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Association for Natural Medicine in Europe e.V.

... for natural health promotion in Europe!


Association for Natural Medicine in Europe e.V.

... for natural health promotion in Europe!


ANME-Award 2021

Ton Nicolai ANME Award 2021

Laudation by Nora Laubstein, ANME-President

Dr. Anton "Ton" Nicolai, born in Amsterdam in 1942, began his medical practice as a family doctor in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. There he worked extensively with various complementary and alternative medical procedures, such as Acupuncture, Homeopathy, manual therapy and classical Naturopathy.

In 1983 he founded a Homeopathic practice in Rotterdam, in 1990 he took over the position of managing director at the Dutch Homeopathic Medical Association (VHAN), and a few months later he also took a position at the International Homeopathic Medical League (LMHI).

As the European Union developed in the 1980s, Ton Nicolai realized that there was increased importance for European professional representation. Therefore, in 1991 he co-founded the "European Committee for Homeopathy" (ECH) for homeopathic physicians and was president of ECH from 2000 to 2012.

In an interview in 2006, Ton Nicolai emphasized the importance of homeopathy as a specific clinical therapeutic method practiced by state-regulated health professionals. As president of the ECH, he stood for high educational standards, for the integration of homeopathy into the medical system — both as a complement to conventional medicine and as its alternative. Instead of the terms "complementary" or "non-conventional," early on he showed preference for the term, "holistic."

Since 2009, Ton Nicolai has been working with three other European medical societies in the newly formed CAMDOC Alliance. Presently, CAMDOC represents 120 European medical organizations with about 150,000 Complementary Medicine physicians. The mission of this alliance is to further develop the four healing systems: Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Anthroposophy medicine, and Traditional European Natural Medicine. Furthermore, the mission is to facilitate the integration of these practices into European health policy.

In 2012 the EU designated approximately 1.5 million Euros of funding on research into complementary and alternative medicine as part of the CAMBRELLA research project. Ton Nicolai was both involved in this as well as other previous European activities outlined below (see * and **). Of note, in the decade since 2012 the EU has yet to designate any funding amount to CAM that comes close to the amount in 2012.

In 2013, the CAMDOC Alliance gave rise to the joint informal working platform EUROCAM, which also pointedly involves non-physician professional organizations and patient associations, and for which Ton Nicolai served as coordinator and spokesperson.

In 2016, he established the "Stichting EUROCAM" in Rotterdam as an official legal entity (***). As its Secretary General, Ton Nicolai now represents European professional organizations of patients, physicians and therapists who support complementary medicine to connect to EU policy makers and institutions to further establish the integration of Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine (TCIM) within the European healthcare systems (****).

Currently, EUROCAM defines itself as follows: "The goal of EUROCAM is to promote the role of Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine in building and maintaining citizen health. In doing so, the focus is on health education and TCIM's contribution to prevention."

All in all, Ton Nicolai has been primarily committed to the regulated medical practice of homeopathy. In this, he, in some ways, resembles the great physician and founder of homeopathy Samuel Hahnemann. What fundamentally sets him apart, however, is his passion for substantive and political communication and bridge-building. He is a gifted intellectual and is highly educated.

For his international work, Ton Nicolai was appointed "Companion of the Order of Orange-Nassau" by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
We honor his life's work with our 2021 Award - and with Dr. Ton Nicolai, a pragmatic, open-minded, discussion-friendly and, for decades, active member of the health policy scene in Europe, without whom the health policy arena would be much poorer!!!


*1997 MEP Paul Lannoye presented a report on "non-conventional medicine,” which has been named the "Collins Report”.

**In 1999, the EU Council passed a resolution asking the Commission to take action on "Complementary and Alternative Medicine". Thus the officially valid designation CAM was created. However, due to the Amsterdam Treaty, nothing came of this.

***2016 ANME did not join the newly established foundation. The increasingly emerging path towards evidence- and study-based CAM, which would foreseeably exclude the "A", the “Alternative”, was not viable for ANME.

****The experience with previous, years-long efforts led to despair — with all suggestions for a nature-based study design being stubbornly ignored on the part of politicians. Indeed, from a political-strategic point of view, nothing else seems to be possible at the moment, because whoever does not follow the industry-pleasing dogma of evidence-based research will no longer be accepted as an interlocutor by the EU. The new strategy of the EU Health Union is meanwhile to ask non-governmental organizations and interest groups only for cooperation; fundamental criticism and real change for the positive of CAM is less than desired.