A second Dutch national Survey of General Practice was carried out in 2001 with the aim of providing actual information about the role of general practice in the Dutch health-care system for researchers and policy makers. Data were collected on different levels (patients, general practitioners, practices) and included morbidity (self-report and presented to general practitioners), diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, doctor-patient communication, and background characteristics. Compared to 1987 (the first National Survey), Dutch general practitioners had organized their work more efficiently. Patients were less satisfied (78% satisfied) about the organizational aspects of general practice care than about the care actually provided (90% satisfied). Dutch general practitioners provide high-quality care: on average their performance was in 74% of cases in accordance with national guidelines. Communication in general practice had become less "social" and more medically oriented compared to 1987. General practice still acts in a gatekeeper role; this is illustrated by 96% of contacts handled solely by the general practitioner.