The Danish Twin Registry is the oldest national twin register in the world, initiated in 1954 by ascertainment of twins born from 1870 to 1910. During a number of studies birth cohorts have been added to the register, and by the recent addition of birth cohorts from 1931 to 1952 the Registry now comprizes 127 birth cohorts of twins from 1870 to 1996, with a total of more than 65,000 twin pairs included. In all cohorts the ascertainment has been population-based and independent of the traits studied, although different procedures of ascertainment have been employed. In the oldest cohorts only twin pairs with both twins surviving to age 6 have been included while from 1931 all ascertained twins are included. The completeness of the ascertainment after adjustment for infant mortality is high, with approximately 90% ascertained up to 1968, and complete ascertainment of all liveborn twin pairs since 1968. The Danish Twin Registry is used as a source for large studies on genetic influence on aging and age-related health problems, normal variation in clinical parameters associated with the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases, and clinical studies of specific diseases. The combination of survey data with data obtained by linkage to national health related registers enables follow-up studies both of the general twin population and of twins from clinical studies.