Short History of the Society


Short history of the Society 

(compiled by Claude Lièbecq and Fred Opperdoes)


The Belgian Biochemical Society was created at the initiative of Marcel Florkin to enable a Belgian society to join the newly proposed International Union of Biochemistry. On the 15th of September 1951, Edouard J. Bigwood, Jean Brachet, Christian de Duve, Marcel Florkin, Lucien Massart, Paul Putzeys, Laurent Vandendriessche and Claude Lièbecq drafted the statutes of the society on principles similar to those of the Belgian Physiological Society. They were approved by the first general assembly held at the University Foundation in Brussels on the 12th of January 1952. The assembly elected Marcel Florkin as president and Claude Lièbecq as secretary and treasurer.

It also decided to pre-circulate the abstracts of communications (subsequently published in the Archives Internationales de Physiologie, soon renamed Archives Internationale de Physiologie et de Biochimie, now Archives Internationales de Physiologie, de Biochimie et de Biophysigue) and to participate in the creation of the International Union of Biochemistry.

The first scientific meeting of our society took place on the 8th of March 1952 and was chaired by Christian de Duve. It was a joint meeting with the French Société de Chimie Biologique.


In 1955 our Society organized of the 3rd International congress of Biochemistry, which was held in Brussels. The organizing committee consisted almost entirely of the members of the board of our Society. Click here for photos


The 10th anniversary of our society was celebrated in 1962 at a joint meeting with the (British) Biochemical Society in the presence of delegates of the Dutch and French biochemical societies.


Two members of the Society, Albert Claude and Christian de Duve have been awarded the Nobel Prize in 1974.


When the society celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1977, it had organized exactly 100 scientific meetings, with more than 3000 communications, read or presented as posters, and about 100 lectures of general interest. At that time the society had about 700 members; it had elected nine honorary members, all deceased now: Edwin J. Cohn, Carl F. Cori, Gerty T. Cori, Jean E. Courtois, Claude Fromageot, Sir Charles Harington, Kai U. Linderstrom-Lang, Stanford Moore and Albert Szent-Györgyi who had all helped many of our members of our society.


At the 50th anniversary, the Society has close to 1000 members. Until today 182 meetings have taken place. The communications presented in the last 20 years are so numerous that they must now all be presented as posters. There are between 30-80 posters per meeting, all in English; this is more than ever. The recent meetings are often organized around a specific theme and lectures of general interest usually open and close the sessions.

Recently the Society has entered the information technology age: in 1999 a Society website was created and since 2000 all abstracts are being published in electronic form on the web before the meeting takes place. On the request of our members as the outcome of a referendum publication of the abstracts in the "Archives " has been abandoned and communication with our members now mainly takes place via a newly created e-mail list.


A new general board takes office. The board is greateful for all the efforts of Prof. Fred Opperdoes, secretary of the society during the past 17 years. New member as well as a new secretary take office.


February 13. A new website is launched.


Retrieve an Acrobat PDF file (40 Kbytes) containing an opening address by Claude Lièbecq on the occasion of the Society's 40th anniversary describing its history from 1952-1992.

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