In most European countries there is a growing imbalance between the supply and demand of medical manpower. Though many national gov ernments, international organizations and scientific institutes, and also, with a view from a different angle, doctors associations recognize this problem, it appears to be very difficult to bring all people concerned with this problem together in order to find a solution. On this occasion, the initiative to arrange an international meeting was taken by the junior-doctors associations of The Netherlands and Sweden with the organizational support of the Faculty of Medicine of University Limburg, Maastricht, The Netherlands, and under the auspices of the Permanent Working Group of European Junior Hospital Doctors. The symposium should be considered as a step in a series of continuing activities within the field of health manpower planning. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) organized a working symposium on Long-Range Forecasting and Planning in 1968 (8ellaglio, Italy), followed by the Expert Committee ofthe OECD which produced the 'New Directives in Education for Changing Health Care System' (OECD CERI report, Paris 1975). The Dutch ministries of Education and Sciences and of Health and Environmental Protection organized a seminar on 'Cooperation of Health Care and Education at Regional Level, Responsibilities and Cost Alloca tion' (1978, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands). Following this, the Dutch Association of Junior Hospital Doctors (LVAG) organized a national con ference 'Today a consultant in training, tomorrow an unemployed special ist?' (1980, Utrecht, The Netherlands).