BSW 2021 Lookout

                                                                         Brussels, 16th December 2020.

Dear all,

2020 has been a horrendous year, no doubt about that.

Our life has been put on hold in a blink. The frailty of our whole society has been brutally exposed. Everything we took for granted has been questioned. One million and a half lives -and counting- have been lost while virologists, epidemiologists, politicians, real and would-be experts kept on quarrelling about the necessary measures.

Our social life has been reduced to nothing and more than ever, the threat of economical tragedies is lurking around the corner.

We thought we did rather well after having controlled the first wave but we were naïve;  we are nowhere. Maybe the worst is yet to come.

We hope you and your loved  ones are  safe.

We are very happy to announce that the first virtual version of the BSW was a success : 533 surgeons and trainees attended,  the free papers were followed by a multiple of the usual crowd, the plenary session gathered a number of world-class speakers and the technical platform functioned very well. So we are very satisfied. I want to thank all of you who presented, moderated, attended and supported this project.


We all miss the real thing, don’t we?

I do.  I miss the social contacts, I miss talking to the experts, to our mentors, our peers, to our sponsors, to our trainees. I miss the receptions, the real sessions and the social events in a beautiful venue. And I think most of us do, even some of us who might have looked down on congresses at large and the BSW in particular.  You often just don’t realize what you got until it’s gone.  Anyway, I am sure that most of us are thus craving a “real “ congress now.

It might have seemed strange to make big plans in these uncertain times, but nonetheless we were proud to announce a REAL Belgian Surgical Week in Antwerp, May  5th- 8th, 2021.

The venue would have been  be the one we booked last year: the beautiful Flanders Meeting & Convention Centre (FMCCA), aka the Elisabeth Centre, in the heart of Antwerp.

Things unfolding like they are now we decided however to postpone the BSW to next fall. The decline in infections came to a halt and there is not that much time left. No way to be sure of the sponsoring, attendance, international guests with only 5 months left to go. Of course, we could have gone for a virtual meeting again but we really rather fancy the real thing.

The meeting will probably be planned as a hybrid one, including as many real sessions as possible but also embracing the advantages offered by a number of virtual sessions. If COVID is still as prevalent then as it is now, we will easily be able to turn it into a completely virtual meeting. Since the virtual free paper sessions were a big success, we consider having them in  the same format anyway again for these  in next year’s BSW.

The BSW 2021 hopefully being the first REAL post-COVID congress, we have a hunch that it might attract much more attendees than it used to in the past. A nice prospect. Let’s cross fingers.

I hope to meet you - in the flesh - in Antwerp next autumn.

We will keep you posted as soon as possible to update on the date and venue, very probably in September 2021, 8-11th.


For the RBSS board,

Charles de Gheldere MD FEBS Gen Surg

President RBSS



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