Hostels, history, and people

All about youth hostels, their history, and the people and ideas behind them on this site. Ever wondered how youth hostels came about? What makes hostels special? Answers here, and more in two books about hostels and their history.

Open To All charts the story of youth hostels from their beginning in 1930. Written by an insider, who worked for the Youth Hostels Association of England and Wales for more than thirty years, the book offers a definitive history of the fascinating organisation that changed people’s lives.

Richard Schirrmann invented youth hostels. His idea grew through two world wars, the rise of the Nazis and economic depression to cover the world. He wanted the best for young people, and never built his idea into a brand, never sold it to anyone. He was a volunteer and an amateur in the best sense of the word. 

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