Aims: In the era of personalized medicine, it is of utmost importance to be able to identify subjects at the highest cardiovascular (CV) risk. To date, single biomarkers have failed to markedly improve the estimation of CV risk. Using novel technology, simultaneous assessment of large numbers of biomarkers may hold promise to improve prediction. In the present study, we compared a protein-based risk model with a model using traditional risk factors in predicting CV events in the primary prevention setting of the European Prospective Investigation (EPIC)-Norfolk study, followed by validation in the Progressione della Lesione Intimale Carotidea (PLIC) cohort. Methods and results: Using the proximity extension assay, 368 proteins were measured in a nested case-control sample of 822 individuals from the EPIC-Norfolk prospective cohort study and 702 individuals from the PLIC cohort. Using tree-based ensemble and boosting methods, we constructed a protein-based prediction model, an optimized clinical risk model, and a model combining both. In the derivation cohort (EPIC-Norfolk), we defined a panel of 50 proteins, which outperformed the clinical risk model in the prediction of myocardial infarction [area under the curve (AUC) 0.754 vs. 0.730; P < 0.001] during a median follow-up of 20 years. The clinically more relevant prediction of events occurring within 3 years showed an AUC of 0.732 using the clinical risk model and an AUC of 0.803 for the protein model (P < 0.001). The predictive value of the protein panel was confirmed to be superior to the clinical risk model in the validation cohort (AUC 0.705 vs. 0.609; P < 0.001). Conclusion: In a primary prevention setting, a proteome-based model outperforms a model comprising clinical risk factors in predicting the risk of CV events. Validation in a large prospective primary prevention cohort is required to address the value for future clinical implementation in CV prevention.