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Our history

The founding phase

Fall/winter 1981:
The youth initiative 'Insel' starts a petition for an autonomous youth center in Graz. Approx. 1,000 signatures are submitted to the responsible regional politicians.

Spring 1982: The signatures collected in the districts of Jakomini and St. Leonhard are used to launch an autonomous youth center. Young people are invited to a meeting, and there is a proposal to find a location. Few youths are interested. Nikolaus Lallitsch is the only participant, except for the representatives of political parties. Together with Eva-Maria Fluch, he initiates the founding of a registered association. One important demand of the young people is that political parties should not get involved in youth matters.
"Young people must find out for themselves whether they are interested in this kind of project at all", said Günter Dorflinger as well. Only after a really active group has formed, the parties' representatives are willing to provide the required support.

July 15, 1982:
Finally, the association 'Youth Meeting Place Dietrichskeusch'n' is officially founded.


November 17, 1983:
For more than a year, a group of young people has been refurbishing the former "Red Cross House" on the Dietrichsteinplatz so that the building can shine in new splendor. The biggest part was done by the Graz magistrate. Mildewed walls were renovated, and foundations renewed. Then the apprentices, pupils and students get busy, and the old dilapitated house becomes a quite comfortable "youth nest" which is open for all young people.
Plans made during the initial euphoria (coaching of pupils by pupils, daily events) turn out to be illusionary, however, the Dietrichskeusch'n has quite a lot to offer. A pastime for commuting youths who wait for their busses on Dietrichsteinplatz, music played on a rickety stereo system, or simply a chat with friends at tables and on old sofas which were received as gifts.
The realm of Dietrichskeusch'n is not large, however, the youths are proud of their own work. "Small, but ours", says Peter Exenberger, the new chairman of the association. Rudi Haberl and Bernd Hanfstingl continue supporting him.

1983/84:
Members of a motorcycle club take up a lot of space, the original youths are pushed back, which repeatedly leads to conflicts.
In 1985, the "Youth Year", there are the first big obstacles to overcome. The executive board changes several times, and twice there is the danger of eviction by the city of Graz. In March, the ceiling collapses – luckily, there is only material damage – and the association's rooms must be closed temporarily. After the renovation, there is a restart on Oct. 1, 1985. With the help of a social worker who is employed for one year, the center can just make ends meet. On Oct. 1, 1987, Andreas Flach starts as a full employee. He contributes new ideas and proposes another phase of renovating. After the work is finished, there is another restart.
New: a youth culture café (to counteract the 'cheap alcohol' image). In December, a new team is formed and the youth meeting place is reorganized, with an emphasis on responsibility and initiative by the young people themselves, and the rooms are open daily. Biweekly meetings of the members provide a platform for collecting and coordinating ideas, and for discussing the general contents and specific programs.
"We want to enable recreational activities for youths, and promote democratic communication with each other (and also with others) as well as active participation of youths in social, political and, above all, cultural matters." (Extract from the minutes of the inaugural meeting on July 15, 1982)




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