Higher Court rules nude hikers free

Higher Court rules nude hikers free

The Higher Court in Leeuwarden acquitted naked hikers who were fined in the Horsterwold in Zeewolde in The Netherlands

On June 14, 2015 the police in Horsterwold near Zeewolde in the Netherlands, stopped naked hikers because they were hiking naked on a place that was not designated as a clothing optional place by the local municipality. The police came into action because someone called them.

The hikers have properly indicated to the police that they were of the opinion that, under Article 430a Penal Code, they had not committed any offense. This article indicates that undressed recreation outside place designated by the municipality (eg a nude beach), can be penalized with a fine of the first category, if the place is not suitable for nude recreation. As a police officer, he should be able to demonstrate why a particular place would be not suitable. In fact only a judge can speak judgment about this suitability in The Netherlands. Unfortunately, the police ignored their explanation and the hikers were fined with a fine of € 90, - per person.

Because the hikers did not agree in the decision of the police, they went to court. On December 7, 2015 the case came to the Cantonal Court in Almere. The court has determined that the hikers are recreating nude outside a location designated by the municipality, so they should to be fined and the judge judged this way. The judge was forgotten that Article 430a Penal Code makes a reservation. At all places, which are reasonably okay, is undressed recreation not forbidden. The prosecutor did, however, no research about the suitability of this area and did not proof that Horsterwold was unsuitable for nude recreation.

Still believing in their right, the naked hikers appeal to the Higher Court. On January 9, 2017 the hearing took place in the Higher Court in Leeuwarden. The Advocate General of the Prosecution got the possibility to show/proof why the Horsterwold would not be suitable for undressed recreation. Some evidence why this natural reserve is unsuitable still lacks and the prosecutor turned the case in the opposite direction. They stated during the hearing that the naked hikers had to prove that the area is suitable. This of course goes against all the rules and is also picked up by the Higher Court. Due to the fact that there is no single evidence from the prosecutor why it Horsterwold is not suitable for nude recreation and that the naked hikers could produce many documents showing that it is certainly suitable for undressed recreation, the Court acquitted the naked hikers today on January 23, 2017.

Pronunciation: http://deeplink.rechtspraak.nl/uitspraak?id=ECLI:NL:GHARL:2017:454

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16 thoughts on “Higher Court rules nude hikers free”

  1. Wow this is excellent, Rolie! You really ought to have cooked for the judge. The moment he tastes just one bit of your food, he will decide that the whole of the Netherlands, every square inch of it, is suitable for nudity. 🙂

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  2. Besides just being nude in the Netherlands is not a crime but can be punished with a fine. In general maximum €100,- but just the judge can make the decesion if a place is suitsble. This is not the job of a police officer.

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    • As a practical matter, this makes things quite difficult. The police issue a fine, second guessing that a judge will agree that the place is not suitable for nude recreation. The fine is not exceedingly large, and the effort of going to court is not trivial, so many people who might succeed in getting a fine overturned at court, will take the softer option of paying the fine. Not everyone is as tenacious as Rolie! I hope that this decision makes things easier for other people too, but I fear that there is a fundamental disconnect in the whole system — the officer issuing the fine is not certain of the result. The decision doesn't necessarily prevent the police issuing fines, although it might encourage more people to go to the effort of challenging fines. It is certainly better than a blanket ban on nudity, though.

      From now on, I will call you , geboren you op 1967, wonende you , .

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      • It is important to tell the police about article 430a in our law. Also everybody should know that being naked is not forbidden in The Netherlands. It is true that not everybody goes to court and pau the €90,- but the more case the better it is to let the police realise that they have to do their work better. The fine will never get higher in court.

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  3. We have the luck that article 430a of our criminsl law says that a municipality only can point out a suitable nude area, but can never declarevsn area unsuitable. In fact every place can be suitable unless it is proven that is not suitable. That is not quite easy for the presecutor.

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  4. It always seems such a problem that the average bobby on the beat has no idea that naturism is legal in the UK. The other problem is that there is always the Public Order Act, as in this guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK:

    "In the absence of any sexual context and in relation to nudity where the person has no intention to cause alarm or distress it will normally be appropriate to take no action unless members of the public were actually caused harassment, alarm or distress (as opposed to considering the likelihood of this).

    In this case such conduct should be regarded as at most amounting to an offence under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986; and regard needs to be had to the question of whether a prosecution is in the public interest".

    So, if a police officer takes action on the sole basis that you are naked in public he is completely in the wrong. If someone claims to have been alarmed by this then there is the possibility of using the Public Order Act as a generic catch all, but this has to be "in the public interest". But essentially; no harassment, alarm or distress being reported appears to equal no crime, here in the UK. But it only takes one complaint to give the option to go the Public Order Act route. Presumably POA can lead to an ASBO (antisocial behaviour order), the breaking of which can lead to prison, whatever the ASBO was imposed for.

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  5. It is excellent that the hikers got their appeal upheld & the higher court set them free from all charges.
    Maybe we could learn something from this court hearing and make our prosecutors declare why social nudity in any specific location is unsuitable. Rather than naturists having to prove why their actions or presence was entirely suitable.

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