VJH, in a nutshell
The Vlaamse Jeugdherbergen vzw (Flemish Youth Hostels), VJH for short, is the umbrella organisation for 23 youth hostels in Flanders. The non-profit organisation was founded in 1931 and is also co-founder of Hostelling International, the largest network of youth hostels in the world. You have the world at your feet!
The s in hostel
Hang those old musty stereotypes out to dry: contemporary hostels offer a whole lot more comfort than in the past. Rooms ranging from 2 to 6 beds are the norm and most have their own bathrooms. In addition to shared rooms, now you can also opt for a private room. Young people, groups and families are all right at home.
So what is it that distinguishes us from a budget hotel? The difference lies in the “s” in hostel. The s found in social and atmosphere. Everything is a lot more relaxed and guests are more than happy to engage in a friendly chat. They don’t shut themselves up in their rooms, instead being chiefly interested in exploring the surroundings. They aren’t interested in excessive pampering or the price tag that comes with it: they just want a comfortable room. No nonsense!
Travel has been our business for over 85 years, but youth hostels are about so much more than just providing a bed or a room. For us, travel is about human encounters between people and the discovery of new places, flavours and cultures. We are convinced that travel is a right for everyone, regardless of age, origin, income or any disability whatsoever.
All over the world, hostels have one mission in mind: providing everyone with the opportunity to travel and discover the world, by offering high-quality and budget-friendly overnight stays where safety and affability are the priority. We dream of hostels where everyone not only is welcome but also feels welcome.
The youth hostel concept came into being at the start of the 20th century in Germany, to give children of the working class the opportunity to relax. It wasn’t long before youth hostels quickly caught on in other European countries too. In Belgium, the first Flemish youth hostel opened its doors in 1931. A year later, VJH took part in the first international conference of the International Youth Hostel Federation (currently Hostelling International), establishing international agreements and quality standards.
It goes without saying that a hundred years down the road, a lot has changed. With the internationalisation of the concept, the original educational approach largely disappeared from the picture with greater emphasis being put on experiencing nature, making international contacts and building bridges between cultures. Although young people remain our main target group, everyone is welcome at our youth hostels: young and old, in groups or as an individual.
Working together as a network makes us stronger
The non-profit manages 16 of its own youth hostels in Flanders, in the Belgian capital of Brussels and in St. Vith. On top of that, 7 more hostels are also connected to the VJH network.
Furthermore, VJH is also a support point, in particular, for VISITFLANDERS accredited hostels. That’s why we also offer our expertise and support at start-up and during operations to hostels operating outside our network.