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IEEE Benelux Section History

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Background

The Benelux Section was the “First Section to be established in Europe, and the only section to cover more than one country!”  It is located in Region 8.  Thanks to Bruce Barrow for the material.

EOI

Letter 16th March 1959 to IRE, Signed by Bruce B. Barrow, Pierre Bartholomé, Edmund B. Staples, H. Paul Williams.


"A number of us who are employed at SADTC (from 5 countries) are convinced that there would be considerable advantage to the IRE and its members in this part of Europe, if a Section of the IRE were formally organized here.
Some prominent Dutch engineers, Mr. Rinia in particular, have indicated enthusiastic support for such an idea as well.
Proposal: Benelux Section embracing Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg 10 signatures can be obtained quickly within The Hague alone. What are the special difficulties encountered in establishing Sections outside North America? One of our important goals is to stimulate some student activity in the Benelux.

Dutch physicist Balthasar van der Pol provided support and agreement to the formation of the Benelux Section, however, he never got to attend any meeting due to his poor health at that time.

Approval

30 March 1959 : Petition to the Board of Directors IRE to form an IRE Section to include the territory of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg
13 May 1959 : Approval by the Board of Directors
22 June 1959 : Nomination of Section officers at meeting at SHAPE Air Defense Technical Center, Den Haag


Chair, Herre Rinia, Fellow IRE, Former Vice-president IRE, Director of Research Philips Research Laboratories


Vice-chair, Vitold Belevitch, Senior member IRE, Director Comite d´Etude et d´Exploitation des Calculateurs Electroniques, Bruxelles
Secretary / Treasurer, Bruce B. Barrow, Member IRE, Scientist Treasurer SHAPE Air Defense Technical Center, Den Haag

Meetings

First ExCom meeting 17 August 1959, 

  • Forms of co-operation with local societies (N.R.G, KIVI, S.I.T.E.L):
  • “One of cooperation and not of competition”
  • To establish a Chapter of the Professional Group on Information Theory “because of the IT-Symposium in Europe (Benelux) in 1962”. Full support to Dr. Stumpers
  • To organize a visit to s.s. Rotterdam, the new flagship of the Holland/America line, through Mr. C.B. Broersma, Managing Director Radio/Holland
  • Initial technical focus: Computers, Network Theory (Belevitch, Tellegen), Audio, Information Theory, Radio Astronomy

First Benelux Section Meeting 3 October 1959

Held at Rotterdam offices of Radio-Holland, Attended by 75 members and guests
Luncheon address by Dr. Lloyd V. Berkner, President of U.R.S.I. and an IRE Director International character of I.R.E.
Interest in promoting contact among radio engineers from all lands, Visit to ss Rotterdam, new flagship of Holland-America Line.

Problems

Letter from Bruce Barrow to friend in Switzerland regarding the formation of a Swiss (Geneva) Section:

  • Our trickiest problem:  Cooperation, maintaining friendly relations with the local societies
  • Second problem: which language to choose?

English as a common language (fine in Holland)
Belgian members prefer to use French! - Experiment: “Offering a simultaneous translation (provided from Philips) into English for our French speakers”.

Some uneasiness about the proposed merger of AIEE and IRE. Rinia: “Will it take a true international point of view?”
Starting point of discussions about a European Region.

European membership as of December 1961:
IRE 1881 Benelux 180
AIEE 734 Benelux 49