My First Experience in the Nude Swimming Area of the Dutch Celestial Bath

  • Sean Longfellow
  • 27 Oct

As early as the early 1980s, I learned in a book that when Europeans swim on the beach in summer, some people have the habit of swimming naked, which is called a sky bath. The places dedicated to people's celestial baths are called celestial baths.

At the time, I found it very strange. I thought, how is this possible! What if I saw it with my own eyes one day? But just think about it, I don't expect such an opportunity.

This time I really set foot on the land of Europe, and I had to stay for a while, so that idea came out again somehow. When chatting with a friend who came early, I couldn't help asking, I heard that there is a celestial bath on the beach, but really? My friend laughed, and then replied that it was true. He explained that there are special celestial beach areas on the seashores of many European countries. I quickly asked how is the Netherlands? Is there a beach near here? Upon seeing this, my friend jokingly said that the Netherlands is a famously open country. Is this something rare? There is the North Sea nearby. It takes about an hour to get there by bike. How about it? Would you like to try it? I immediately stated that I was just curious. It was winter when we were talking about it, of course, it is impossible to open our eyes. But he silently noticed in his heart, thinking that he would definitely explore this danger in the summer.

It was midsummer in a blink of an eye, and I saw a lot of novelties when I traveled everywhere, but I never had the opportunity to go to the celestial bath. But other friends opened my eyes first, and came back to describe it vividly, which aroused my desire. It happened that there was nothing special that weekend, so I cheered up my bike, brought my camera and map, and dashed away arrogantly.

The Netherlands in summer is a world of flowers and greenery, and the whole country is a huge garden. After an hour’s journey, the scenery was pleasing to the eye everywhere, and it didn’t feel like I came to the bathing beach in the northeast of The Hague.

There are a lot of people on weekends. The beach is full of brightly colored parasols, young and old men and women in swimsuits, swimmers and surfers scattered in the sea, and speedboats passing by, and a small plane in the sky is pulling a huge beer. Advertisements go around, quite lively.

After turning around for a while, I can easily find that there is a relatively vacant area on the far left. It seems that not many people go there. Some reefs blocked the view, and I couldn't see the part of the beach behind. My instinct told me that that was the place I was looking for.

I walked over, near the reef. Pulling a colorful rope to separate an area, a sign was erected next to it, with Dutch and English characters on it. You can understand the meaning in English. When translated into Chinese, it is the "naked swimming area". So, this is a celestial bath. Why did I suddenly feel a little nervous, and for a moment it seemed a bit dry and dry. I stood beside the sign for a while. To be honest, I must go in, but I have to think about how to get in.

It's definitely not enough to walk in with T-shirts, trousers, and shoes. In such a situation, it seems that the formality is almost rigid. After thinking about it for a while, I started to take off my clothes, and after taking off only a pair of swimming shorts, I never dared to take it off again. This is my bottom line. Pile a pile of clothes on a rock, find a rock to hold it down, so as not to be blown away by the wind, and take it when you come out. Then stood up, hung the camera diagonally on his shoulders, looked back and forth, calmed his emotions, pretended to be nonchalant, and walked in leisurely.

This sandy beach is relatively quiet, and there are few parasols inserted there. There are many men and women lying or lying, sitting or walking nearby, which looks a little sparse.

When I got closer, I felt something strange in front of me. The strangeness lies in the color of people. The people I see on the beach on weekdays, all kinds of swimsuits are fighting each other, which in itself constitutes beautiful beach scenery. But now the scenery has disappeared without a trace. The body of each of the men and women is only left with a single shade of light or dark, and some are even brown, white, and black. There is no beautiful feeling, but there is a strange contrast of color contrast.

Although I try to pretend not to squint and not care, my eyes are actually scanning around intentionally or unintentionally. Attentive people must be able to see that my manner at the time was similar to the pretentious manner.

Really! All the people here are naked. At that moment, I suddenly felt like walking into the large bathroom of the unit, but the bathroom was all men, but there was a good selection of men, women, and children. In addition to the extremely vivid body displays of all kinds of macho and beautiful women, there are also some old men and old ladies' wrinkled and sagging pale skins, the blessed bodies and beer belly of middle-aged men, and the kind of skinny tall women. When I walked to the center of this nude swimming area, I even saw the clumsy movements of two fat ladies applying sunscreen to each other. In the sea on the right, there are some people playing in the water. The difference from the outside is that when your eyes look over, you can feel the focus of your eyes from time to time to those that are shaking because you haven't gotten too much exposure. Go up to the hips glowing white from the sun. So, you will immediately realize that you are walking into a holy land similar to the Garden of Eden.

When I came, I even brought a camera with me. I wanted to take a few unique "portraits" on the celestial beach, so I could show off to my friends when I returned. After I got here, I immediately realized that this was one of the stupidest thoughts in the world.

At that moment, the camera hung on my bare shoulders looked particularly dazzling, as if it was the evidence of my evil thoughts. Although no one really cares about my existence, I always feel like someone is staring at my camera with ridicule and defensive eyes. If possible at this time, I really want to throw this thing away immediately. It's a pity that I don't have the courage because he is my fortune. So I could only bear the cross uncomfortably and walked on the beach a little awkwardly. I thought at that time. In such an environment, it is not the naked people who seem embarrassed and embarrassed, but I am a somewhat draped and premeditated visitor.

That's not counting. When I finally started to walk through the area where the crowd was relatively concentrated, and at the same time I was relatively close to the naked crowd, I finally found that in this place where everyone is naked, it is most natural for them, not me wearing shorts. The one-of-a-kind black striped shorts hung on my body, making my body very ambiguous and unnatural, making it a bit funny and ridiculous.

At that time, I even had such a bold idea, that was to immediately take off my shorts and put my camera bag on, so that I could stay in this garden of Eden with peace of mind for a while, and maybe even sit on the beach for a while. , Really experience the feeling of movement of this celestial body.

But when I really stretched my hand to the bottom of my pants, the cultural shame on me came out to stop me from acting. I really can't imagine how I can walk naked on the beach in this broad daylight, and still be under the gaze of countless people, including women. So I had to give up the idea of ​​being naked.

On one side is the Eastern cultural traditions flowing in the blood, on the other side is the immediate impact of Western civilization. The two sides are fighting each other here, forming an unavoidable impact and opposition. On this special beach, I immediately threw myself, who thought I was fairly open and modern, into an extremely embarrassing situation.

If I want to sit down or stay here, then I must throw away or take off all the disguise, and become one of them physically and psychologically. However, due to the traditional factors in my cultural psychology, I have not yet had the courage to do this, at least for the moment. So I had no choice but to stop as soon as possible, turn back immediately, and exit this forbidden area.

When I was thinking about it, my body had already turned back. Obviously, I didn't hesitate to accept this only choice, so I thought about it and immediately implemented it. The subconscious reaction of my culture was so quick, even I was surprised.

When I finally exited the celestial beach, stood in front of the sign again, and started putting on clothes solemnly, I looked back at the direction I had just fled from and felt relieved.

I think this cultural adventure of mine, in a sense, can be said to have ended with my personal failure. This is not to say that I have never entered that special natural environment, but because what I feel in that environment is not some kind of spiritual freedom as a person, but in the direct dialogue and conflict between different cultures. Into a passive and awkward position.

It seems that the cultural heritage owned by a person will always emerge at the fundamental and critical moment, affecting and restricting his behavior.

This is especially true at the relatively extreme moment of collision mentioned above. After thinking about this, I suddenly remembered a question, among the people swimming and basking in the celestial beach, are there people from relatively traditional countries? I really didn't notice this just now, and now is there any need to go in and verify it? It seems that although it is possible, I have lost my courage. Because if I ran in again, people there might treat me like someone with a problem.


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