German Alpine Club

The German Alpine Club (German: Deutscher Alpenverein, DAV for short) is the world's largest climbing association, and the eighth-largest sports union in Germany. The Club is a member of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, and the responsible body for sport and competition climbing, hiking, mountaineering, hill walking, ice climbing, mountain expeditions, as well as ski mountaineering.

German Alpine Club
CategoryAmateur athletic association
Founded9 May 1869 (1869-05-09)
AffiliationInternational Federation of Sport Climbing
Regional affiliation358 sections [1]
PresidentJosef Klenner
Official website


The German Alpine Club was founded as Bildungsbürgerlicher Bergsteigerverein on 9 May 1869 in Munich by 36 former members of the Austrian Alpine Club around the Ötztal curate Franz Senn, in order to promote the tourist development of the Eastern Alps by the erection of mountain huts, hiking trails, and via ferratas. The association enjoyed a large clientele from the beginning, with a number of 1070 members after only 10 months.

The German and the Austrian societies merged in 1873 to form the German and Austrian Alpine Club (DÖAV). Already in the late 19th century, the association's policies were increasingly characterized by nationalism and antisemitism. In 1899 the Brandenburg section amended an "Aryan paragraph" to exclude non-Christian members, followed by the Vienna section in 1905 and the Alpine corporations of Vienna and Munich in 1907 and 1910. After World War I, the Jewish associates like Viktor Frankl and Fred Zinnemann (adding up to about one third of the membership) were banned in most of the sections and in turn established a separate Donauland section insisting on their DÖAV fellowship. The Donauland members were officially ousted in 1924. Jews were even banned from visiting the DÖAV mountain huts.[2]

Upon the 1938 Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany, the DÖAV was renamed Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV) under the leadership of Arthur Seyss-Inquart and incorporated as mountaineering division of the Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (National Socialist League of the Reich for Physical Exercise) organization. After World War II, the DAV was dissolved by the Allied authorities. Its assets were held by the Austrian Alpine Club as trustee.

The German Alpine Club was re-established in 1952. It joined the Deutscher Sportbund organization in 1992. After leaving the Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme in 2008, mainly due to differences in respecting both competitions and recreational sports, the German and Austrian Alpine Clubs rejoined the Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme in 2013.


The DAV is an umbrella organization of 358 legally independent regional sections with a total of around 1,3 million [1] members. Every section is a registered voluntary association (Eingetragener Verein, e.V.) in its own right; it exclusively admits to membership. The collective body of the sections is represented by the general assembly, association council, and presidium.

Main task of the Club is the maintenance of mountain huts. The sections currently provide 321 alpine club huts [1] to hikers and mountaineers, as well as 207 indoor climbing gyms [1]. The DAV publishes Alpine Club maps and the Alpine Club Guides in cooperation with Bergverlag Rother, organises hillwalks and alpine style tours, has mountaineering equipment available and arranges collective insurances. It also runs the Alpine Museum on Prater Island in Munich. In recent years, the Club's policies have turned to habitat conservation of fauna and flora of the Alps.


  1. DAV in Zahlen (in German)
  2. Helmuth Zebhauser: Alpinismus im Hitlerstaat, München 1998, ISBN 978-3-7633-8102-9. Neueres zum Antisemitismus des Vereins in Panorama. Mitteilungsblatt des DAV Heft 1/2007, S. 60–62, von Nicholas Mailänder, siehe Weblinks: Donaulandaffäre (in German)


  • Anneliese Gidl: Alpenverein. Die Städter entdecken die Alpen. Der Deutsche und Österreichische Alpenverein von der Gründung bis zum Ende des Ersten Weltkrieges. Böhlau, Wien u. a. 2007, ISBN 978-3-205-77668-0. (Rezension)
  • Holt, Lee Wallace. Mountains, Mountaineering and Modernity: A Cultural History of German and Austrian Mountaineering, 1900-1945. ProQuest, 2008.
  • Nicholas Mailänder: Im Zeichen des Edelweiß. Die Geschichte Münchens als Bergsteigerstadt. Zürich 2006.
  • Rainer Amstädter: Der Alpinismus. Kultur, Organisation, Politik. Wien 1996.
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