Depression in survivors of stroke is both common and clinically relevant. It is associated with excess suffering, handicap, suicidal ideation and mortality and it hampers rehabilitation. Most of the data currently available are derived from clinical studies. The objective of the present study was to study the prevalence, risk factors and consequences of depression in survivors of stroke, in a large (n = 3050) community based study of older (55-85 years) people in three regions of the Netherlands. Depression was measured using the CES-D scale; histories of stroke were obtained using self-reports and data from general practitioners. The study was designed as a case-control study, using both bivariate and multivariate analyses. The prevalence of depression in stroke survivors was 27%, which was significantly higher than the base rate (OR 2.28, 95% CI 1.61-3.24). Both stroke-related disease characteristics and psychosocial characteristics of the respondents were predictors of depression. The consequences of depression were most evident in the realm of disability and impairment of well-being. The patterns of service utilization showed that depressed survivors of stroke are relatively high users of a wide range of health services.