What’s Kept the Society Against Quackery Going for 137 Years

Neatorama has featured many articles about patent medicine, snake oil, quackery, and dangerous cure-alls from the past. Those stories make us feel thankful to be living in the present, where modern medicine is working miracles. In 1881, the Dutch society Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij (VtdK), translated as The Society Against Quackery, formed to fight the unscientific hucksterism that promised cures for a small fee. All these years later, the society is still doing that work!

The VtdK formed around the same time that modern medicine began to be professionalized in the late 1800s. According to a history on the Society’s website, the Dutch Society for the Advancement of Medicine, which was founded in 1849, was having trouble policing the unlicensed and unqualified medical practitioners of the day. In an effort to raise awareness of the growing number of quacks operating in the Netherlands, they published a pamphlet in 1878 detailing how to identify a quack, and what to do about them. From this initial bit of literature, the Society Against Quackery was born.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. The society its still in business, still fighting bad medicine! Read about their history, their work, and what they are doing today, at Atlas Obscura.   

(Image credit: Flickr user Arallyn!)

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