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The Dutch Society of Pathology is long established and provides high quality educational opportunities for home based pathologists, many of whom are also members of the BDIAP.

Dutch Pathology and the BDIAP - A brief history

The International Academy of Pathology (IAP) was reactivated in 1955 by Dr F. Kash Mostofi and colleagues mainly in the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) in Washington out of the ashes of the IAMM (International Association of Medical Museums) which was started by Maud Abbott in 1913 in Montreal. At that time it was composed almost entirely of pathologists from North America despite the ‘International’ title so Professor George Cunningham was asked to be the European representative on the Council.

He organised the first International meeting of the IAP outside North America in London in 1960. It was semi-official but deemed a great success, attended by about 400 delegates, some of whom would undoubtedly have been from the Netherlands. At the same time there were links between the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland (PathSoc) and the Dutch Pathological Society with joint meetings.

Dr HE SchornagelThe British Division of the IAP (BDIAP) was then founded in 1961 by George Cunningham and it seems that some Dutch pathologists attended scientific meetings. The first reference to a Dutch pathologist in the minutes is in March 1964 when Dr HE Schornagel was co-opted onto Council. Next, at the Council meeting in December 1965, it is noted that Prof T Vossenaar had invited the BDIAP to hold its first scientific meeting outside the United Kingdom in the Spring of 1967 in Utrecht. It appears that both Schornagel and Vossenaar were involved in the organisation of the Utrecht meeting which was considered a success. 

From 1968 it was decided that there would always be a Councillor representing the associated countries, which also included Belgium and the Republic of Ireland. The next reference in the minutes to a Dutch pathologist is in 1974 when Prof TG Van Rijssel proposed a meeting in Spring 1975 in Leiden. Professor Henk van der Schoot was elected to Council in 1976 and contributed actively to the development of the links with the British Division, culminating in his period as President in 1987-88. In the early 80's Dr FC Kuipers from Rotterdam was on Council. In May 1983 Prof R O van der Heul organised a Soft Tissue meeting in Rotterdam. 

In the 1990’s the most prominent Dutch member of Council was Professor Jan van den Tweel from Utrecht who was subsequently president in 2003-04 and who very sadly died earlier this year. Among his great achievements was the organisation and delivery with colleagues from the British Division of the highly successful XXIV Congress of the IAP in Amsterdam in 2002 at the RAI attended by over 2000 pathologists from around the world.

In the 2000’s onwards, Professor Chris Meijer from Amsterdam succeeded Jan van den Tweel on Council and he has been followed by Professor Paul van der Valk from Amsterdam, Dr Michael den Bakker from Rotterdam and now Dr Jan von Thüsen from Rotterdam. Relations with Dutch pathology are very positive and there are plans for regular participation in meetings with the National Society with contributions from members of the British Division in Special Symposia.

Prof Ray McMahon, Past President BDIAP, May 2020