This paper describes the history of the International Society of Soil Science (ISSS), including a regional analysis of memberships and an overview of the ISSS main activities. The ISSS was founded in 1924 by, mainly, European agro-pedologists who were interested in establishing standardised methods of soil analysis and soil classification. In total, 16 international congresses were organized by the ISSS in the past 75 years and eight of these congresses were held in Europe. Commissions, Subcommissions, Working Groups and Standing Committees have been established, which deal with virtually all aspects of soil research and management. Number of members increased from around 550 after WWII to over 7000 in 1998. Almost 60% of the members are from North America and Western Europe. Large differences were found in the number of soil scientists and ISSS/International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) members in relation to the total population and agricultural land area. One of the important contributions of the ISSS has been the Soil Map of the World, which was prepared in the 1960s and 1970s. The ISSS has also been active in dissemination and publication of scientific results through periodicals and cooperating journals. In 1998, the ISSS was restructured into the IUSS following upon its admission as a Union member of the International Council for Science (ICSU) in 1993.