Purpose: A European network was initiated in 2012 by 23 partners from 16 European countries with the aim to significantly increase individualized dose reconstruction in case of large-scale radiological emergency scenarios. Results: The network was built on three complementary pillars: (1) an operational basis with seven biological and physical dosimetric assays in ready-to-use mode, (2) a basis for education, training and quality assurance, and (3) a basis for further network development regarding new techniques and members. Techniques for individual dose estimation based on biological samples and/or inert personalized devices as mobile phones or smart phones were optimized to support rapid categorization of many potential victims according to the received dose to the blood or personal devices. Communication and cross-border collaboration were also standardized. To assure long-term sustainability of the network, cooperation with national and international emergency preparedness organizations was initiated and links to radiation protection and research platforms have been developed. A legal framework, based on a Memorandum of Understanding, was established and signed by 27 organizations by the end of 2015. Conclusions: RENEB is a European Network of biological and physical-retrospective dosimetry, with the capacity and capability to perform large-scale rapid individualized dose estimation. Specialized to handle large numbers of samples, RENEB is able to contribute to radiological emergency preparedness and wider large-scale research projects.