The Symposium on 'Nitrides and related wide band gap materials' at the 1998 Spring Meeting of the European Materials Research Society E-MRS in Strasbourg, France, was the third Symposium of its kind at an E-MRS meeting. Beginning in 1996, these Symposia enjoyed a steadily increasing popularity among European and international nitride researchers. Contributions covered the areas of hetero-epitaxy, bulk growth, structural, electrical and optical characterisation and device fabrication. Researchers from about 20 different countries presented their work at this symposium. Naturally, most papers were from within Europe Germany, France, Russia and the United Kingdom but there was also a remarkable number of contributions from overseas USA, Japan and Korea. For about 5 years now, semiconducting group-III nitrides have attracted an enormous level of research activity all over the world. Essentially this was triggered by the breakthroughs achieved by Shuji Nakamura and his group in Japan, who succeeded in making highly efficient blue, green and yellow light emitting diodes as well as violet laser diodes based on A1GaInN. Since then, intensive research related to material growth, device development, as well as to the fundamental properties of these materials is being carried out. The outstanding contribution of Shuji Nakamura to this field was underlined by his plenary lecture during this E-MRS meeting. He presented his most recent progress towards amber LED's and long-lived violet laser diodes.