The Theosophical Society in Europe or the European Federation of the Theosophical Society (EFTS) is an association of national Theosophical organizations in about twenty European countries which are parts of the international Society headquartered at Adyar, Chennai, India.
The EFTS was founded in 1903 as a consultative, not a legislative body. It aims to promote the Objects of the Theosophical Society and to encourage and extend its work throughout Europe, strengthening bonds and encouraging cooperation between member countries. To this end, it arranges a European Congress approximately every three years in a different European country and organizes European tours by overseas speakers. Further functions include the coordination, as far as possible, of Theosophical activities, keeping Council members informed of those activities, in particular of the dates of summer schools and other gatherings and of details of publications in various languages. The official language of the EFTS is English.
The governing body of the EFTS is the European Council, consisting principally of a chairperson, vice chairperson, treasurer, secretary, five other Executive Committee members, and official representatives of the Theosophical organizations in the several European countries. Subscriptions by member sections or countries are not less than 7.5 percent of their annual national dues. The Council meets once a year, and the Executive Committee may meet twice a year. Annual reports are submitted by the chairperson and by member countries. Officers and committee members are elected by the Council for a period of three years with the exception of the vice president and secretary, who are nominated by the chairperson, subject to ratification by the Council.
After World War II, under the chairmanship of J. van Dissel of Holland, the EFTS worked to revive Theosophical activity in European countries. To this end, Sections were encouraged to work in geographical and linguistic regions. British, German-speaking, Pays Latins (including French-speaking and southern European countries), and Scandinavian regions were formed. They organized regional summer schools and published magazines and books. In time, with improved economic and communication conditions, regional work became less necessary, and many countries now hold national summer schools, but the Pays Latins summer school survives, meeting each year in a different country.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, the drastic geopolitical change in Europe called the EFTS for special action. Under Curt Berg’s chairmanship, new initiatives were taken in extensive communications with Eastern European countries. In addition to regular visits by the main EFTS officers to various places, sympathizers with Theosophical ideas were invited to attend several Theosophical events outside their countries. A Committee to help Eastern European Countries (CEEC) was formed to finance first sending Theosophical literature to interested groups and then publications of basic writings in several local languages. The rapid evolution of Theosophy in former Eastern European nations led to the disappearance of “Eastern Europe” as a category in the European Federation; so the CEEC became Committee for New Areas (CNA) turning now its care towards any new region which is attracted by Theosophy.
Recent developments include the emergence of the international Naarden Theosophical Center in Holland, where the European Federation together with the Center installed in 2001 a Naarden version of the School of the Wisdom. In 2003, the EFTS celebrated its centenary at the Naarden Center with the then international vice president, John Algeo and his wife, Adele Algeo. A brochure on the center’s history of EFTS was issued on that occasion, written by Mary Anderson.
Chairpersons of the EFTS have been the following:
1904 - 1906 J. van Manen
1907 - 1913 A. R.Wallace
1913 - 1921 I. J. Wedgwood
1921 - 1928 C. W. Dijkgraaf
1929 - 1937 P. M. Cochius
1938 - 1959 J. E. van Dissel
1960 - 1968 John Coats
1969 - 1971 Claire Wyss
1972 - 1980 Madeleine Leslie-Smith
1981 - 1989 Barbro Melander
1989 - 1995 Curt Berg
1995 - Trân-Thi-Kim-Diêu