German Academics Cast Off Their Gowns: Naked Calendars All the Rage on Campus

The latest trend in German universities is enough to make a clean-living Oxford don blush: Students across the country are lining up to pose naked for college calendars.

What is it about Germans and nudity? The Teutonic attitude to getting naked in enough to make the prudish British and Americans blush -- just visit any park or beach in Germany during the summer and observe the willingness of people to get their kit off at the first hint of good weather.

Now even Germany's universities have caught this fever for disrobing. Over the past few years a new trend has emerged on campus -- the naked college calendar, featuring a seemingly endless supply of brazen young people willing to appear in their birthday suit for a variety of good causes.

The first such saucy venture came back in 2003 when a group of 18 students at the University of Applied Sciences in Deggendorf, Bavaria, came up with the original idea of stripping for a college calendar called "in.side."

The strong sales of that calendar inspired others to follow in their naked footsteps. While some of the nude calendars are sold to raise money for student protests against the conditions at the university, others are for charity.

Some of the supposedly "erotic" photos are decidedly amateur and seem to be designed more to amuse than titilate. But since 2004 the professional photographers Sonja and Michael Inselmann have been shooting a number of university nude calendars in attractive black and white. They work primarily with sports students, who tend to have somewhat more toned physiques than their fellow law and arts students -- who are more likely to be found in the library or pub than in the gym.

And donít think that it's just the free and easy liberal students who like to express themselves this way. In 2005 the youth group at the Lutheran congregation of Katzwang in Bavaria decided to pose naked for a calendar to raise money for the church -- with attractive poses depicting various scenes from the Bible.

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