In 2400 consecutive patients at 8 clinics in 5 countries, nickel hypersensitivity was found in 176 cases (7.3%), 19 male (2.1%) and 157 female (10.5%). The incidence ranged from 15 to 38 cases in 300 patients of every department (5.0% Sofia to 12.7% Erfurt). 60.6% of the nickel positives were schoolgirls or younger than 25 years. The exposure time was 3 years, in 49% 1 year or shorter. Most cases (75%) are not occupationally acquired, but due to costume jewelry (31.8%), wrist watches (23.3%), metal clothing buckles (3.4%) including jeans buttons. Job dependent nickel dermatitis is often (36/51 cases) linked with wet work. Atopic dermatitis was found in 8.3% of female nickel allergy. Nickel positivity without a dermatitis history was seen in 9/176 cases (5%). Nickel allergy will become a sex-indifferent phenomenon in Europe, because of the changing customs of adornment.