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History of HI

The Youth Hostel International si proud to have over 100 years of experience.
Here are some facts about how it began:

  • the 15th century - students from the Medieval Times used to travel from one University to another and used to sleep in monasteries;
  • - apprentices had to work for few years in other cities or countries;
  • the 19th century
    • - 1844 YMCA was founded in London
    • - 1855 YWCA was founded in England
    • - 1856 Alpine Club was founded in London
    • - 1895 Friends of Nature was founded in Wien
  • there was a big movement of the young germans at the begining of the 20th century against the urban life, based on the intense industrialization at that time;
  • Altena Castle BunkbedsRichard Schirrmann • under these circumstances a new concept was born in 1909, the hostel. Shortly after, in 1912 the opening of the first hostel, Altena, takes place in Germany. Professor Richard Schirman was the one with the idea of opening a hostel. The main target of the hostel were the children from families with limited means, mostly workers families, and they were offered the possibility of learning in nature. At that moment hostels were only for primary school children;
  • the hostels starded to extend rapidly (30 km between the hostels) so a network was soon established. The hostels had a learning schedule and also compulsory hiking activities between the hostels during which stundets attended biology and botanic classes. The hostels had spartan facilities and students had chores to fulfill and also strict rules to follow;
  • Altena - First Hostelthe first IYHF conference was held in 1932 with the participation of 11 european associations. The purpose of the conference was to establish some principles of how the hostels should function. Also member cards were issued;
  • because the concept became international the idea of nature education was left behind due to differences in cultures;
  • today HI has 90 member associations, over 4300 hostels and over 4 milion members.

What do our guests expect?

  • good quality services
  • information about YHI
  • internet
  • foreign languages
  • nice wellcoming system
  • discounts and information at the reception desk
  • online bookings
  • organized activities
  • cleaningness
  • breakfast
  • safety, intimacy, flexibility, minimum rules
  • bar, restaurant
  • 24/7 access
  • rooms with fewer besd and more bathrooms

Article 2 of IYHF Constitution: - "To promote the education of all young people of all nations, but especially young people of limited means, by encouraging in them a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside and an appreciation of the cultural values of towns and cities in all parts of the world and as ancillary thereto, to provide hostels or other accommodation in which there shall be no distinction of race, nationality, colour, religion, sex, class or political opinions and thereby to develop a better understanding of their fellow men, both at home and abroad."