To identify the genomic regions that confer risk and protection for major depressive disorder (MDD) in humans, large-scale studies are needed. Such studies should collect multiple phenotypes, DNA, and ideally, biological material that allows gene expression analysis, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic studies. In this paper, we briefly review linkage studies of MDD and then describe the large-scale nationwide biological sample collection in Dutch twin families from the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) and in participants in the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). Within these studies, 1,862 participants with a diagnosis of MDD and 1,857 controls at low liability for MDD have been selected for genome-wide genotyping by the US Foundation for the National Institutes of Health Genetic Association Information Network. Stage 1 genome-wide association results are scheduled to be accessible before the end of 2007. Genome-wide association results are open-access and can be viewed at the dbGAP web portal (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). Approved users can download the genotype and phenotype data, which have been made available as of 9 October 2007.