Poster for the exhibition of the Royal Geographical Society Antwerp about maps, ethnology and shipping, 1902.

Poster for the Exhibition of the Royal Geographical Society Antwerp about maps, ethnography and shipping, 1902.

All historians agree that the Antwerp conference was a big success. It marked the beginning of a tradition, which still exists today, of holding conferences. Geography started its path to institutionalisation at that point. Only a few other sciences can pride themselves on such a long history of international meetings.

Geography in the 19th century was quite undefined. In Antwerp the first agreements were made; these got tuned at the following gatherings. The societies discussed for the first time matters of sub-local level with each other. There started to develop geographical movements in Europe. A dense network of new societies arose and spanned the entire continent.

The Conference committee developed in a Geographical Society in Belgium. All who were involved felt the need to work together and to carry out the idea of the Conference. It would lead to a long history of the Royal Antwerp Geographical Society, which will be addressed in the other chapters of this Exhibition.