Burgdorf Castle Youth Hostel wins ICOMOS Special Award

22. NOV. 2021

As part of the «Historic Restaurant/Hotel of the Year» award, the youth hostel at Burgdorf Castle was today honoured with the special prize by ICOMOS Suisse, the Swiss national group of the International Council on Monuments and Sites. This award is presented to accommodation providers that meet the high standards of the Council in an outstanding manner with regard to monument preservation and restoration.

People from left to right:
Sylvain Malfroy, Jurymitglied ICOMOS
Regula Steinmann, Jurymitglied ICOMOS
René Dobler, CEO Schweizerische Stiftung für Sozialtourismus
Elisabeth Zäch, Vize-Präsidentin des Stiftungsrates Schloss Burgdorf
Rolf Grossenbacher, Architekt Atelier G+S 
Janine Bunte, CEO Schweizer Jugendherbergen
Stefan Berger, Stadtpräsident von Burgdorf

For the 26th time in a row, ICOMOS Suisse, the Swiss national group of the Paris-based International Council on Monuments and Historic Sites, has presented the award «The Historic Restaurant/Hotel of the Year». Burgdorf Castle Youth Hostel was chosen as one of the six nominated accommodations that meet the selection committee’s high standards in terms of monument preservation and restoration, winning the «Special Award Historic Hotel of the Year 2022» today.

Thanks to the enormous commitment of the Burgdorf Castle foundation, the 800-year-old Zähringen Castle in Burgdorf was able to undergo extensive renovations from June 2018 to June 2020, after which it opened its doors to the public for the first time. Today, the castle walls house the youth hostel, a museum, the Burgdorf Castle restaurant and the municipal wedding room all under one roof. The conversion of the castle entailed special challenges – architectural firm Atelier G+S accepted and implemented them from the idea of a «castle for all» down to the last detail with great respect for the historic building fabric. This careful transition to the new use under the strict requirements of monument protection as well as the great attention to detail ultimately also tipped the scales for the ICOMOS selection committee to present Burgdorf Castle Youth Hostel with the Special Award 2022. «The various uses are closely linked in terms of content and operation and benefit from synergies. The new publicness of the complex also has a positive impact on the revitalisation of the upper town by the castle crowd,» says Regula Steinmann, member of the ICOMOS Suisse selection committee.


16 historic buildings in the SYH network

The commitment to the preservation and maintenance of historic buildings has always been a matter close to the heart of the Swiss Youth Hostels. Thanks to their many years of dedication to valuable building culture, there are now 16 historic buildings in the SYH network, including castles, fortresses, former factory buildings, historic chalet buildings, villas or former spa houses. Burgdorf is already the second hostel of the Swiss Youth Hostels to be honoured with the prestigious ICOMOS award. In autumn 2007, Zurich Youth Hostel received the ICOMOS Special Award as «Historic Hotel of the Year 2008» for the deliberate and successful conversion of a building from the 1960s.

In addition to the ICOMOS Special Award, Burgdorf Castle and its youth hostel were also honoured with the Atuprix Audience Award, the award for Bernese architectural culture, at the end of October 2021. The Atuprix is awarded every three years for exemplary, contemporary and interdisciplinary works and planning in the Canton of Bern.

Press release (PDF)