Everyone is allowed to bathe topless in Zurich public pools, council rules

Everyone is allowed to bathe topless in Zurich public pools, council rules

In a win for gender equality campaigners, the municipal council of Zurich has ruled that people of any gender can swim topless in public swimming pools. The decision to add legal clarity to the matter has been praised by many women in the region. 

Topless women cannot be asked to cover up for reasons of “decency”

The decision follows a request from the municipal council of Zurich, which asked city officials to lay out what the dress code rules are in both indoor and outdoor swimming facilities. While there are laws - signed in 2010 - which allow women to swim topless in most settings, many public pools have made their own rules on the practice.

Now, the city council has ruled that the same dress code applies to everyone who uses Zurich's public swimming pools. "By practice, bare-chested bathing is permitted for everyone in all city-operated indoor and outdoor pools, regardless of whether their chest is read male, female, or otherwise", they noted.

Campaigners praise the decision in Zurich

"We couldn't have hoped for a better answer", noted Zurich Cantonal Councillor Sandra Bienek. She argued that the decision adds clarity and is a political win-win, as no legal changes have to be made to implement the policy - as technically, the rules are already on the books. As a result of the ruling, she assumed that our "relationship to the naked upper body of women will normalise."

Swiss newspaper Blick asked a legal expert to comment on the matter, who said that they expect other Swiss cities to follow suit. Zurich is the first region of Switzerland to make an official statement on topless swimming. 

Outdoor and indoor swimming pools in Zurich to permit topless swimming

The new policy means that both men and women will be able to swim bare-chested in indoor and outdoor public swimming pools across Zurich. However, it's important to bear in mind that the Zurich ruling only applies to swimming areas under public control, meaning privately run facilities can still make their own rules.

Thumb image credit: Emilija Miljkovic /

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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