Occupational medicine is affected to a much greater extent by national legal and social conditions than by clinical issues. The different preconditions specific to each country serve to restrict the scientific dialogue on issues of occupational medicine. Therefore, in this paper are described the organisation and the under- and postgraduate education of occupational medicine in Germany and other European countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, United Kingdom). In summary one can state that in many member states of the EU there is a lack of undergraduate training in occupational medicine for students and there are distinct systems for the postgraduate training and assessment of occupational physicians. The practice of occupational medicine in the EU countries probably has many similarities. The responsibilities of occupational physicians are rather comparable, though in some countries the approaches of occupational medical prevention and the interest in evaluating the structure, process and outcome of many of the activities of occupational medicine seem to recede something into the background.