Many chronically ill older patients in the Netherlands have a combination of more than one chronic disease. There is therefore a need for self-management programs that address general management problems, rather than the problems related to a specific disease. The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) seems to be very suitable for this purpose. In evaluations of the program that have been carried out in the United States and China, positive effects were found on self-management behaviour and health status. However, the program has not yet been evaluated in the Netherlands. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the short-term and longer-term effects of the program among chronically ill older people in the Netherlands. One hundred and thirty-nine people aged 59 or older, with a lung disease, a heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis were randomly assigned to an intervention group (CDSMP) or a control group (care-as-usual). Demographic data and data on self-efficacy, self-management behaviour and health status were collected at three measurement moments (baseline, after 6 weeks, and after 6 months). The patients who participated rated the program with a mean of 8.5 points (range 0-10), and only one dropped out. However, our study did not yield any evidence for the effectiveness of the CDSMP on self-efficacy, self-management behaviour or health status of older patients in the Netherlands. Because the patients who participated were very enthusiastic, which was also indicated by very high mean attendance (5.6 out of 6 sessions) and only one dropout, it seems too early to conclude that the program is not beneficial for these patients.