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.