.

“We’re only building on the inside so far. I’ve not heard a peep from town planning department about what we are going to do now,” he told HN.

“But I don’t think the woman have such a big chance with their complaint.”

Meanwhile, Christensen admits that the pro-sauna group isn't looking for battle, just a break room.

“The next step is to have another round with the municipality. But this is not an ‘us against them’ thing, it’s more of a misunderstanding,” she told The Local.

TT/The Local/og

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