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History

Danish Society for Parasitology was founded in Copenhagen the 17. April 1972 at a meeting where Professor W. Peters from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine held a lecture. Here the first board was elected: The zoologists, Jørn Andreassen (President) and Holger Madsen († 1991), the veterinarians, Erling Bindseil (Secretary and Treasurer) and Peter Nansen (Vice-president, † 1999) and the doctors, Jørgen Chr. Siim and Torben Bille.

Two years previously Jørn Andreassen and Holger Madsen at the Zoological Laboratory, University of Copenhagen had started scientific meetings at the laboratory. Medical people, veterinarians and zoologists interested in parasitology were invited to participate. Six meetings each with around twenty participants – sometimes from Southern Sweden - were held between April 1970 and November 1971 before the Society was founded. After each meeting something to eat and drink was served.

Although started by zoologists it was decided that the Society – like the Scandinavian Society for Parasitology founded in 1967 – should have board members from the three subjects; medicine, veterinary medicine and zoology, and we still have two from each subject.

That a small country, like Denmark could start her own Society for Parasitology – while none of the other Scandinavian countries have done it – and it is still alive, have certainly several reasons.

1) Denmark is a small country, but more important nearly all persons interested in parasitology were – and still are – working in and around the capital of Copenhagen. Therefore, arrangements of regular evening meetings with invited or local lecturers were possible. Not only the research and teaching institutions like The University of Copenhagen (Zoology and Medicine) and The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (Veterinary medicine), but also the applied research institutions such as The Danish Bilharziasis Laboratory, The State Serum Institute, The Veterinary Serum Laboratory, The Copenhagen University Hospital and The Danish Pest Infestation Laboratory contributed to the success.

2) An increasing number of biology students and the establishment of courses in parasitology at the university probably also contributed to the success.

3) The increased awareness of the importance of parasites in human and veterinary medicine – especially in the tropics - resulted in a number of applied projects involving parasites. These projects attracted the students and after graduation gave them an income for a number of years.

Until 1980 the society was associated to The Danish Society of Pathology, which resulted in more participants to the meetings from the members of this society. Since 1980 the society has been in close contact with The Danish Society of Tropical Medicine and International Health and the two societies have jointly continued the one-day Spring-Symposium started in 1974. They were arranged every second year in the beginning but since 1980 they have been arranged every year.