Previous History that led to the foundation of the EFNS

In 1955, having obtained the status of a neutral country, Austria was able to invite neurologists and psychiatrists from Central and East-European countries, occupied by the Soviet Army. In 1962, the foundation of the “Danube-Symposia for Neurology” took place.

In 1986, during the first business meeting of the Danube-Neurology, Professor M. Wender of Poznan, Poland, proposed a unified European Neurological Society. Professor Daniel Bartko, President of the Czechoslovakian Neurological Society picked up on this idea and in 1989 organised a PAN-European congress for neurology in Prague with around 1,500 attendants.

The first European Congress of Neurology, which was at the same time the 2nd PAN-European Congress as well as the 1st EFNS Congress, took place in Vienna in 1991 (December). Its location was the “Wiener Hofburg”, and the President was Professor Franz Gerstenbrand. The main principles for both the elaboration of the programme and the invitation of speakers were to select highly qualified speakers for excellent topics. The speakers were invited from all over Europe to Vienna, as well as from the United States. As a representative of the AAN Dr. Antonio Culebras, and from the Soviet Union Professor Batalian, came to Vienna. In his welcoming speech Professor Gerstenbrand announced the foundation of a European Federation of Neurological Societies. During one of the final meetings, everybody jointly agreed to this introduction.

Lord John Walton and Professor Franz Gerstenbrand suggested establishing the European Society as a Federation of European National Neurological Societies, with a Council of Delegates consisting of representatives of each national European society. All details regarding the President and President elect were arranged, as well as the role of a Management Committee. Dr. Friederike Tschabitscher was in charge of handling the secretariat with its office in Vienna.

It was decided that the congress should be held annually, which was not an easy task to realize in the early stages of the EFNS. Professor Einhäupl agreed to host a meeting in 1993 in Berlin, Germany and Professor Wender 1994 in Poznan, Polan

The next so called “first EFNS congress” was held in Marseille, organised by the Congress President Professor Serratrice.

Under the office guidance of Dr. Friederike Tschabitscher multiple business-meetings were held in Vienna, and during one of these Professor Richard Godwin-Austen designed today’s logo of the EFNS. Since the shared office space with the Austrian Society of Neurology and Psychiatry got too cramped, the EFNS office, organised by Dr. Tschabitscher and her co-worker Elisabeth Müller, moved to the University Campus, in the vicinity of the “Wiener Medizinische Akademie” (WMA) and rented their own office space.

Ever since the first European Neurology Congress in Vienna in 1991, the structure and constitution of the EFNS was accomplished by the loyal and solid teamwork of Professor Gerstenbrand, Dr. Tschabitscher and the Management Committee and the well directed framework of Professor Jes Olesen. During Professor Olesen’s presidency many more different committees were set up, all the while the EFNS was designed as a model for neurological organisations. Attempts to co-operate with the already existing ENS were not continued by their officers/members in charge.

  Franz Gerstenbrand, Austria