The ‘Stop Golasom’ campaign seems to be having the desired effect with fewer and fewer ‘Golasy’ or ‘naked people’ being seen on the streets and in the gardens of Sopot.

The campaign, which was created by the local government, is aimed at encouraging people to cover up once they leave the beach and to not walk around the town in swimsuits or without tops on. The campaign was named ‘Stop Golasom’ in Polish and refers to the slang term for someone who is not fully dressed. The literal translation into English doesn’t work as well as ‘Naked People’ suggests that there are people walking around completely unclothed. In English therefore, the city authorities are trying to instead encourage foreign visitors to dress ‘appropriately’ when they leave the beach to walk around town or to sit in one of the many gardens or terraces to eat or have a drink.

2019 is the fourth year of the campaign and one of the reasons it appears to have been successful is that local businesses, particularly in the gastronomy sector have lent their support and have refused to serve customers who are inappropriately dressed. The campaign includes posters with the campaign slogan, as well as stickers and posters informing customers that they will not be served unless they are covered up. You will see these posters all around town in the windows of hotels, bars and restaurants as well as on the city advertising hoardings and pillars.

The campaign was created to try to ensure the city’s reputation as an elegant resort was maintained. The aim is not to punish and fine but instead to encourage visitors to dress appropriately in a friendly manner so that the city’s image is not damaged.

Sopot is not the first city to introduce such a policy but it is approaching the issue with a much gentler attitude. Places such as Barcelona, Geneva, the island of Hvar in Croatia, the Maldives, Mallorca and the UAE have all brought in similar bans, with some even punishing those who do not cover up after leaving the beach with fines of up to €600.

Elsewhere the Chinese have also been clamping down on the habit of local men to roll up their shirts to stay cool during hot weather. The authorities in Jinan recently issued orders that men were not to walk around wearing the ‘Beijing Bikini’ as they viewed it as ‘uncivilised behaviour’ which damaged the image of the city.

The author of the Sopot project is local artist Jacek Staniszewski.