authors: Dirk Van Gysel, Rudolf Happle

Paediatric dermatology is a relatively new subdiscipline of dermatology and Paediatrics. 
Official recognition of Paediatric dermatology started in 1972 in Mexico, where the International Society for Pediatric Dermatology was founded by Ramón Ruiz-Maldonado. In 1975 the Society for Pediatric Dermatology was founded in the USA.

The history of the European Society for Paediatric Dermatology goes back to 1983. During the 3 rd International Congress for Paediatric Dermatology on 30 April 1983, in Monte Carlo, a group of 40 doctors met on the initiative of Marc Larrègue who had the idea to create the European Society of Paediatric Dermatology. Rudolf Happle and Edourad Grosshans were asked to draft the statutes of the Society and organize a founding meeting for this new scientific association. This gathering took place on 4 June 1983 in Brussels during the “XVIIe Congrès de l’Association des Dermatologistes et Syphiligraphes de Langue Française”, where the ‘European Society for Pediatric Dermatology’ was officially created (founding members see Table 1). 

The members of the first Executive Board were: Rudolf Happle as President, Edouard Grosshans as Secretary and Jean-Hilaire Saurat as Treasurer. One of the major issues at that time was the creation of an ESPD logo. The present logo was designed by R. Happle and appeared on the announcement of the 1st ESPD congress in Münster/Westfalen, Germany, held in October 1984.
Because E. Grosshans, professor of dermatology at the university of Strasbourg, was the first secretary of the ESPD, the statutes were originally written in French and inscribed on 26 June 1985 in the “registre des associations du Tribunal d’Instance de Strasbourg” as Société Européenne de Dermatologie Pédiatrique -E.S.P.D. (European Society of Pediatric Dermatology) à 67091 Strasbourg Cedex; 1, place de l’Hôpital; Clinique Dermatologique.
Professor Happle had planned the first ESPD Congress in Münster to be held in English. As a consequence, the French colleagues declared that they were unfortunately unable to attend. Therefore, the organizing committee accepted also French, which meant that, in addition, they had to accept German in Münster. In this way, most of the money offered by the sponsoring pharmaceutical companies was used to provide a perfect trilingual simultaneous translation. Thus, the catering became more frugal than originally planned. The next two congresses in Bari and Bordeaux were bilingual, and all of the following meetings were exclusively in English.

Initially the initiatives of the ESPD were limited to the organization of a 3-yearly congress. These congresses were a huge success and the need for more was felt. From 2008 on an ESPD congress and an ESPD summer school were organized every other year, and as of 2017, the ESPD started a new tradition of Annual Meetings ( host cities see Table 2). 

Apart from organizing the ESPD meetings, the ESPD has become increasingly important in guiding and supporting Paediatric dermatology in Europe and further afield. Due to the efforts of all former board and executive board members (former executive board members cfr table 3) the ESPD nowadays represents both a hub of clinical excellence and a focus of social interaction.  This combination has given rise to vital exchange of clinical expertise, important research collaborations and long-term friendships.  Ultimately the ESPD benefits all children with skin disease.  


R. Baran (France)
E. Bonifazi (Italy)
M. de la Brassine (Belgium)
Y. de Prost (France)
G. Fabrizi (Italy)
R. Happle (Germany)
J. Harper (UK)
J. Chevrant-Breton (France)
M. Larrègue (France)
J. Maleville (France)
M. F. Mealha (Portugal)
A. Oranje (The Netherlands)
M. Song (Belgium)
H. Traupe (Germany)
D. Wallach (France)

ESPD events from 1984 until present

Some pivotal events and dates in the history of the ESPD

Organisational issues:


  • original version in French on 05/10/1984
  • translation into English and first adaptations in 2008; major revision in 2020

Internal rules created in order to clarify and  interpret  how  the  principles  and  statements  outlined  in  the Statutes should be put  into practice. 

  • agreement on the first version prepared in 2015; adaptations in 2017 and 2020

Scientific engagements/issues:

  • ESPD partnership with the EADV and ISPD, with sister society meetings and joint meetings
  • Paediatric Dermatology (from 2005) and European Journal of Paediatric Dermatology (from 2008) adopted as journals of the ESPD
  • Creation of ESPD Mentorship Scheme in 2016
  • Launch of the SciESPD website pages in 2020
  • Start of ESPD Experts Lecture series 2020
  • Paediatric dermatology training and certification: first initiative in 2004; first working group in 2006; efforts intensified from 2019; finalized in 2021

As of 2017, ESPD has started a new tradition of Annual Meetings, the upcoming event will thus be the 22nd ESPD Annual Meeting in Málaga, Spain, during 4 - 6 May 2023.




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