The Association of Surgeons in the Netherlands was founded 100 years ago with the objective to further surgery in general; from 1948 onward a separate objective was to further the interests of surgeons. The Association has developed into an active scientific society that ensures that quality of Dutch surgical practice, that stimulates the development of surgery and that organizes the training of surgeons. The number of operations has more than doubled in the past 25 years, despite the limited increase in the number of surgeons owing to a great leap in efficiency. This has led to a differentiation in the surgical discipline, with a number of sub-associations. The currents quality policy emphasizes certification of clinics, the development of guidelines, mandatory attendance to ongoing training programmes, a registry of complications, adequate patient information, visitation of clinics and a compulsory specialization course for all surgical residents.