How it all began
Until the early 20th century, travelling was a privilege of just a few, generally well-to-do people. Craftspeople went hiking, as well as teachers with their classes and students for study purposes.
Industrialisation made a lasting change to humanity’s living environment. The youth especially increasingly suffered poor living and working conditions in the industrial world. To escape the confined, less than satisfying living conditions, more and more young people began to hike and travel in their rare free time at the beginning of the 20th century. On the one hand, they wanted to experience nature in contrast to city life, and on the other, hiking was an expression of a self-defined, youth-friendly way of living.
For young hikers, youth hostels were an uncomplicated place to spend time, stay overnight and socialise. Larger youth hostels also hosted youth conferences and youth sports.