Interesting Fact # 1153 - Youth Hostelling

Youth hostelling started in Germany in 1912.

(German schoolteacher Richard Schirrmann was a firm believer in the power of the “outdoor classroom”. After a stormy experience during a class trip one night on August 26, 1909 he lay awake, thinking: "What if there was a network of places offering accommodation to young people all the way across Germany, or the world?"

In 1910 he published an article saying:-

“Villages could have a friendly youth hostel, situated a day's walk from each other, to welcome young hikers. Two classrooms will suffice, one for boys and one for girls. Some desks can be stacked away, thus freeing space to put down 15 beds. Each bed will consist of a tightly stuffed straw sack and pillow, two sheets and a blanket ... each child will be required to keep his own sleeping place clean and tidy.”

It was so well received and he received so much financial support, he set up the first Jugendherberge (literally “youth inn”) in his own school in Altena, western Germany, later that year.

In 1912, the schoolhouse was replaced by the world's first permanent youth hostel in Burg Altena, a 12th-century castle fitted out according to Schirrmann's specifications, with two dorms, triple-tier wooden bunk beds and a communal kitchen and bathrooms.)