ECED History

The ECED was formed in 1989 out of a desire for more dialogue and discussion pertaining to eating disorders. The ECED is an informal multidisciplinary network of people throughout Europe who work with eating disorder sufferers in a variety of contexts. After the first meeting in London, subsequent biennial meetings attracted an ever-increasing audience with professionals from all over Europe (and beyond) expressing interest in the format of ECED meetings.

In contrast to many “mass market conferences”, the focus of our Meeting is on dialogue, contact and interaction. Thus, debates in the tradition of good old parliamentarism, are the core format. Obviously, the scientific world language, nowadays English, may be a hindrance for non-native speakers. Thus, we would like to remind native speakers first to slow down in their own contributions and second to look on content, not form in non-native speaker; we would like to remind non-native speakers to be courageous.

Currently we meet every two years in a designated European city. Our next meeting will be in Leiden, the Netherlands, in September 2023.

Attendance is limited to some 250 delegates on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis. The format of our three-day general meetings usually involves some challenging and rigorous debates on the ‘hot’ topics of the world of eating disorders. Two speakers are invited to present widely opposing views and the audience is then invited to join in, after which a vote is taken on whether to accept or defeat the motion.

Apart from this there are several parallel sessions held with short presentations, followed by a discussion of the issues raised. Although the subjects presented may be research papers, they can also include some new innovations in theory or therapy presenters may wish to discuss with colleagues from a variety of professions and special-interest groups.

Eating Disorder Treatment in the Netherlands

The Netherlands (pop. 15,5 million) has universal health care. All Dutch mental health care is covered by (obligatory) health insurance, with a deductible of € 385 per year. Over 30 years ago, because of letters sent to the queen by concerned parents, the Ministry of Health stimulated the formation and growth of specialized eating disorder programs. Currently the Dutch Academy for Eating Disorders (NAE) unites 28 specialized ED programs across the country. Some are small, offering outpatient treatment only, others include multiple levels of care. Five ED centers are recognized by the Foundation for Top Clinical Mental Health Care (TOPGGz). In the past 3 years a steering committee (K-EET), subsidized by the Ministry of Health, was charged with specifically improving the care for children (up to 18 years old) with an ED. The focus of the committee was establishing and strengthening local networks of all professionals involved in the care for teens with ED.

Rivierduinen Eating Disorders Ursula

Rivierduinen Eating Disorders Ursula is the oldest (est. 1988) and largest specialized program for eating disorders in the Netherlands. We are situated in Leiden and, since 2008, we are recognized Foundation for Top Clinical Mental Health Care (TOPGGz). Our care has expanded to include e-health (,, outpatient-, day treatment, inpatient/residential treatment. We treat all ages, all genders, and all psychiatric eating disorders. The Ursula, as we call her, employs 130 professionals. At any given moment we have about 650 patients in care. Per year we treat approximately 1100 patients and families. Scientific research, and education are core activities in addition to treatment innovation and tertiary care.