Twenty Years Aniversary


Celebrating 20 years of the EHFG

In 2017, the European Health Forum Gastein celebrated its 20th anniversary. On this page, we want to take you on a journey back in time – explore the history of our Forum, European health policy, and the interlinkages between both.

Twenty Years


The EHFG legacy is a breath of fresh air – often quite literally as one breathes the pure mountain air, but also in terms of the forum it creates for fresh thinking on European health issues. Over the many years I have known it, the combination of an ongoing network of patients, professionals, policy-makers, scientists and academics and a programme of relevant and topical presentations and seminars has re-charged my policy-maker’s batteries and opened my politician’s eyes. One rarely comes away from the Gasteinertal without a better understanding of Europe’s potential to change or influence health policy for the better. I have always left determined to find a way through the complexities of EU competencies and inter-departmental rivalries and to make a reality of our stated belief that health is a pre-requisite for economic well-being and that health can only be achieved if it is understood across every section of government and every Commission Directorate.

by John Bowis

Learn more about our history

People behind the EHFG

Founding fathers

We sat down with the man who founded the European Health Forum Gastein 20 years ago. Back then, at the turn of a new millennium, Professor Günther Leiner talked about European health policy “being at a crossroads”. On occasion of the organsiation’s anniversary, he agreed to look back with us at the long way the EHFG – and EU health policy – have come since then.

We talked also to the main founding figures of the European Health Forum Gastein about the ideas behind the Forum, main challenges and unexpected supporters, and how do they see Europe and the EHFG now.
In conversation with: Hans Stein, Baldur Wagner Andrzej Rys and Maria Rauch-Kallat.

All, accompanied by lovely illustrations by Señor Salme.

Hans Stein

Hans Stein

Baldur Wagner

Baldur Wagner

Andrzej Rys

Andrzej Rys

Maria Rauch-Kallat

Maria Rauch-Kallat

You - our participants - the Gastein community

It has been emphasised throughout the history of our organisation, and has thus naturally been highlighted in many of the contributions in this book, that the EHFG would not be what it is today, would not have achieved what it has, without its participants. This is a warm and heartfelt thank you from us to you, who keep discussing with us, opening our eyes to new topics, adding to the value of each and every session by providing valuable input. Thanks for criticising us, believing in us, testing us, challenging us, being loyal to us throughout the years. It is a great pleasure to be working with you – to the next 20 years of debating and shaping European health policy, to create a better future for health in Europe.


Three EHFG presidents have thus far overseen the organisation’s work towards the ambitious goal of creating a better future for health in Europe. Founder Professor Günther Leiner was in office for fifteen years, followed by Professor Helmut Brand. Doctor Clemens Martin Auer took over in 2017.
What the EHFG set out to be, what it is today, and what it might be tomorrow: some thoughts on a groundbreaking initiative.


Secretary generals

The EHFG was run by four secretary generals until 2017, we asked them, what are they most proud of when looking back at their time at the Forum and what in their opinion makes us unique?


Looking at your time at the EHFG – what are you most proud of?

Our place in Europe

The making of fhe Forum – and its meaning for the Gastein region

The Gastein Valley draws upon nearly 200 years of experience in tourism – a lot more than most other destinations in the Alps. From the very beginning, the “Health and Wellness” aspect played a substantial part in attracting visitors. (...) The EHFG fits in smoothly with what the region stands for and has established itself as one of the most important events throughout the year. Most of the participants don't not know the region before, and come here for the first time because of the conference. And they seem to fall for its beauty.

EHFG & Gastein Valley

Connecting the dots

We have marked down places important for our history and European public health.
All roads lead to Gastein? See yourself!

Illustrated by Señor Salme.


Our place in time

History & Health

This timeline looks back to some of the milestones of our organisation and places the European Health Forum Gastein and its topics within the wider context of history and politics.


Did you know?

Over the twenty years, 10,063 participants joined the EHFG conference. Our database includes 5,063 unique participation records – with the recurring rate of 1.88 per person.
Electronic correspondence – how much time does it really take? We did an inventory of an average EHFG team member's mailbox. Assuming, that it takes about 10 minutes to complete an e-mail, with 2,929 emails/per person x 10 min = 29,290 min = 488 hours = 61 working days in a year. We devote 25% of our time to writing e-mails!
We spend about 150 hours in total to set everything up, with multiple teams working intensively in parallel for five days prior to the event. It only takes us 20 hours to tear it all down!



European Health Forum Gastein
Tauernplatz 1 5630, Bad Hofgastein Austria


Lisa Bornscheuer
Maria Dziubinska
Dorli Kahr-Gottlieb

Señor Salme
Represented by Synergy Art

Gasteinertal Tourismus GmbH
Anna Dziubinska
framez. / Fabian Kapo & Andreas Steger
Franz Pfluegl

EHFG News & Updates

EHFG Headquarters

EHFG Vienna Office

VAT No. ATU44155007 Bank Data:
IBAN AT 152040400200222240 
Bank Salzburger Sparkasse
Kurgartenstraße, 5630 Bad Hofgastein, Austria