In their process of development and growth most local ESN sections started to issue and sell membership cards to exchange students. Those cards were used to identify ESN members and give them discounts and access to parties, trips and other activities.
The history of the ESNcard began in Helsinki in 2004, when Christoph Graff, National Representative of Austria proposed to the Annual General Meeting of ESN to create an ESNcard for the ESN community. The idea was to create an ESNcard for the 60.000 student members of ESN, that would offer services to students that are travelling around Europe, thus enforcing the ESN spirit of cooperation.
In 2004/2005, the first year the ESNcard was distributed, only 6.650 ESNcards were sold in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Poland, Spain and Switzerland. The ESNcard, however, gained popularity quickly. In 2005/2006, 35.000 ESNcards were distributed in 15 countries and in 2006/2007, ESN issued 40.000 ESNcards in 20 countries. During the same period, the International Board, National Boards and Local Boards were developing their partnerships to offer more and more discounts to the students.
In 2010, 85.000 ESNcards were distributed and with new countries participating we reached the number of 100.000 ESNcards sold in 2011. At the end of 2010, ESN decided to develop the project further by creating a web platform where students can find all the discounts and services linked to the ESNcard across Europe. The ESNcard.org project started in 2011 and was developed by ESN and in cooperation with its partner Nuvole.
On 15th May 2012, the platform was launched and we are in the process of adding the hundreds of discounts and offers for students that we have across Europe. In the near future, ESNcard.org will also advertise all ESN events organized by the local sections and countries and will offer online registration.
Currently, the ESNcard is used in all 40 countries and around 140.000 cards are distributed every year.