History of our Organisation

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The origin of the ISM (now ISRIC) lies with the International Society of Soil Sciences (ISSS). At its 7th Congress, in 1960, the foundation of an “International Soil Museum” was recommended in a resolution that also called for the compilation of a “Soil Map of the World”.

The need for such a Museum was emphasized through a new resolution, at the next ISSS Congress in 1964, which mentioned that its programme should link up with the FAO-Unesco-ISSS “Soil-Map-of-the-World-Project” as started in 1961. Soon after the 1964 Congress, Unesco agreed to include the soil museum idea in its Programme of Earth Sciences (nowadays the Division of Ecological Sciences). An offer from the Netherlands Ministry of Education and Science (ONW) to house it in the Netherlands was accepted by the General Conference of Unesco in 1964. The formal start  of the Museum was in January 1966, in part of the premises of the Institute for Soil Science of Utrecht University (RUU).

Timeline of Events

1964: The International Society of Soil Science proposes the establishment of an International Soil Museum

1964:  Proposal for an International Soil Museum adopted by the UNESCO General Council

1966: The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences of the Netherlands provides working funds for the International Soil Museum. Personnel and financial affairs are handled by the International Institute for Aerospace Survey and Earth Sciences, Enschede. Housed in the University of Utrecht.

1977: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (Directorate General of International Cooperation) provides funds for the housing of staff, laboratory and the International Soil Museum. Premises in Wageningen completed

1984: The International Soil Museum is renamed International Soil Reference and Information Centre (ISRIC)

1989: ISRIC became the ICSU World Data Centre for Soils

1995: ISRIC became a Foundation

2002: ISRIC transferred its cooperative agreement from ITC to Wageningen University and Research Centre.

2003: ISRICWorld Soil Information  registered

2006: ISRIC celebrates its 40th anniversary.

2011: ISRIC re-accredited as a regular member of the new ICSU World Data System (WDS)

2014: ISRIC opens the World Soil Museum on Wageningen campus

2016: ISRIC celebrates its 50th anniversary

2018: ISRIC certified as a trusted data repository by CoreTrustSeal and re-accredited as a regular member of ISC WDS 


Annual Reports

ISRIC's 'Annual Highlights' publication series presents the most relevant information about the activities of the World Soil Museum, World Data Centre for Soils, and Applied Research Section. They also summarize results of research conducted by ISRIC scientists in the framework of various international projects.

Reports are available for the following years:

2020-2021  | 2018-2019  |  2016-2017  | 2014-2015  |  2012-2013  |  2011  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2002-2003  |  1999-2001  |  1997-1998  |  1995-1996  |  1993-1994  |  1991-1992 1990  |  1989  |  1988  |  1987  |  1986  |  1985  |  1984  |  1983  |  1982  |  1981  |  1980  |  1979