A unique association
The German Youth Hostel Association (DJH) is a one-of-a-kind organisation. Its fundamental concept of being a place for the peaceful encounter of young people from all over the world is as up to date as ever.
A sustainable association
The German Youth Hostel Association (DJH) supports Agenda 21. The Agenda's goal is to ensure the sustainability of our livelihoods and chances for development for current and future generations.
A structured association
The German Youth Hostel Association (DJH) consists of the organisation at the Federal level, the associations at regional level, local and district associations, the individual Youth Hostels and its 2 million members.
For the past 25 years, the German Youth Hostel Association (DJH) has gained experience in sustainable development through model projects and “Environmental|Youth Hostels”. This sustainable development means sustainability in social, cultural and ecological aspects. What started initially with ideas of an ecological background has evolved into a broad concept.
First Model Projects
In the mid 1980’s, topics like waste prevention und climate protection were embedded in our youth hostels. It quickly became clear that climate education for teenagers had to be more than a few practical climate protection skills. So in 1989 the concept for the “Environmental|Youth Hostels” was developed. Today, 19 youth hostels have been awarded this certificate. With their outstanding, continuously evolving programmes they contribute significantly to the development of climate friendly, socially responsible behaviour. This includes efficient use of energy, a healthy diet, organic food certificates, educational programmes as well as conservation of natural resources and regional involvement.
Youth hostels have taken a leading role when it comes to practical, sustainable activities. The range includes social educational programmes like anti-bullying-campaigns, courses for environmental education and the development of a sustainable business plan. Climate protection played an especially important role in the process of building and renovating our youth hostels: regenerative energy was used, thermal power stations, solar plants and wood burners were installed and the insulation was optimised, enabling us to actively protect the environment.
In 2012 alone we avoided 17.000 tonnes of CO2-emissions, thanks also to our CO2-neutral youth hostels in Brilon and Norderney. Recently the youth hostels in Lingen, Norddeich, Neuharlingersiel and Juist were awarded the certificate of CO2 Neutrality.
Our climate protection measures are combined with pedagogic educational offers, e.g. solar projects, CO2 neutral class trips, usage of organic produce and the implementation of Veggie-days.
To be continued
The jubilee in 2014 showed it again: What started with the first ideas for climate protection 25 years ago, has evolved into a full sustainability concept for the German Youth Hostel Association (DJH). An important goal of the youth hostels is to improve this concept even more in the coming years. With support from the DBU (German foundation for environmental issues) the German Youth Hostel Association (DJH) has acquired its own concept: economic, social and ecological key figures were identified and the relevant operating numbers were extrapolated. They were then combined to an “Index of Sustainability”, with which all our youth hostels can be compared in matters of sustainability.