We compared the clinical picture of sarcoidosis in patients diagnosed at Mjölbolsta hospital in Finland in 1955-1987 with those diagnosed in Sapporo in 1964-1988. The female:male ratios showed a slight female predominance. The mean age (SD) at diagnosis was 41.5 (13.0) years at Mjölbolsta and 30.0 (15.4) years in Sapporo. In both series, half of the patients had been detected at mass x-ray surveys. The presenting symptoms varied considerably among the symptomatic patients. At Mjölbolsta hospital, 189 patients (33%) had cough, 21% fever, 21% general malaise, 18% dyspnoea, 18% erythema nodosum, 16% joint pain and only 27 patients (5%) had eye symptoms. In Sapporo, 245 patients (41%) had eye symptoms, 18 (4%) had enlarged peripheral lymph nodes, 14 (3%) had cough, 10 (2%) had fever. Erythema nodosum did not occur as a presenting symptom in Sapporo. The chest radiographs showed bilateral hilar lymphadenopathy (BHL, stage I) in 48% of the Mjölbolsta patients and in 57% of the Sapporo patients. Stage II lesions were seen in 39% and 20%, and stage III lesions in 12% and 5% respectively. Only 1% had a normal chest radiograph at Mjölbolsta hospital as compared with 18% in Sapporo. The Sapporo patients were more obstructive but the proportion of smokers was also higher. No difference in diffusion capacity was seen.