Welcome to the City of Groningen, the center of the North of the Netherlands. Groningen is proud of the long lasting tradition of scientific symposia organised by the Sanquin Blood Bank. These Sanquin International Symposia on Blood Transfusion have become a true traditional event in Groningen, marking the early academic year and have contributed to the specific reputation of Groningen and its University in the scientific field of Transfusion Medicine. The growing tradition has also contributed to initiatives of both University, Province and the City of Groningen to bring science and industry together - BioMedCity Groningen. Such repu- tion does not just happen, but is the result of creative and scientific leadership, of vision and an open mind, to explore in a team spirit horizons. Groningen is particularly proud of this reputation thanks to its leadership, the Sanquin Blood Bank North-East. This year in particular the theme chosen some two years ago is extremely timely as it illustrates the activities and scientific interest of an integrated team which includes our regional Sanquin Blood Bank North-East and fits in the City initiatives within the concept of BioMedCity, Groningen.