The Rotterdam Study: 2018 update on objectives, design and main results

Eur J Epidemiol. 2017 Sep;32(9):807-850. doi: 10.1007/s10654-017-0321-4. Epub 2017 Oct 24.


The Rotterdam Study is a prospective cohort study ongoing since 1990 in the city of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. The study targets cardiovascular, endocrine, hepatic, neurological, ophthalmic, psychiatric, dermatological, otolaryngological, locomotor, and respiratory diseases. As of 2008, 14,926 subjects aged 45 years or over comprise the Rotterdam Study cohort. Since 2016, the cohort is being expanded by persons aged 40 years and over. The findings of the Rotterdam Study have been presented in over 1500 research articles and reports (see ). This article gives the rationale of the study and its design. It also presents a summary of the major findings and an update of the objectives and methods.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Cardiovascular diseases; Cohort study; Dermatological diseases; Endocrine diseases; Epidemiologic methods; Genetic epidemiology; Liver diseases; Neurological diseases; Oncology; Ophthalmic diseases; Otolaryngological diseases; Pharmacoepidemiology; Psychiatric diseases; Renal diseases; Respiratory diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Epidemiologic Research Design*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy / trends*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors