Hostel History

Richard Schirrmann

It all started with a Teacher

In 1912, the youth hostel organisation started in Altena, Germany, as a partnership between Richard Schirrmann and businessman, Wilhelm Münker.  By 1913, 83 youth hostels were established. The movement was put on hold during the First World War, but expanded after 1920 and spread throughout Europe.  Between 1924 and 1931, hostel organisations were set up in 10 countries.  In 1930, the first youth hostel opened in Denmark. 

From Youth Hostel to Hostel

Youth hostels have evolved over the years.  The Danhostel Association (Danhostel Danmarks Vandrerhjem) acts as the Administrator for all Danhostels. Instead of just dormitories, there are now modern rooms for singles, couples, families and groups of all sizes. All Danhostels provide rooms with private and/or shared bathrooms. Today's Danhostels attract different types of customers who require modern facilities for accommodation, meetings and courses, training and events. The Association strives to standardise the basic hostel product in certain key areas and ensure consistently high quality. The differences of each hostel guarantee that no two hostels are alike!

A lot has happened in the 77 years since the opening of the first Danish hostel. Hospitality, hygge and last, but certainly not least, the hosts’ personal commitment, remain an extremely important part of the spirit of all Danhostels.

Danhostel’s Position in the Tourism Industry

With nearly one million overnight stays each year, Danhostels play a major role in Denmark's accommodation sector.  As a result of effective marketing and cooperation with the tourism community, all 64 unique Danhostels participate on an equal footing in the overall presence of accommodations in Denmark.