The founding of the European Society for Paediatric Nephrology (ESPN) in 1967 was the milestone for pediatric nephrology in Europe. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, more than 2,000 European pediatricians in 46 European countries work in the field of pediatric nephrology, and approximately 500 of these meet regularly at the annual ESPN meetings. Half of these 2,000 pediatricians work in about 200 specialized pediatric nephrology centers in tertiary care units, whereas the other half work in secondary pediatric care, with a special interest in common renal diseases. In this article the founding and early years of the ESPN are outlined and include the structure of the first ten annual ESPN meetings from 1967-1976. Historical reports are given by five pioneers who were first-hand witnesses of the development of pediatric renal care in Europe.