Back in 1986, the World Health Organization (WHO) produced the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. The intention of the charter was to create a framework that conveyed the notions of capacity building into a structured process for health promotion action in specific settings. This charter subsequently provided the vehicle from which the Health Promoting Hospital (HPH) initiative was launched, culminating in the Budapest Declaration of Health Promoting Hospitals (WHO, 1991). The aim of this paper is to investigate the nature and progress of the European HPH movement. Despite the fact that 'pockets' of concerted and progressive activity and evaluation have emerged from the HPH initiative, the majority of the available literature demonstrates a more limited impact than perhaps the WHO might have anticipated for its efforts over the last 15 years or so. Indications are that many of the member European HPH states have struggled to move beyond the 'project' phases of their planned programmes. This is not to detract from the considerable efforts that have been made to establish HPH networks or the continuing attempts to recruit further members/institutions into the movement. Nevertheless, this account concludes that a more concerted evaluation of European HPH progress is needed to accurately measure its impact and progress. If the situation remains unchanged, perhaps a fundamental review of the strategy is worth considering.