Thursday, August 22, 2013


Did you know that there is segregation in Freiburg? The Lorettobad located in the Wiehre neighborhood has a separate pool for ladies only.

Sommer, Sonne, Damenbad published by Lavori Verlag
As far back as 1980 a student challenged this gender segregation in court possibly because he felt deprived of the sight of girls in bikinis. He eventually lost the court case. According to the Municipal Code installations may be dedicated and used as such. No gender is deprived of swimming for the Lorettobad has other, bigger pools accessible to everybody. A Damenbad does not infringe on the principle of equality laid down in the Grundgesetz (German constitution).

In addition to his lost case the student was mistaken with respect to the clients in the ladies' swimming bath. As the name says the users are ladies while girls prefer the open area of the Lorettobad for they like to be seen in their bikinis in particular by students.

Today there was an exception. The Badische Zeitung had arranged a visit of the Damenbad for their readers only from 6 (!) to 9 a.m. before the official opening. Red Baron living nearby walked to the Lorettobad and arrived at 6:02.

I arrived at the Damenbad at dawn
A whole bunch of ladies were present and greeted the male guest but the promised coffee and the croissants were still missing.

First contacts under the moon at 6:06 a.m. (©BZ)

Two other gentlemen were there and started to undress but they were told to go to the public part of the swimming pool to change. When they came back in their swimming trunks Red Baron was tempted to take a swim too in spite of a water temperature of only 21 degrees centigrade.

Red Baron hesitating
The swimming pools are not heated. When in 1990 the Lorettobad was refurbished the old pools made of concrete were replaced by pools made of stainless steel. The advantage of the latter is better hygiene and a heating effect. The sun not only is reflected on the metallic surfaces of the walls and the ground but the red and infrared part of the spectrum going back and forth is partly absorbed by the water. This is why the pools look bluish. In a Green City only the sun is warming up the pools with their water continuously circulating and passing through cleaning filters. Since stainless steel is a bad heat conductor the water keeps its temperature over extended periods.

After the swim: Red Baron climbs out of the Damenbad (©BZ)

Technical details about water circulation and cleaning.
Red Baron listens skeptically to the explanations of the pool supervisor (©BZ)

When I left at 7:30 the sun had taken over
For Freiburg the Lorettobad and in particular the Damenbad is a cultural heritage. It is sponsored by the Freunde des Lorettobades.

Fund raising concert arranged by the Friends of the Lorettobad  Freunde des Lorettobades)

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