Over 100 years ago, in 1909, a teacher named Richard Schirrmann had the idea of providing low-cost overnight accommodation for young hikers, especially school parties, while he was sheltering from a thunderstorm one night during a school trip with his class. In 1912, the first permanent Youth Hostel was established in Altena in Germany's Sauerland region.
The hostelling movement has always seen itself as a community that brings together people beyond national borders, and that contributes towards tolerance and intercultural understanding by means of youth exchanges and encounter programmes. The by-laws of the German Youth Hostels Association (Deutsches Jugendherbergswerk DJH) stipulate the promotion of youth encounters, healthy living and environmental awareness as part of its purpose.
The History of the Regional Association Baden-Wuerttemberg
The German Youth Hostel Association Region of Baden-Wuerttemberg e.V. was founded in 2000 through the merger of the regional associations Baden and Schwaben. The regional association of Baden existed since 1920, the regional association of Schwaben since 1918. Motives for this merger were the combining and strengthening of the Youth Hostel network, extended financial performance, synergistic effects in organization and a uniform appearance in public.
The German Youth Hostel Association consists of the Headquarter in Detmold and 14 regional associations. With more than 350.000 members the regional association of Baden-Württemberg is the biggest among these. It is officially certificated as a membership organization for non-profit purposes in connection with youth welfare services.
Responsible for the management of the Regional Association of Baden-Württemberg is a voluntary Executive Committee who is elected by the Delegates Assembly. The voluntary Executive Committee has delegated executive management responsibility to the CEO.
It is one of our best traditions that we keep up with the times and are open for innovations and new ideas. During the last years we have constantly adopted the comfort and service of our hostels to the changed guest wishes. We are also actively facing such important issues as protecting the environment and climate as well as sustainability. Sustainability has been a declared aim of the German Youth Hostel Association for many years. In the regional association of Baden-Wuerttemberg we follow this aim in concrete ways, for example in the construction and operation of our Youth Hostels. Since January 2010 all Youth Hostels in Baden-Wuerttemberg operate with Aquastrom. The Youth Hostel in Friedrichshafen completely uses renewable energy sources and the Geschwister-Scholl-Youth Hostel Ulm is a so called „Green Building“. Two of the 20 Environmental Youth Hostels in Germany are located in Baden-Wuerttemberg.