From 2000 to 2005, a total of 1,096 enterovirus infections were diagnosed either by isolation of virus from cell culture or by RT-PCR (5'non-coding region (NCR)). Typing of viruses (n = 674) was carried out by immunofluorescence with monoclonal antibodies, neutralization test or molecular methods. Seasons with high enterovirus activity were characterized by high prevalence of echovirus 30 (62.2% in 2000, 25.5% in 2001) and echovirus 13 (34.5% in 2001). In contrast, in the 2003 season, which had very low enterovirus activity, these types were rare. During this season, cell culture sensitivity (human colonic carcinoma cells and human embryonic lung fibroblasts (HEL)) was exceptionally low. In order to determine the type of "non-cultivable" enteroviruses, purified RNA from selected stool samples was subjected to direct molecular typing. VP1/2A-specific fragments were amplified by RT-PCR, cloned and sequenced. The predominant virus identified was coxsackie A. Consequently, rhabdomyosarcom cells were introduced into the daily routine, which improved the isolation of enteroviruses. Echovirus 30 was again most commonly isolated during seasons 2004 and 2005 with increasing enterovirus activity. In conclusion, high prevalence of echovirus 30 and 13 is indicative of seasons with high enterovirus activity. The type of circulating enteroviruses may influence isolation of enterovirus from cell culture. RT-PCR (VP1/2A) combined with cloning and sequencing of amplicons is a useful tool for viral typing directly from stool samples. In cases of severe enterovirus infection, virological diagnosis should not solely rely on virus isolation from cell culture.