The 12th ESLAS meeting made history by being held for the first time in a non-EEC country, namely Turkey, from May 2nd to May 4th 2009. Istanbul was the city, straddling Europe and Asia, and the centre of the former Ottoman Empire as Constantinople. The meeting was presided over by Professor Erçin Özüntürk and Professor Yasemin Yazan under the auspices of the host organisation, the Turkish Society of Cosmetic Scientists. The meeting banner was 'Laser Europe 2009', and was held jointly as the 12th ESLAS and the 8th International Cosmetics Symposium (ICoS) congress. The meeting venue was the 5-star Marmara Hotel, with stunning views over the Golden Horn and the bustling Bosphorus waterway. A total of over 60 attendees to the joint meeting enjoyed 35 presentations and 7 workshops, providing an excellent scientific programme which was balanced by the social events, all really well-organised by the company N & N Tourism.