Today, Odournet is a team of more than 50 odour experts across six countries, serving industry and regulators alike. Three decades ago, it all began with one man’s project to investigate the impact of mushroom composting odours. Our timeline of events shows what happened next:

Odournet’s founder Ton van Harreveld set out to innovate odour measurement
Odournet’s founder Ton van Harreveld set out to innovate odour measurement

Today We’ve come a long way, and we’re still aiming high. Our goal is to maintain our position as a leading global provider of sensory expertise, molecular odour evaluation and environmental odour management consultancy.We plan to increase our team to around 100, to make sure that our specialist sensory experts can find career opportunities at all levels within the Odournet group, which ensures the best possible service to our clients.

2016 After five years of successful expansion and team integration the shareholders developed different views on the further development of the company and its innovation strategy. This led to an amicable agreement to spin off Odournet NL BV and Odournet GmbH which on January 1st 2016 founded a Company called Olfasense. The Odournet Group continues under its familiar brand name with its existing global network of Companies in France, United Kingdom, Spain, México, Brazil and India. The companies will maintain existing collaborative links to better serve multinational clients with a global reach and unified methodology. The manufacture of olfactometers continues in Olfasense, while Odournet retains its focus on molecular odour evaluation. Ton van Harreveld becomes CEO of Odournet Group, to guide the company through a transition.

2014 Odournet Brasil is established, with partner Yanko Guimaraes as managing director. Simon Rützel-Grünberg takes over the CEO role on September 1st, while founder Ton van Harreveld steps down to focus on innovation.

2013 Odournet Holding India Pvt Ltd is established, in Goa, India.

2011 PRG Odournet NV in Gent, Belgium decides to seek an independent course, and a management buyout is agreed with Toon van Elst and other shareholders. The company continues as Olfascan NV. Odournet establishes a cutting edge laboratory for Molecular Odour Evaluation based on GCMS/TOF and GC Sniffing in Barcelona, Spain.

2010 Odournet merged with ecoma GmbH and OLFAtec GmbH, seizing the opportunity to sustain innovation by pooling talents and ideas.

Founded in 1976, ecoma’s initial focus was on instrument development, initiated by Dr Heinrich Mannebeck – known as ‘the father of modern olfactometry’ in Germany. ecoma became the world’s leading supplier of the TO series olfactometers.

OLFAtec was founded in 2001 as an ecoma subsidiary. Its focus was on sensory product and material testing and it was the first company in the world to be accredited for the Interlaboratory Comparison (ILC) EN 13725 testing scheme that is still in use today.

2003 The EN13725:2003 Air Quality – European Standard is published. This is the clumination of many years of involvement in methodology and instrument development by Odournet founder Ton van Harreveld, who served as convenor in the technical wrking group CEN/TC264/WG2 ‘Olfactometry’, which prepared the standard.

1993 The company became Odournet, and its first international office was set up in the UK. Development of olfactometers was moved in-house, thanks to a new internal R&D team. The business grew – employing odour experts in new offices in Belgium, Spain, France and Mexico – but maintained its specialism in environmental odour assessment, consultancy and odour measurement.

1989 PRA BV was established when Frans Vossen joined PRA. Within a few years, the team had grown to more than a dozen people.

1987 The first computer-controlled olfactometer was introduced. Called Olfaktomat, it was a collaboration between Neomat and the two Teunissen van Manen brothers, who developed the software and hardware in partnership with van Harreveld. Meanwhile, PRA continued its odour assessment consultancy projects.

1980 Project Research Amsterdam (PRA) was launched. Its founder, Ton van Harreveld, saw opportunities to improve and standardise the way we measure odours, and he set out to innovate olfactometry.