A review is given of the biochemical background of the glycosylated haemoglobins, their methods of determination, and their clinical significance. Special attention is paid to the sample preparation. For all methods except the colorimetric TBA-method, the removal of the labile pre-HbA1c fraction is essential. Under proper conditions, high-performance liquid chromatography, agar-gel electrophoresis and affinity chromatography are suitable methods for use in the clinical laboratory for the estimation of HbA1c and HbA1. However, the colorimetric TBA-method must be considered to be the method of choice. The clinical utility of the test is stressed with special respect to the management of diabetic pregnancies, the control of home-monitoring of blood glucose, and the objective measurement of the effect of changing diabetic therapy.