The European Macrophage and Dendritic Cell Society (EMDS) has emerged from the activities of the former European Macrophage Study Group (EMSG), a loose association of scientists interested in basic and clinical aspects of monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells and other myleoid cells in man and experimental animal models. The group was constituted in 1992 as a result of a successful series of annual conferences called THE MACROPHAGE. The annual macrophage conference originated from meetings in the Upper Rhine area organized by scientists from the universities and research centres of Strasbourg, Freiburg and Basel, but rapidly grew up to a European format.

On April 28, 1999, the European Macrophage Society (EMS) was founded in Regensburg. At the end of year 2000, the members of the EMS decided to rename the society as European Macrophage and Dendritic Cell Society (EMDS) in order to better emphasize the two main streams of research within the Society.