Though some of the more prudish might be shocked to encounter topless sunbathers at swimming pools, lakes, or even public parks in Prague and the Czech Republic during the summer months, it’s not an uncommon sight.
But is it legal?
Technically, it could be classified as a misdemeanor offense under the laws concerning public indecency, according to a recent article on Novinky.cz.
“In general, it could be said that a woman who has her bare breasts exposed could have committed a public indecency offense,” according to Prague Police spokesperson Irena Seifertová.
“However, the act would have to fulfill three conditions. It would have to be committed in the public. The act would have to subjectively offend the morals of more than two people who would usually be present at the same time. It would also have to be in contradiction to the morals that the society agrees on.”
While the first condition is likely, and the third is open to interpretation, at least two people would have to be sufficiently offended and report the incident to police to warrant a response, which might seem unlikely. In fact, it hasn’t happened, at least in Prague.
“These days, when nudity is common in press and media and even some ads, there is a question as to whether bare female breasts will offend anyone,” Seifertová. “At least in Prague. In Brno, we know [they have].”
In Moravia, there has been at least one instance of a topless sunbather being fined. The incident occurred at a swimming pool in the Merkur sports complex in Pasohlávky, about 25 kilometers south of Brno.
The fine? A not-so-hefty 100 CZK. According to Seifertová, it could have been significantly higher.
“For the misdemeanor offense of public indecency, an officer may impose a fine of up to 5000 CZK,” she said. “However, this only occasionally happens and is always solved with respect to the circumstances under which the behavior occurred.”
In Prague, many private swimming pools and outdoor areas openly tolerate topless sunbathers, though most require a bathing suit when entering the water.
“We don’t have anything like a ban on topless sunbathing,” Václav Šála, administrator of the Na Petynce swimming pool in Prague 6 told Právo. “I don’t see anything malicious in it.”
“But in fact some visitors have asked if they could walk around completely nude. This we denied.”