Neuroimaging plays an important role in etiologic research on neurological diseases in the elderly. The Rotterdam Scan Study was initiated as part of the ongoing Rotterdam Study with the aim to unravel causes of neurological disease by performing neuroimaging in a population-based longitudinal setting. In 1995 and 1999 random subsets of the Rotterdam Study underwent neuroimaging, whereas from 2005 onwards MRI has been implemented into the core protocol of the Rotterdam Study. In this paper, we discuss the background and rationale of the Rotterdam Scan Study. We also describe the imaging protocol and post-processing techniques, and highlight the main findings to date. Finally, we make recommendations for future research, which will also be the main focus of investigation in the Rotterdam Scan Study.