The Federation of German Mountain and Hiking Clubs - in short: Deutscher Wanderverband (DWV) - is the umbrella organisation of 58 (as of February 2021) regional member organisations with around 600,000 members in more than 3,000 local groups.
The associations organized under the DWV umbrella offer guided hikes for young and old, maintain hiking trails and hiking shelters, publish hiking literature and maps, are committed to regional culture, cultivate customs, carry out practical nature conservation work and offer a variety of programs for everyone who likes to be outdoors. Young people who enjoy hiking and are members of one of our hiking clubs are represented by our youth organisation, the Deutsche Wanderjugend.
The German Ramblers' Association has asked its member clubs about the hours of voluntary work they do in all specialist areas. The result: the associations perform seven million hours of work annually across the entire spectrum of association activities. One million hours are spent on nature conservation alone. Our 20,000 volunteer trail wardens look after more than 200,000 kilometres of the estimated 300,000 to 400,000 kilometres of hiking trails in Germany. 7.500 DWV Hiking Guides® (as of January 2021) offer hikes for more than two million citizens each year.
As an umbrella organisation, the DWV represents the German mountain and hiking clubs on a supra-regional level and sees itself as representing the interests of all hikers. The DWV is a member of many nationwide organisations and committees, for example the German Tourism Association, the Association of German Nature Parks and the German Nature Conservation Ring.
The DWV ensures quality in hiking, issues guidelines for marking hiking trails, offers conferences, seminars and further training, trains hiking guides and created objective quality criteria for hiking tourism offers with "Wanderbares Deutschland", which are certified by the DWV. With the quality seals "Qualitätsregion Wanderbares Deutschland", "Qualitätsweg Wanderbares Deutschland" and "Qualitätsgastgeber Wanderbares Deutschland", the DWV has created three quality brands that are recognised throughout Germany and guarantee hiking enjoyment.
Once a year, DWV organizes the German Hiking Day together with a member club and regional partners. Around 30,000 visitors come to this largest German hiking festival every year. Likewise, the 14th of May - Day of Hiking is due to an initiative of the DWV.
The members of the clubs organized in the German Hiking Association (among others) get:
discounted accommodation in around 150 hiking hostels,
reduced book and magazine prices,
the recognition of hiking as a health precaution in the bonus programmes of over 60 health insurance companies,
the German Hiking Badge including certificate (with appropriately documented achievements),
Advertising opportunities on www.deutsches-wanderabzeichen.de,
The NatursportPlaner software for planning and maintaining infrastructure such as hiking trails at favourable conditions,
Brochures on topics such as nature on the wayside, marking guidelines and family hiking,
Production of the magazine Ferienwandern with nationwide and Europe-wide hiking offers including the free publication of (voluntary) guided hikes,
Advice on sample contracts, traffic safety and travel law, among other things.
Last but not least, DWV advises on awards and also awards them itself: The Eichendorff Plaque, for example, awarded by the Federal President, is the highest award for associations with regard to the topics of nature, homeland and hiking (more details on the awarding of the Eichendorff Plaque can be found here).
The German Ramblers' Association prepares the awarding of this badge and participates in the corresponding recommendation committee. Also a high honour is the silver and gold badge of honour for deserving club members as well as the award of the Karl Carstens Medal, with which the federation honours people who promote the hiking movement supra-regionally.
A comprehensive presentation of the German Ramblers' Association, its history and main areas of work as well as its member clubs is given in our publication "125 Years of Rambling and More".