Y-chromosomal variation at five biallelic markers (Tat, YAP, 12f2, SRY(10831) and 92R7) and nine multiallelic short tandem repeat (STR) loci (DYS19, DYS389I, DYS389II, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, DYS393, DYS385I/II and DYS388) in a Norwegian population sample are presented. The material consists of 1766 unrelated males of Norwegian origin. The geographical distribution of the population sample reflects fairly well the population distribution around the year 1942, which is the median birth year of the index persons. Seven hundred and twenty-one different Y-STR haplotypes but 726 different lineages (Y-STRs plus biallelic markers) were encountered. We observed six known (P*(xR1a), BR(xDE, J, N3, P), R1a, N3, DE, J), and one previously undescribed haplogroup (probably a subgroup within haplogroup P*(xR1a)). Four of the haplogroups (P*(xR1a), BR(xDE, J, N3, P), R1a and N3) represented about 98% of the population sample. The analysis of population pairwise differences indicates that the Norwegian Y-chromosome distribution most closely resembles those observed in Iceland, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. Within Norway, geographical substructuring was observed between regions and counties. The substructuring reflects to some extent the European Y-chromosome gradients, with higher frequency of P*(xR1a) in the south-west and of R1a in the east. Heterogeneity in major founder groups, geographical isolation, severe epidemics, historical trading links and population movements may have led to population stratification and have most probably contributed to the observed regional differences in distribution of haplotypes within two of the major haplogroups.