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History of Swiss Youth Hostels

Nearly 100 years of hospitality!

Since it was founded, the Swiss Youth Hostels association has kept up with the times, continuously evolving to meet the changing needs of guests and to align the network towards innovation and sustainable tourism. Still today, the focus is on facilitating encounters, featuring architectural diversity and offering fair accommodation prices. However, due to increasing globalisation, environmental pollution and modern travel habits, new challenges need to be addressed. Swiss Youth Hostels’ response has included numerous striking conversions and new buildings, additional room categories and an innovative, pioneering role in the service of environmentally compatible social tourism.

Fancy a little journey through time? Let’s go!

  • 1924 – 1936

    • A historic picture of a youth hostel reception at the time

    • 28 April 1924
      In the hall of Zurich’s ‘Mädchenklub Gartenhof’, around 70 representatives of various youth organisations, including ‘Abstinente Jugend’, ‘Pro Juventute’ and ‘Wandervögel’, spend an evening together to found the ‘Zurich Co-operative for the Establishment of Youth Hostels’.

      1925
      The organisation has 277 members. An overnight stay costs half a franc, a membership card one franc.

    • 1932
      Joining the International Youth Hostel Federation.

      1926 – 1936
      The number of hostels, already known as ‘Swiss Youth Hostels’, increases from 80 to 208, the number of overnight stays from 7,000 to 168,000.

  • 1965 – 1994

    • Young people with their bicycles in front of Beinwil Youth Hostel in 1971

    • 20 December 1965
      The youth hostel in Zurich Wollishofen is opened, with 318 beds.

      11. May 1973
      By setting up the Swiss Foundation for Social Tourism, the real estate and asset management of Swiss Youth Hostels is separated from the operational management.

    • 1991
      A boom year recording 945,174 overnight stays at 84 youth hostels. This figure remains unsurpassed for a long time.

      1994
      Opening of the Swiss Youth Hostels headquarters in Zurich

  • 1999 - 2004

    • After the opening of the Youth Palace Davos, guests enjoy the view from the balcony of the former sanatorium.

    • April 1999 – April 2000
      75 years of Swiss Youth Hostels! The ‘Jugithlon’ encompasses 75 anniversary events in and around 67 youth hostels.

      2002
      Refurbishment of the sanatorium and subsequent opening of the Youthpalace in Davos.

    • 2003
      Conversion and expansion of the youth hostel in Zermatt: renovation of the old building and construction of two additional buildings Minergie label.

      2004
      Reopening of the converted youth hostel in Zurich.

  • 2007 – 2010

    • The lobby of the new Basel St. Alban Youth Hostel

    • December 2007
      Opening of the youth hostel in Scuol – certified with the Minergie Eco label.

      2008
      The best year in our history to date. Compared with the previous year, overnight stays increase by 7.3% to 986,471. Total turnover is CHF 40.5 million (not including franchise hostels), against CHF 36.3 million in 2007.

    • 2009
      Swiss Youth Hostels is only slightly affected by this year of crisis. There is a small drop in turnover and overnight stays, but the number of memberships increases. 103,000 people are annual members, surpassing the 100,000 mark for the first time.

      2010
      March sees the opening of the new Basel St. Alban Youth Hostel. Many guests celebrate the modern building by Basel architects Buchner Bründler.

  • 2012 - present day

    • Crans-Montana Youth Hostel, newly opened in June 2017

    • 2012
      The new youth hostel in Interlaken opens in May. As a first-ever, it includes a public restaurant – the 3a. The new building with 220 beds is the first accommodation establishment in Switzerland to be constructed in accordance with the Minergie-P-ECO standard.

      2014
      Gstaad Saanenland Youth Hostel opens at the beginning of June in the heart of one of the most attractive hiking, mountain-biking and skiing regions.

      The young, dynamic and sports-oriented wellnessHostel4000 in Saas-Fee welcomes guests from 5 September.

    • 2016
      Two construction projects are launched: in September, work starts on converting a historic hotel into the new Crans-Montana Youth Hostel, opening in June 2017, and November sees the beginning of rebuilding Bern Youth Hostel, which is expected to be completed in spring 2018.

      2017
      In Trin (canton of Grisons), a new youth hostel is coming about in collaboration with the Mountain Forest Project, the rebuilding work in Bern is continued, and there is progress on further exciting projects at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne, at Burgdorf Castle and with another wellness hostel in Laax …

  • 1924 – 1936

    A historic picture of a youth hostel reception at the time

  • 1924 – 1936

    28 April 1924
    In the hall of Zurich’s ‘Mädchenklub Gartenhof’, around 70 representatives of various youth organisations, including ‘Abstinente Jugend’, ‘Pro Juventute’ and ‘Wandervögel’, spend an evening together to found the ‘Zurich Co-operative for the Establishment of Youth Hostels’.

    1925
    The organisation has 277 members. An overnight stay costs half a franc, a membership card one franc.

  • 1924 – 1936

    1932
    Joining the International Youth Hostel Federation.

    1926 – 1936
    The number of hostels, already known as ‘Swiss Youth Hostels’, increases from 80 to 208, the number of overnight stays from 7,000 to 168,000.

  • 1965 – 1994

    Young people with their bicycles in front of Beinwil Youth Hostel in 1971

  • 1965 – 1994

    20 December 1965
    The youth hostel in Zurich Wollishofen is opened, with 318 beds.

    11. May 1973
    By setting up the Swiss Foundation for Social Tourism, the real estate and asset management of Swiss Youth Hostels is separated from the operational management.

  • 1965 – 1994

    1991
    A boom year recording 945,174 overnight stays at 84 youth hostels. This figure remains unsurpassed for a long time.

    1994
    Opening of the Swiss Youth Hostels headquarters in Zurich

  • 1999 - 2004

    After the opening of the Youth Palace Davos, guests enjoy the view from the balcony of the former sanatorium.

  • 1999 - 2004

    April 1999 – April 2000
    75 years of Swiss Youth Hostels! The ‘Jugithlon’ encompasses 75 anniversary events in and around 67 youth hostels.

    2002
    Refurbishment of the sanatorium and subsequent opening of the Youthpalace in Davos.

  • 1999 - 2004

    2003
    Conversion and expansion of the youth hostel in Zermatt: renovation of the old building and construction of two additional buildings Minergie label.

    2004
    Reopening of the converted youth hostel in Zurich.

  • 2007 – 2010

    The lobby of the new Basel St. Alban Youth Hostel

  • 2007 – 2010

    December 2007
    Opening of the youth hostel in Scuol – certified with the Minergie Eco label.

    2008
    The best year in our history to date. Compared with the previous year, overnight stays increase by 7.3% to 986,471. Total turnover is CHF 40.5 million (not including franchise hostels), against CHF 36.3 million in 2007.

  • 2007 – 2010

    2009
    Swiss Youth Hostels is only slightly affected by this year of crisis. There is a small drop in turnover and overnight stays, but the number of memberships increases. 103,000 people are annual members, surpassing the 100,000 mark for the first time.

    2010
    March sees the opening of the new Basel St. Alban Youth Hostel. Many guests celebrate the modern building by Basel architects Buchner Bründler.

  • 2012 - present day

    Crans-Montana Youth Hostel, newly opened in June 2017

  • 2012 - present day

    2012
    The new youth hostel in Interlaken opens in May. As a first-ever, it includes a public restaurant – the 3a. The new building with 220 beds is the first accommodation establishment in Switzerland to be constructed in accordance with the Minergie-P-ECO standard.

    2014
    Gstaad Saanenland Youth Hostel opens at the beginning of June in the heart of one of the most attractive hiking, mountain-biking and skiing regions.

    The young, dynamic and sports-oriented wellnessHostel4000 in Saas-Fee welcomes guests from 5 September.

  • 2012 - present day

    2016
    Two construction projects are launched: in September, work starts on converting a historic hotel into the new Crans-Montana Youth Hostel, opening in June 2017, and November sees the beginning of rebuilding Bern Youth Hostel, which is expected to be completed in spring 2018.

    2017
    In Trin (canton of Grisons), a new youth hostel is coming about in collaboration with the Mountain Forest Project, the rebuilding work in Bern is continued, and there is progress on further exciting projects at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne, at Burgdorf Castle and with another wellness hostel in Laax …