Dutch nursing home care today includes a broad range of institutional and outreaching care functions. Medical care is an essential part of this care. Nursing home medicine in The Netherlands has developed as an officially acknowledged medical specialty. This is unique because The Netherlands is the only country in which nursing home medicine is a specific medical discipline. Because of this, a continuum in the medical care for the elderly has been developed: the family physician for medical care in the community, the nursing home physician for the institutionalized elderly, and the clinical geriatrician plus other medical specialists for elderly who require hospital care. This article describes the characteristics of Dutch nursing home care and nursing home medicine and the advantages of this system. The article also shows that the combination of the medical knowledge of family physician and nursing home physician can be expected to increase the quality of medical care for the disabled elderly in institutions and in the community.