The history of the IAH Netherlands Chapter

Mr. Erik Romijn, past president of IAH, wrote a few lines about the history of IAH and IAH’s Dutch Chapter.


About IAH
The International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) is a nongovernmental scientific charity company affiliated to the International Union of Geological Sciences. The objectives of IAH are to advance public education and to promote research in the study and knowledge of hydrogeological science and to disseminate useful results. Although IAH is an association of individuals, formation of national or regional groups is encouraged in order to facilitate the administration and promote contacts and co-operation with sister groups.

The IAH has been founded in 1956 during the XXth session of the International Geological Congress in Mexico, where Paul Fourmarier (Liège) was elected as president and Louis Dubertret (Paris) as secretary-general. Since the first discussions concerning IAH in Algiers (1952) 260 scientists of 35 countries had adhered to IAH. About 16 working themes had been formulated – ranging from mineral and thermal waters to mine-water problems – of which 5 were chosen to start with: groundwater resources, hydrogeology and civil engineering, karstic terrains, hydrogeological mapping and research methods. International working groups were set up to produce reports or organise symposia on the chosen subjects. In 1975 membership of IAH had grown to about 2000. A more efficient organisation was needed and new statutes had to be formulated. After the reorganisation of 1998, IAH developed into a modern association with about 4000 members, keeping however its informal character.


The Netherlands National Committee for IAH
The National Committee started in 1972 when IAH counted only few Dutch members. The Committee was established on the initiative of the Hydrologische Kring (Hydrological Circle), a subgroup of the Royal Geological and Mining Society of the Netherlands. The Hydrological Circle was open to scientists belonging to other scientific organisations interested in groundwater, such as agronomists, civil engineers, ecologists, geochemists, geographers or soil scientists.

During the opening session in 1970, the Hydrological Circle elected Mr Caesar Voûte, an early member of IAH, as president and Mr Erik Romijn as a secretary; together they formed the first Dutch National Committee (NC) for IAH. After Mr Hubert van Waegeningh had taken over the secretariat of the NC in 1975, membership of the Dutch IAH group grew quickly.

At the same time the Hydrological Circle had grown to about 250 members in the 1970s and was on its way to become an independent society, the Netherlands Hydrological Society (NHV), which was founded in 1990. But at that time the IAH Council was aiming at a more direct control of both national committees and groups so it proved to be impossible to incorporate the NC IAH within the NHV. Therefore a provisional executive for the NC was formed with Erik Romijn as chairman and Hubert van Waegeningh as secretary-treasurer. They were to formulate new NC statutes.

To boost Dutch activities with respect to IAH, the provisional NC organised the «International Symposium on Remote Sensing and Water Resources» in 1990 at ITC, Enschede, and in 1994 the symposium «Netherlands Hydrological Research in International Cooperation» at IHE, Delft, in which also NHV, amongst others, participated, thus setting the scene for future co-operation with other societies. A definite executive of the NC IAH was elected in 1998. The Netherlands Institute of Applied Geosciences (TNO) and now Deltares has been willing to support the NC by hosting the secretariat, much to the advantage of the Netherlands National Committee for IAH.