In order to target the most important cost components of gastroenteritis in The Netherlands and to indicate which change of policy yields the largest decrease in costs, the cost of illness of gastroenteritis and the number of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in the Dutch population in 1999 were determined. The costs of gastroenteritis were estimated using data mainly from a community-based cohort study. For calculating DALYs, data on the number of deaths due to gastroenteritis were used from Statistics Netherlands. On average, the costs for gastroenteritis were 77 Euro (euros) per case. For all patients in The Netherlands, the costs were estimated at 345 million euros (ranging between 252 and 531 million euros). Indirect costs made up 82% of this total. An estimate of costs for patients with campylobacter, salmonella or norovirus infections was, in total, 10-17% of the costs of gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis was associated with a loss of approximately 67,000 DALYs.