Background information on IBO

For more than 50 years, IBO is organizing international youth encounters, peace services and help projects in Europe.

The Dutch padre Werenfried van Straaten founded the Bauorden / Bouworde in 1953. He motivated young men and students to help building new houses for refugees and expellees in war-devastated Germany. The housing shortage had to be eased. The first building camp took place from 6th to 18th of April1953 in Nienberge near Münster/Westphalia. 17 other relief actions were organized in Germany in the very same year. 600 “building compagnons” form four different nations came to help. In Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Hungary autonomous national IBO-organisations were created. They cooperate closely and together form the International Building Order (IBO). There are also contact offices of IBO in Poland and Czech Republic.

Together with its partners, IBO Germany organizes annually about 180 relief actions – building camps – in Europe. More than 350.000 students, pupils, trainees and craftsmen have so far helped as volunteers. The costs are covered to a large extent by donators. Building camps are a possibility for civic commitment and international encounter.

„I never forgot the German words for wheelbarrow, spirit level, trowel and pickaxe. And it seems hard to believe: in a small village in Germany I learnt the meaning of reconciliation, tolerance and Europe. For this I am grateful until today.“
Romano Prodi, former Italian prime minister and former president of the European Comission,
IBO volunteer in 1958