Infants with birthweight <1500g (VLBW) are at high risk of healthcare-associated infection (HAI). We present surveillance data from the NEO-KISS surveillance system, collected between 2000 and 2005 by 52 neonatology departments in Germany. Infants were stratified into two birthweight categories (<1000 and 1000-1499 g), and rates of nosocomial bloodstream infection (BSI), nosocomial pneumonia and necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) were calculated. The data presented comprise 8677 VLBW and 339,972 patient-days. The incidence of bloodstream infection was 6.5 per 1000 patient-days (8.5 and 4.0 according to birthweight category). The incidence of central venous catheter (CVC)-associated BSI was 11.1 per 1000 CVC-days and the incidence of peripheral venous catheter (PVC)-associated BSI was 7.8 per 1000 PVC-days. The incidence of pneumonia was 0.9 per 1000 patient-days (1.3 and 0.4 according to birthweight category). The incidence of pneumonia among intubated patients was 2.7 per 1000 ventilator-days, while the incidence of pneumonia among patients receiving continuous nasel positive airway pressure (CPAP) was 1.0 per 1000 CPAP-days. The incidence of NEC was 0.9 per 1000 patient-days (1.1 and 0.6 according to birthweight category). HAI is frequent among VLBW and shows wide variation between neonatology departments. Preventive strategies to reduce infections in these infants should be prioritised.