This study has analysed the status of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training in Europe in medical schools, cities in the WHO European Healthy Cities network, and hospitals in the WHO European Health Promoting Hospitals network. Three questionnaires tested by a pilot study were sent in 1996-1997: one to medical school deans, one to the WHO Health Promoting Hospitals Network coordinators and one to the focal points of the WHO Healthy Cities Network. The glossary of terms was taken from the Utstein style guidelines. The 392 medical schools returned 168 questionnaires (43%): 167 teach CPR, 165 basic CPR, 136 advanced CPR and 114 both. The 310 hospitals returned 224 questionnaires and 202 were analysed (65%); 154 train physicians, 184 nurses and 110 nursing students. The 509 cities returned 67 questionnaires (13%); 28 train police officers and 36 fire fighters. A total of 120 institutions train paramedics and 82 lay people. The training hours in basic and advanced CPR vary between medical schools and various professional groups trained in hospitals and cities. More time is devoted to training in advanced CPR than in basic CPR and more in theory than practical training. This survey can be an important incentive for European Organisations to identify priorities in their educational efforts.