Our history

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50 years of the Swiss Foundation for Social Tourism

For half a century, the Swiss Foundation for Social Tourism has aimed to promote social tourism in Switzerland. The Foundation achieves this goal by building and furnishing youth hostels for young people, schools and families in cooperation with other institutions. Time for a look back!

Foundation of SYH

The «Genossenschaft für Jugendherbergen Zürich» (Association for Youth Hostels Zurich) is founded in Zurich on 28 April 1924.

Foundation of SFST

On 11 May 1973 Jakob Kern and Willy Mersiovky sign the deed of foundation on behalf of the Zurich Youth Hostels Association. This lays the foundation for property and asset management for the District of Zurich, while the association continues to be responsible for operating the accommodations. An important challenge for the SFST remains to strengthen cooperation with the 13 regional youth hostel organisations with the aim of a Swiss-wide merger.

Merger of district associations

Almost 20 years later, in 1992, most youth hostel districts merge to form the Swiss Youth Hostels Association. The 18 associated properties are transferred to the Foundation at this point in time.

«Bauhandbuch 2005»

In 1993, a team of ten experts sets out the objectives for the construction of youth hostels in the «Bauhandbuch 2005». Its goal is to promote good, modern architecture typical for the region as an important building block of the future. Respect for the environment is an important basis for construction.

Zurich office 1994

In May 1994, together with the Swiss Youth Hostels Association, the Foundation moves into a new office at Schaffhauserstrasse 14 in Zurich, where both organisations are still headquartered today.

50th anniversary

Halfway through a century! The Swiss Foundation for Social Tourism celebrates its birthday at Fällanden Youth Hostel, where the inaugural meeting was once held. The celebration also provides the perfect setting for saying «thank you» to all those involved.

Future – outlook

The guidelines developed with the merger have proved to be very successful. They continue to be adapted to changing requirements on an ongoing basis. The strategic goals for 2024-2027 further strengthen the sustainability path we have embarked on. This is clearly reflected in the objectives for upcoming major projects in Geneva, Lucerne and Pontresina. They are based on the objective of achieving added value through close regional partnerships.

Generations of youth hostels

The architecture of Swiss Youth Hostels changes with the times and permanently adapts to new requirements. Find out here how the architecture around the youth hostels has developed in recent years and which trends have played an important role.