In March 1989 at the meeting of the WSAVA at Harrogate a group of 26 veterinarians agreed that there was a need for veterinary specialization of high standard in Europe. A working party was then formed which lead to the formation of the European Association for Veterinary Specialization. Eventually, a report on the structure of veterinary specialization was accepted by the Advisory Committee on Veterinary Training of the EU in 1992. During this period it was realized that although there were societies for disciplines such as neurology, cardiology and nephrology, there was no society on veterinary internal medicine.
In the beginning of 1990 Prof Ad Rijnberk (Utrecht, NL) started to organize a steering committee (Peter E Holt, Hans W de Vries, Erik Teske, Chris Gaskell, Ad Rijnberk, Peter Suter, Ake Hedhammer, Eduardo Vitalli, Philip Moreau and Ingo Nolte, see Fig 1), which met in the weekend of October 12-14, 1990, on the clipper ‘Marie Galante’ (see Fig 2) on the IJsselmeer in the Netherlands.
The idea to have this steering meeting on a sailboat on the IJsselmeer was of Hans de Vries. This was not without danger. It can be very stormy on the IJsselmeer (an inner-sea of the Netherlands) especially in October-November. If that would have been the case in that weekend than it is questionable if the ESVIM was ever founded. However, it turned out to be two sunny days without any wind, much to the displeasure of the sailor Hans de Vries, but to the relief of all other participants!
On April 20, 1991, during the Voorjaarsdagen congress in Amsterdam the European Society of Veterinary Internal Medicine was formed. The first Board of the ESVIM was formed by Ad Rijnberk (president), Hans de Vries (secretary), and Ake Hedhammer (treasurer).
Also during the next two years the ESVIM congress was held as a parallel congress during the WSAVA congresses in Rome and Berlin. Only in 1994 for the very first time a separate and independent ESVIM congress was held. This was organized by Cécile Clercx. Although the congress was a great success, financially it was a disaster. It was decided by the ESVIM Board that from than on the congresses should be organized at a lower profile, though still at a high specialty level. The year after it was organized in Cambridge where the participants and speakers were housed in the student lodges and had to share toilet and shower.
The congress was a great success, not only scientific, but also on a social level: From than on the ESVIM congresses were all organized at Veterinary faculties.
Initially the scientific congresses were held during the ESVIM Annual Congress, in which all kind of different internal medicine related discipline Societies participated. From 2002 on the ESVIM Congress transformed into the ECVIM-CA Annual Congress. The organizers of these congresses have always been able to maintain a high standard of presentations during all these years and did not give in to the pressure of making more money by lowering the standard and attracting more practitioners. All the different societies still participate in the organization of this annual congress.