A serological survey for the prevalence of hantavirus infections in The Netherlands was carried out on > 10000 sera, from selected human populations, and different feral and domestic animal species. Hantavirus-specific antibodies were found in about 1% of patients suspected of acute leptospirosis, 10% of patients with acute nephropathia, and in less than 0·1% haemodialysis and renal transplant patients. Among individuals with a suspected occupational risk, 6% of animal trappers, 4% of forestry workers, 2% of laboratory workers and 0·4% of farmers were seropositive. The majority of the seropositive individuals lived in rural and forested areas. The main animal reservoir of the infection was shown to be the red bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus). Epidemiological, clinical and laboratory findings seen in serologically confirmed human cases were similar to those associated with nephropathia epidemica.