Random Images: Swedish Tourism Office

Yet another contribution from one of our readers. Even today, an advertisement featuring fun at the beach would show scantily-clad, happy, beautiful people. The image is not only a throwback from a different time, but demonstrates the Swedes’ reputation for a relaxed attitude about the human body. Often overlooked is the fact that there is a perfectly pragmatic reason for leaving young children unclothed: it saves money. The clothing industry makes a fortune convincing people to buy appealing but appropriately modest swimwear for their toddlers and children just to replace them the next year.

Swedish Tourism Office Ad (c1990)

7 thoughts on “Random Images: Swedish Tourism Office

  1. Indeed, nudity is not an issue in Scandinavia. If only the kids feel more comfortable walking around in the buff, they are allowed to do so.

    Last year I spent two weeks in Norway. During my stop in the city of Bergen, I decided to visit the home of composer Edvard Grieg and was not disappointed. Troldhaugen is a traditional timber villa built for him on top of a hill in a natural woodland setting, situated on a peninsula overlooking Nordås Lake. The whole area is now the Edvard Grieg Museum, where you can admire the house and a small cabin, but also enjoy a relaxing stroll through the woods. It is a truly beautiful place! Of course, it attracts tourists from all around the world. After visiting the museum, I found a path to the shore where I sat down on a stone to rest for a while and enjoy the view. At first there was nobody there, but soon I heard the voices in Norwegian. A couple with two girls, perhaps a bit older than the ones in the ad you posted, decided to follow my path. They sat down nearby, and we started a little small talk (all of them spoke English fluently). It was the end of August, the weather was sunny but a bit chilly (around 15°C/60°F), yet all of them were clothed very lightly. The children kicked off their flip-flops and started wading in knee-deep water, which must have been ice-cold. Surprisingly, they seemed not bothered at all, laughing and splashing. The older girl said something in Norwegian to her mom, who smiled and nodded her head. “They want to take a dip” – she explained to me. The girls quickly slipped off their dresses and panties, and jumped to the water. For them the temperature was just fine! After a while, I heard another group of tourists approaching, this time an American family with kids. One of them, a boy who seemed the same age as the bathing Norwegian girls, was just gaping at them with eyes like saucers and exclaimed: “Look! They have no suits!”. The Norwegian mom responded laughingly that they have their birthday suits, but the Americans just murmured “sorry” and the whole family quickly disappeared. It must have been a cultural shock to them!

    • I remember an American woman saying on another website that she knew a woman from Sweden who said that she had been ten years old when she got her first bathing suit.
      So apparently in Scandinavia it is assumed that girls do not need bathing suits until they are approaching puberty.

      • I have read in a book called “Suecia: Infierno y paraíso” (Sweden- Hell and Heaven) from the Italian writer Enrico Altavilla that once the Swedish police fined a group of teens because of going in the buff on the beach. Also, he commented that the most of Swedish believed that babies and little children should not wear any bathing clothes at all because, “they did not need them.”

        • Thank you for this comment. You have quoted the title in Spanish, the original book in Italian was entitled “Svezia: inferno e paradiso”. I came across a fragment of this book in Spanish. As I understood it correctly, the innocent nudity age was considered as 8–10 years, however it would be great if a Spanish speaking person could help in the translation.

          • Actually I have got the Spanish version of the book- Spanish is my mothertongue. So I will be glad to translate this fragment into English. Greetings from sunny Mexico.

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