Polish border town asks Czechs to stop getting naked in its swimming pool locker rooms – Notes From Poland

Nov 14, 2023 | Society
A Polish town near the border with the Czech Republic has witnessed a cross-cultural clash between the two nations over public nudity after a local swimming pool asked Czech visitors not to fully undress in front of others in its locker rooms.
The situation has developed in Prudnik, a town of 21,000 in southwest Poland that is around 6 km (4 miles) from the Czech border.
Many Czechs come there to use its swimming pool because the nearest ones on their side of the border are around 30 km away, reports local newspaper Nowa Trybuna Opolska (NTO).

That has, however, caused some tensions at the “Sójka” indoor swimming pool in Prudnik, where a sign has recently been put up in Czech at the ticket office “politely asking guests from the Czech Republic to change in cabins behind curtains and not in shared locker rooms”, notes the newspaper.
There are separate locker rooms at the pool for men and women. But it is customary that, when someone wants to change from underwear to swimwear, they do so in an additional cubicle behind a curtain and not in front of other people.
“The guests from the Czech Republic have been changing by the lockers and not behind the curtain,” Małgorzata Halek-Malinowska, director of Prudnik’s municipal sports agency, told NTO.
Nietypowy apel na miejskim basenie. Czesi zgorszyli Polaków – Podróże Kościelna pruderia 🙏😇nagość ciężki grzech 🤓 https://t.co/VMTZlLBJTH
— PiotrMakowiec (@piotr_makowiec) November 14, 2023

She noted that the main reason for asking Czechs to change their behaviour is the presence of children at the pool.
“We do not have a separate area for adults,” said added Halek-Malinowska. “The same changing rooms are also used by children with their parents or coming to swimming classes, hence our appeal to comply with the rules.”
The newspaper notes that “Czechs have a more liberal approach to nudity” than Poles, and the Czech visitors it spoke to were surprised by the prudes of Prudnik.
“In our country, no one is offended by the idea of changing in front of children,” said one young Czech woman, who confirmed that when she visits the pool in Prudnik she has never seen any Polish swimmers strip naked, even in the showers.
“People are ashamed,” she said. “But it’s better to wash thoroughly after a swim for the sake of health and hygiene.”
NTO notes that Poles who cross the border in the other direction to visit Czech swimming pools and saunas – where public nudity is common – can also often face culture shock.
“I often use the swimming pool in Česká Veslavice near Jeseník,” a resident of Głuchołazy, a town of 13,500 on the Polish side of the border, told the newspaper. He recalled that he once saw “a father bring his young daughter to the shower because he had no one to leave her with”.
“He didn’t care that there were naked men bathing nearby,” said the Pole. “For others that is an awkward situation.”
There has been a boom in the number of Czech tourists coming to Poland for their summer holidays, data show.
Visitors from the landlocked Czech Republic are in particular heading to the beaches of Poland’s Baltic coast https://t.co/tbvSWxa0wv
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) July 12, 2023


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Agata Pyka is an assistant editor at Notes from Poland. She is a journalist and a political communication student at the University of Amsterdam. She specialises in Polish and European politics as well as investigative journalism and has previously written for Euractiv and The European Correspondent.
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