RTL television on Athena Helios
Why do naturists like a clothing-free lifestyle?
RTL met some of them at Athena Helios: here are their answers.
7,000 Belgians are members of the Belgian Naturist Federation. But there are more if you count those who go to Bredene or to the sauna for a day. This lifestyle is very popular in France, with 4 million naturists, but here in Belgium, it has attracted less attention. Yet the enthusiasts we met swear by it. What drives them to take off their clothes?
As soon as our team arrived at a campsite in Kortenberg, the tone was set: there was not a single bit of dust on their bodies. These nature lovers live naked from morning to night.
"There is no such thing as embarrassment here, we are all on equal footing. Naturism gives everyone a chance. Tall people, short people, fat people, thin people, we all enjoy nature together," one enthusiast confides.
Vianney is the campground manager. Every summer he guides up to 250 naturists a day. He can be found at the bar, on the terrace or in his garden by his beehives.
Under the arbor, the aperitif has already begun. A naturist club from Hainaut is sitting around the table. They are here for a day of complete privacy. "We are really free. When we go shopping and come back to our caravan, we don't empty the shopping bag, we undress. That's the first thing we do to really feel this freedom," one woman explains.
Once you see that people are not looking, you let yourself go.
For Charles, a nude vacation means a small clothing budget. "It's really nice to not have to do laundry when you get back from vacation, and only have a pair of shorts instead of the laundry you need for a ten-day vacation," he confides.
When we come, it's barbecue time. Even by the fire, you don't have to dress up. "It's complicated to be naked because the prudish side always gets the upper hand, that's part of today's society. But once you see that people aren't looking, you let yourself go," Charles says.
This year, 7,000 Belgians are members of the Naturist Federation. But the number is constantly rising. For Roger, there is one explanation: the number of activities you can enjoy naked is much greater these days.
"Petanque, table tennis, dancing - there are activities almost all year round. We are happy here, it's a paradise," he tells us.
In the pool, to hell with modesty. In the water, they feel free, safe from prying eyes. "You feel submerged, like a fish," says one man. "The freedom of movement without clothes. Being in harmony with Mother Earth, I'll put it this way," another confides.
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